Hero MotoCorp is keen on starting with a clean slate after its split with its technology partner Honda and to achieve this are removing all remaining signs of the former partner. The recently launched motorcycle the Ignitor, the scooter Maestro and surprisingly even the Impulse will be among the list of vehicles that are going to be phased out shortly. These products from the motorcycle manufacturing giant will be replaced with similar products using technology developed entirely by Hero and for this Hero is setting up an integrated R&D centre near Jaipur with an investment of Rs 400 crore, and has been getting aggressive in firming up alliances to guarantee new technology flow after the departure of Honda.
Mr. Munjal did not disclose the name of the new European partner. In February, the company announced a partnership with US superbike company Erik Buell Racing (EBR), and in March signed a research deal with Austrian engine manufacturer AVL. Munjal said Hero MotoCorp intends to purchase equity in the technology companies in future. “We are just getting to know each other and seeing what we can get from these companies. As we move along, we may purchase a stake in them, beginning with a minority stake. Ultimately, the idea is to have them as an extended arm of our R&D set-up at Jaipur.”
While the company launched the 150cc ‘on-road-off-road’ bike Impulse in October last year, the 125cc Ignitor and the Meastro scoooter were launched this year. “We are already working with our alliance partners for a new on/off bike. This could be similar to or much better than Impulse.”
After discontinuing these products, Hero MotoCorp will save on royalty payouts to Honda. Munjal, however, said that blockbuster models like Splendor and Passion, also developed using Honda’s technology, will not be phased out as they have been in the market for long. “All models before Impulse will stay and royalty payouts for them will end in 2014. The new partner that we have tied up with will help us in aligning to new emission norms that come in from 2015. With AVL, we will work on engines while EBR will be used for developing certain kinds of bikes and other products like hybrid scooter.”