Hero MotoCorp to ride into Europe in 2015, eyes acquisitions

Hero MotoCorp first roll out its ‘Leap’ hybrid scooter in Europe, and later add other bike and scooter models.

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Hero MotoCorp is looking at acquisitions in Europe to expand its presence in the region. The two-wheeler maker, India’s largest with around 42% market share, said on Tuesday it plans to enter the European markets in 2015, starting with Italy, Spain and France, later followed by Germany and the UK in the second stage.

The company will first roll out its ‘Leap’ hybrid scooter in Europe, and later add other bike and scooter models.

Pawan Munjal, vice-chairman, CEO & MD at Hero MotoCorp, said, “Having already stamped our presence in Asia, Africa, Latin & Central America, we are now looking at entering the European market by 2015 end. While we are looking for potential partners, we are also open to M&A opportunities to make quick inroads in these markets. This is in line with our vision of making Hero a truly Global Brand in its range of quality products, scale of operations and geographical footprint.”

Hero, which has announced a Rs 5,000 crore investment across five new manufacturing plants and an R&D centre, aims to also enter the US market in 2015, followed by Brazil and Argentina in 2016. “Today, one out of every 10 bikes sold globally is a Hero bike and every second two-wheeler sold in India is from Hero. This places us in a unique position to expand our business into new markets across continents,” Munjal said.

Incidentally, Hero has several technical alliances in Europe. In Austria, it has partnered with AVL for engine development, while Italy is home to two strategic alliances — Engines Engineering and Magneti Marelli — both based at Bologna. Engines Engineering is a technology partner, while Hero has a joint-venture with Magneti Marelli in India for developing fuel injection technologies.

With presence in 20 countries, by 2020, Hero aims to be present in 50 countries with 20 manufacturing plants globally. At present, Hero has an annual capacity of 6.9 million two-wheelers across four domestic plants and this is likely to go up to 7.65 million next year and at least 12 million by 2017.

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