Analysis: Hero MotoCorp’s Product Push Into Premium Segments
By Preetam Bora
4 mins read
Published on June 26, 2023
- Hero expected to launch multiple new products in 2023
- The Harley-Davidson X440 has been manufactured by Hero
- A new Karizma, couple of premium scooters also expected
At the recent launch of the new Hero Xtreme 160R 4V, Hero MotoCorp was clear in announcing its intentions to renew focus on the premium end of the two-wheeler segment. At the event, CEO Niranjan Gupta kick-started proceedings by announcing the company’s new two-pronged product strategy. One is to launch a new or updated product in quick succession, and the second is to establish a more premium retail experience for customers, something which will position and demarcate Hero’s premium products through a dedicated network.
Also Read: Hero Xtreme 160R 4V Review
Hero MotoCorp's new CEO Niranjan Gupta took over the reins of the company in May 2023.
The strategy for Hero’s transformation seems to be simple enough, and the reasons, practical and with an eye on long-term strategy. Hero MotoCorp has been the undisputed market leader in the high-volumes commuter segment for decades. The company now seems keener than ever before to shrug off that image and make a strong statement in the premium segment. And to establish itself as a player in the premium side of the segment, Hero is working on not one, or two, but a portfolio of “premium” products to claim credibility.
The recently launched Hero Xtreme 160R 4V certainly underscores Hero's focus on ‘premium’ products, and the future will likely see a succession of products, both motorcycles and scooters which will be positioned at the ‘premium’ end of the segment.
The first shot seems to be the updated Xtreme 160R 4V, which is an impressive product, with its performance, dynamics, styling and competitive pricing as well. What will be even more interesting is to look at Hero’s upcoming premium product portfolio. At least two new premium motorcycles are expected to be launched in the coming months, which Hero has a lot of credibility riding on.
The upcoming Karizma XMR 210 will have a lot riding on it, considering it revives an iconic name from Hero's history. The question is, will it be as pathbreaking as the original Karizma?
One of these will be the upcoming Hero Karizma XMR 210, as well as its naked sibling, based on the same platform. Hero’s flagship motorcycle will be a modern roadster based on the upcoming made-in-India Harley-Davidson X440, developed jointly by Harley-Davidson and Hero MotoCorp in India.
Also Read: Hero XPulse 400 To Get Bigger 421 cc Engine
The Hero XPulse 200 4V recently got an update with ABS modes. A bigger, more powerful Xpulse has long been in the making.
Also expected is a bigger, more powerful Hero XPulse, although the first prototype, which was to have been launched with a 421 cc engine, has reportedly been shelved. That news is evidence enough that quality and performance will be something that will be the focus for Hero and there will be no compromises made on that. Also, considering the kind of success the XPulse 200 4V has had, Hero will be looking to milk the entry-level adventure segment with an improved and slightly more premium XPulse with a bigger engine. Also expected are at least two new premium scooters, possibly a 125 cc and even a 160 cc scooter, both positioned as premium products.
The upcoming Harley-Davidson X440 will be the litmus test for Hero's future product development strategy. There's a lot of positive expectation from this made by Hero, Harley-Davidson model.
Clearly, the strategy is clear. Hero MotoCorp wants to be taken seriously and is looking to make a mark in the premium segment with products, which will intend to shake up the segment. If the Xtreme 160R 4V is any indication, and the Xpulse 200 4V before it, Hero’s intentions are worth looking out for, in terms of a new product offensive. The upcoming Harley-Davidson X440 will be worth looking out for, and will be a forerunner for what Hero's product offensive and capability will be, in the premium space.
Hero is expected to launch its own roadster version based on the Harley-Davidson X440.
At the same time, the Indian motorcyclist is also evolving, and the discerning buyer is also seeking the best, particularly in the premium segments. If the first-generation Hero Honda Karizma is an iconic motorcycle in Indian motorcycling history, it’s because it was a torchbearer, a benchmark-setter which broke new ground in the Indian motorcycle market. For Hero to really make a mark as a manufacturer of ‘premium’ motorcycles, it will also need to make a product which will stand out, along with its portfolio of upcoming ‘premium’ motorcycles. For that, what is needed is not just a good premium product, but a product which will really wow everyone.
Last Updated on June 26, 2023
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