Hero MotoCorp eyeing premium commuter motorcycle segment
Hero Xtreme Sports.

Hero MotoCorp eyeing premium commuter motorcycle segment

9th Mar 2016 8:00 am

The bike maker plans to strengthen its hold in the market with the launch of new models in the premium category; to launch 200cc Xtreme 200S in 2017.

Hero MotoCorp is working on acquiring market share in the premium commuter motorcycle segment. In India, the premium segment constitutes a class of motorcycles with engine displacement largely in the range of 150-250cc.

The bike manufacturer, which dominates the motorcycle industry in India with a market share of over 50 percent, plans to consolidate its existing strength (mass commuter category) by rolling out new products in the premium category to take on its rivals such as Bajaj Auto, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, TVS Motor Company among others. The premium commuter segment, once dominated by the Bajaj Pulsar 150 and Yamaha FZ series, has seen a number of new entrants which have gained market traction in recent years. These models include Suzuki’s Gixxer variants, Honda’s CB Unicorn range, Bajaj KTM’s 200 Duke and RC 200.

While Bajaj Auto is attempting to make further inroads into this space through its Avenger Street 150 and V15, TVS Motor, on the other hand, is looking to grab its share via the Apache series. The bike maker also recently launched its new flagship, the Apache RTR 200 (198cc, 20bhp oil-cooled, single-cylinder engine). Industry experts say that Hero MotoCorp is aware of the high level of competition in the segment and is working hard to develop motorcycles which can offer additional or improved features.

Speaking to our sister publication Autocar Professional, Markus Braunsperger, chief technology officer, Hero MotoCorp, said: “The philosophy is to remain a highly successful company. First of all, we will strengthen the categories we operate in, which mainly includes the 100cc to 125cc class. Secondly, we look at gaining the market share in the premium commuter category of 150cc and above motorcycles. Thirdly, we plan to look at the category of motorcycles with engine displacement of more than 250cc, which will give us an opportunity gradually in India but mainly in the global markets.”

It can be recalled that the company had unveiled a 200cc version of its Hero Xtreme model at the 2016 Auto Expo which, according to the official press communication, is ‘a showcase of directional guidance to future products in the premium category’. The model displays Hero MotoCorp’s attempt to cater to the ever-growing consumer expectations from this segment. The Xtreme 200S featured premium elements such as a rear mono suspension, compact packaging of the engine area, a young design, safety ABS, LED lights and others. The model also hints at a ready option of an air-cooled, single-cylinder, 18bhp, 200cc engine for a future line-up of motorcycles. Company officials had announced that the plan is to introduce the Xtreme 200S in the Indian market in 2017.

As far as numbers go, the company had reported total motorcycle sales of 46,57,981 units between April 2015 - January 2016. However, total motorcycle sales across all companies for the same period stood at 88,94,084 units. This clearly indicates that Hero MotoCorp’s dominating market share for the 10-month period of the ongoing fiscal is at 52.37 percent. Market statistics further convey that the company holds a larger market share of 64.41 percent when it comes to the commuter motorcycle categories of up to 125cc. Hero MotoCorp recorded total sales of 45,67,680 units during the same period across 75-125cc categories. The motorcycle industry, on the other hand, scored total sales of 70,91,129 units during the 10-month period.

Amit Panday & Sumantra B Barooah

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