There was a time when Hero Honda, the leading Indian Motor Company, enjoyed abundant skill in the research and development capabilities from Japan brought in by its partner Honda. In the R&D field Hero Honda was acknowledged mostly for insignificant jobs of paints and stickers rather than anything important. But in the new breeze that blows from the past few months, when Hero MotoCorp finds itself as an individual company, the former ally Honda is aiming straight for Hero’s jugular and to fire back, Hero has an urgent need to brush up its R&D potential, and quick. The company has initiated signing in new talents who are to work on the newly founded Intellectual Property cell, and will spend Rs. 400 crores to construct a huge 250 acre R&D facility in the suburbs of Jaipur, Rajasthan. A track for testing the to-be introduced high-end superbikes will be set up along with the settlement of the entire R&D division.
In this division, Hero Motocorp has been a late bloomer and the company is on its own for this one now that it cannot rely on Honda for engine technology. Meanwhile, the Japanese Giant Honda has its target locked of becoming India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer by 2020 and to displace former partner from its current position. If that is the scenario, it is certain that Honda would not like its technologies shared with Hero, acting as fuel to fire for Hero to brush up R&D potential. Even India’s very own Bajaj Auto and TVS Motors have really strong R&D set ups and have disclosed a wide range of indigenously developed product which have been doing well.
Bajaj Pulsar and TVS Victor are two examples that the brand may follow. Presently, Hero MotoCorp is working with Austrian engineering design major AVL and American race bike team, Erik Buell Racing (EBR) to develop some solid products. Though the brand plans to bring out its first indigenously developed two wheeler by 2014 it is still not confirmed whether the vehicle will have inputs from AVL/EBR or will it be Hero’s own.