Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Hero MotoCorp’s long-term vision is to make cars, CVs: Pawan Munjal

Hero MotoCorp managing director & CEO Pawan Munjal is a huge sport fan. (Reuters) Hero MotoCorp managing director & CEO Pawan Munjal is a huge sport fan. (Reuters)
Posted: June 19, 2014 1:28 pm

Hero MotoCorp’s managing director & CEO Pawan Munjal, a huge sport fan, was visibly relaxed as we sat down for a chat at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2014. It’s been two long years of hard work since the split with Honda, and Hero has proved most naysayers wrong by maintaining strong volumes and protecting its market share despite Honda’s aggressive expansion. In a free-wheeling interview with Roudra Bhattacharya, he talks about his vision for the Hero brand, which he hopes to take beyond two-wheelers — into cars and even commercial vehicles. Excerpts:

Hero MotoCorp’s managing director & CEO Pawan Munjal, a huge sport fan, was visibly relaxed as we sat down for a chat at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2014. It’s been two long years of hard work since the split with Honda, and Hero has proved most naysayers wrong by maintaining strong volumes and protecting its market share despite Honda’s aggressive expansion. In a free-wheeling interview with Roudra Bhattacharya, he talks about his vision for the Hero brand, which he hopes to take beyond two-wheelers — into cars and even commercial vehicles. Excerpts:

Your R&D strategy has been aggressive. Are you looking to take Hero beyond two-wheelers?

Yes, that is the long-term vision. We would like to enter cars and CVs, but this will take time as such products are complicated to develop and the market is very competitive. Right now, we are focused on improving local product development.

With Honda expanding rapidly since the split, many experts believed Hero would sharply lose market share.

Many didn’t give us a chance, but we did well. In August 2010, we had said we were serious about going global and spoke of having a 10% share for exports out of total sales of 10 million. We have made major strides since and, in the last 8-9 months, have entered 18-19 markets . Previously, we were restricted by the JV with Honda, with Colombia being the only overseas market.

 

You are here for the Fifa World Cup. Tell us about your association with football.

Personally, golf is my favourite. But football is easily the most popular sport globally and something we want to be associated with as we spread our operations.

I’m big on the sport largely because my son is a supporter of Newcastle United in the EPL. In fact, we have received requests for jersey sponsorships from a few EPL teams recently, including Tottenham. When we expand to developed markets, we will be look at such options.

Hero has had a long association with cricket. But we now see you promoting other games both at home and overseas.

We have not stopped our cricket sponsorships, continued…

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