The second largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, Hero MotoCorp, says that by 2014 it will be free of its entanglement with the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, Honda. Creating a joint-venture in the Indian market, Hero and Honda went their separate ways in December of 2010, after a 26-year relationship.
Despite Honda wanting to go it alone in India, the renamed Hero MotoCorp retained some licensing rights to use Honda technology until 2014, so it makes sense that the company would announce its impending autonomy at this juncture.
Since the split, Hero MotoCorp has solicited a number of motorcycle and engineering firms to help supplement its technology needs, the most notable stateside being Erik Buell Racing. Already making overtures about wanting to invest in EBR (God knows that East Troy needs the funding), it will be interesting to see how Hero MotoCorp builds out its company to operate independent of Honda.
Certainly Hero is keeping a close eye on India’s second largest motorcycle manufacturer: Bajaj, which was gobbled up 47% of KTM’s stock, and has used that position to make inroads to the European market, as well as establishing a trajectory for the brand to offer larger-displacement motorcycles.
Good logic would dictate that Hero MotoCorp has no intentions of remaining an India-centric brand (take note of the company’s sponsorship of an AMA Superbike team), and while it services the lucrative Southeast Asian market, there is a level of prestige involved with the company supplying bikes to Europe and North America — building out a robust product line-up, and competing head-to-head in all markets with companies like Honda.