India’s largest two wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp Ltd on Tuesday announced a joint venture with Fiat Group’s automotive parts company Magneti Marelli SpA to make powertrain that include next-generation electronic fuel injection systems, which would help improve the fuel economy of its bikes.
After parting ways with its two-decade old partner Honda Motor Corp in 2010, Hero has been scrambling to develop an in-house technology for its products and has already roped in three other companies including US-based Eric Buell Racing, Austria’s AVL and Italian design firm Engines Engineering. The company is also in the process of setting up an integrated 250 acre research & development (R&D) centre at Kukas in Rajasthan at an investment of `400 crore.
The joint venture with Magneti will be called HMLMM auto Ltd, with Hero holding a majority 60% share. Both companies will invest $8.5 million (`52.7 crore) over the next three years and $27 million (`167.4 crore) over 10 years.
Fuel injection in two-wheelers is considered to be the next leap in technology and makes bikes more fuel efficient with better performance. At present, Hero has two bikes — Karizma and Glamour — with fuel injected engines but the technology is sourced from Honda.
“This development will help the cause of Hero engines and improve the drivability of our products and meet environmental regulations,” said Pawan Munjal, managing director and CEO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd. “Whatever we develop will not be restricted to Hero bikes alone but we will also supply it to other companies. ”
The joint venture will start manufacturing by 2014-end.