Hero Honda Motors Ltd (soon to be renamed Hero MotoCorp. Ltd), India’s largest two-wheeler maker by sales, is preparing to introduce at least three new models before the end of the year, with the first of these being a dirt bike that it will launch under its new name after a split with Japan’s Honda Motor Co. Ltd, its partner of 26 years.
The dirt bike will not be produced here in India, but will be imported in the CKD form and then assembled at the company’s Gurgaon factory. The expected price of the bike has been quoted between Rs. 1.1 lakh and Rs. 1.3 lakh by some undisclosed company personnel.
Apart from the 180cc dirk bike, the two other models to be launched will belong to the 110cc and 125cc categories. The two models will strengthen the company’s presence in the all important commuter segment with two entirely new offerings.
Recently, Hero acquired the rights to manufacture the latest 110cc four stroke engines from Honda, the same one which is found on Honda’s economuter offering, the Honda CB Twister. This engine, represents a tectonic shift for Hero, which has for long been using the horizontally inclined 97.2cc four stroke engine design that was designed by the legendary Soichiro Honda way back in the 1960s. Now, the market has begun to demand more power and torque along with higher fuel economy even from commuter motorcycles.
Therefore, Hero MotoCorp has obtained the license to manufacture the 110cc four stroke engine and use it on a Hero MotoCorp product in the second half of 2011. The other motorcycle Hero MotoCorp will introduce in the market will be a 125cc motorcycle, which will sit in the executive segment to rival the likes of the Honda Shine and the Suzuki Slingshot. What would be interesting is what Hero MotoCorp will do after its technology charing agreement with Honda ends in 2014. Will an indigenous Research and Development initiative or indulge in some more technology sharing. This, only time will tell.
Also see – Hero Honda To Change Name To Hero Moto