Post its split with Japanese two wheeler giant Honda, the world’s largest two wheeler maker by volume, Hero MotoCorp, is in the final stage of rebranding all its motorcycles and scooters. The Honda brand, has now been dropped from all Hero products and Hero MotoCorp is also going forward with the change in monikers like CBZ and CD, which belong to Honda. While the CBZ brand has been dropped on the CBZ Xtreme which will now be known simply as the Hero MotoCorp Xtreme, the CD tag on the likes of the Hero Dawn and Deluxe is replaced by the HF moniker.
Going forward, the Hero CD Dawn/Deluxe will be known as the Hero HF Dawn/Deluxe. Other motorcycles like the Splendor, Passion and Glamour series have dumped the Honda name to be known as the Hero Splendor, Hero Passion and the Hero Glamour. The same is the case with motorcycles like the Hunk, the Achiever, the Karizma R and the Karizma ZMR. Also, the erstwhile Hero Honda Pleasure automatic scooter becomes the Hero Pleasure. New products like the Impulse, Maestro, the Ignitor and the Passion XPro have been launched with Hero branding right from the word go.
Therefore, this re-branding exercise doesn’t affect these products. The Honda brand has been very strong in the Indian two wheeler market right from the 1980s, when Hero first tied up with Honda, to culminate in a near 3 decade joint venture, that ended last year. While Hero used to handle the manufacturing, after sales and distribution, Honda supplied Hero with technology for new products for a royalty. With Honda now going it alone in India along with its own two wheeler range, it was just a matter of time before these two big brands went separate ways.
The jury remains split on how Hero will fare with the loss of the Honda badging on its motorcycles. While some believe that the Hero brand is strong enough to sustain on its own, others feel that the loss of Honda badging will cause some loss of sales, at least in the initial phase of the rebranding. Hero MotoCorp’s sales have slipped for the past few months. The two wheeler major claims that this is due to a realignment in production rather than the rebranding exercise. The two wheeler maker, pointing to its festive sales of 1 lakh motorcycles on a single day of Dhanteras, an auspicious days for Hindus, indicates that the Hero brand is as strong as ever. Hero still continues to have an unmatched sales and after sales network in India, that Honda will more than some time to match. For now, its sheer reach is Hero MotoCorp’s biggest strengths. With that, it remains to be seen for how long Hero MotoCorp will be able to maintain this advantage.