New Delhi: The country’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp today said it will start assembly plants in Kenya and Nigeria as it looks to expand footprint in the global markets.
The company, which is gearing up to meet the new emission norms for its products by 2015, also said it has partnered with an undisclosed European firm for that. Besides, it is considering picking up equity stake in its new partners.
“We will have assembly plants in Latin America and Africa and that will happen over a period of time. Kenya and Nigeria will have assembly operations,” Hero MotoCorp Managing Director and CEO Pawan Munjal told reporters.
Speaking on the sidelines of the annual convention of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) here, he said the company would first launch its bikes in Nigeria around November-December this year and assembly operations will start six months after that.
“Assembly operations in Kenya will also start soon. We have already finalised a distributor for Kenya,” he said without sharing a timeline.
On the Latin American market, Munjal said the company is focussing on the Colombian market first, where it plans to have an assembly operation.
“It will take some time as Colombia requires specific amount of local contents under the regulations,” he said, adding that the company’s earlier partner was still selling erstwhile HeroHonda bikes as there was substantial stock.
Commenting on the overall export strategy, Munjal said: “I am looking at hubs to serve at different countries. For example, Colombia could be one of the hubs and similarly Nigeria and Kenya could also be other two hubs.”
When asked about the new partnership with the European firm, he said: “I have already signed the contract two weeks back. This is an European firm. It is a design company. It doesn’t have production capability. The company provides end-to-end solutions for two-wheelers.”
The firm also has design capability for hybrids, internal combustion engines and electric two-wheelers.
He, however, declined to disclose the name of the new partner saying a formal announcement would be made later. Stressing the significance of signing up the new partner, he said: “By 2015 we will have new emission norms. So a lot of work needs to be done for our entire range of products and we will take help for technology from them.”
When asked if Hero MotoCorp would pick up stake in its new technology partners, Munjal replied in affirmative.
“Sooner than later we will be equity partners. We may take stake in these companies. To start with we will have a minority stake in EBR,” he said