Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest two-wheeler company will start selling in Nigeria in March, chairman and managing director Pawan Munjal said on Thursday while unveiling the company’s Rs 850-crore integrated R&D facility at Kukas, 25 km from Jaipur.
“We are in 26 to 28 countries already. This month we should be starting in Nigeria and very soon we should be going into Mexico,” said Munjal.
Hero, which is largely an Indian two-wheeler maker, started exporting two years back, and plans to focus on markets in Africa, Latin America and Central America. It is already present in 26 countries in these geographies. Exports account for almost 12% of Hero’s sales .
Munjal had decided to foray into the international market after Hero’s split from Honda in 2010, a joint-venture that existed for 26 years, and focus on markets which replicate India’s user behaviour. During the partnership, Honda restricted Hero’s foray into the global market.
The company now faces a tough challenge from its domestic competitor Bajaj , which started exporting in the late 1990s. Bajaj also has the lead in terms of product development as Hero used Honda’s technology on its bikes.
But that also may change with Hero showing off its first indigenously developed motorcycle, the Splendor iSmart, at this year’s Auto Expo.
“From now on, all its products will be indigenous,” said Markus Braunsperger, chief technology officer at Hero MotoCorp.
Hero’s seriousness is evident from its integrated R&D centre. Design, product development and testing will happen at this 247-acre campus, which boasts 16 testing tracks. “There is no facility I know of, which is this integrated,” said Munjal.
Munjal said all existing and new products for the Indian and the international market will be developed here. The existing R&D centres in Dharuheda and Gurgaon have been consolidated and shifted to Kukas.