Apr 9, 2007

5 Hero Honda, the "First Hero" among Indian bike manufacturers

Hero Honda the largest Motorcycle maker in the world.. What it does right and what might go wrong

Lately it has become the fashion for many bike enthusiasts to critize Hero Honda Motors Ltd.. Mainly because of their slow introduction of new products, refraining from timely engine upgrades and upgrades which are merely sticker jobs.

But what people usually forget is that Hero Honda is actually the "First Hero" among the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturers.

  • Hero Honda was the first company which actually put India on the world two wheeler map by becoming the largest two wheeler manufacturer in the world. It is a position which Hero Honda has consistently held on for 6 years in a row now.

  • When the Indian two wheeler market was transforming itself from scooters to Motorcyles in the late nineties, Hero Honda was the company leading the Motorcycle brigade.

  • Hero Honda has been responsible for introducing products which have been responsible for creating new segments. For example the CBZ (first 150 C.C 4 stroke) and the Karizma (first 225 C.C 4 stroke)

But the most impressive aspect of Hero Honda has been the maintenance of high levels of quality in its products. Most of the Hero Honda products have a high resale value. This speaks of the high quality of its products. This has been achieved by successfully implementing Japanese style of manufacturing. Hero Honda has lived up to "Honda" name by manufacturing bikes which are of Japanese level in quality. That itself is no mean feat.

Before the "Pulsar" was launched, Bajaj for years struggled to use the technology supplied by its Japanese partner, Kawasaki and produce good quality products. Similarly before the launch of the (150 C.C, 4 stroke) TVS Suzuki Fiero, even TVS motorcyles did not do justice to the technology supplied by its partner, Suzuki.

The problem with Hero Honda: The only problem/weakness of Hero Honda according to me is its dependence on its Joint Venture partner Honda for R&D. I don't think Hero Honda has a R&D team of its own. This heavy dependence on Honda for R&D results in slow new product introductions and regular cosmetic/sticker jobs we usually see on its existing products.

Bajaj Auto and TVS Motors are very good examples of Indian companies which are reaping the benefits of taking the initiative of developing its own R&D teams. With Honda operating independently in India and its recent plans to enter into the 100 C.C segment (the bread and butter segment of Hero Honda), it becomes all the more important for Hero Honda to develop R&D capabilities of its own.


This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


Utpal Das said...

Dear Payeng,
Dont take it the wrong way.
Most of the present generation like me probably started on a HH (Me on a Sleek). HH has the best quality motorcycles, no one doubts that.

You see when India won the WC in 83, they were the FIRST to break the West Indies monopoly in OD.

India through the GREAT SMG heldWorld records in Most Runs in TM, Most Centuries in TM, Most Tests Played, Most Centuries against West Indies. Still now thru the Little Master, India holds the record of Most Centuries in TM, Most Centuries in OD, Most Runs in OD, Only country to have 2 players in the 10000 club in OD, etc, etc.
HH through CD and its variants have the highest number of bike sales in thw world.

Now after the performance lately, would you still be praising the Indian Cricket team on thier past merit or laurels or the number of records they still hold. India still makes the world's best batsmen if you consider statistics.

Payeng said...


Nice way to put it Utpal..

Lack of R&D capability has been the Achilles Heel of Hero Honda.

Anonymous said...


You can't go for past records.

Bajaj has came out of ages.

Bajaj is putting up some healthy amount of money for its R&D, poin well reflected by the way they are shelling out different versions of Pulsar

Bajaj is no longer dependent on 'Kawasaki'.

I really din't get what this blog was created for.

Is the starter of the Bolg a HH emplyee? :D


vivek sridhar said...

HH is one crap hole of a company...Bajaj comes up with an idea or exotic (relative term) part or addition to their bike, they publicise it in the media, HH gets desperate to sell, HH incorporates this into their shitty little bikes and launch the bike before BAJAJ and incomplete R&D is done....Pioneer, No more and I THINK NOT!

Dump trucks said...

Ya you r rite at one stage it was only hero honda but at present stage bajaj and yamaha has captured lot of market with their products like Pulsar(bajaj),fz(yamaha),R15(yahama) etc.
When people get pulsar 220cc for 84,000 y they will go for ZMR of hero honda and as it evolves from karsima they have made any major changes apart form it looks.
hero honda should thank yahama as they are not launching there high cc products one yahama star that its very har 22 stop them from capturing indian market.

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