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HomeFeatured ArticlesHero Motocorp | The Name You Know, The History You Don't

Hero Motocorp | The Name You Know, The History You Don’t

Hero Moto Corp earlier also known as “Hero Honda” is one of India’s first motorcycle manufacturers. The company has seen many ups and downs throughout their life span up till now. It is clear that the motorcycles by Hero are built to last. They are majorly known for their fuel economy and cost.

The company owns a market share of about 46% in India in the two-wheeler category. Lt.Briaj Mohal Lal Munjal the founder of Hero Moto Corp took the company to new heights. The company has never failed with their promises of fuel efficiency. How did they achieve and what went into the company? Let’s have a glimpse of India’s most successful motorcycle brand.

Here is how the company went from Fill it, Shut it, forget it to dhak-dhak go to Hum mein hai Hero.

History of Hero MotoCorp | Before the birth of a Legend

Ludhiana, Punjab is where everything came alive. In 1956 a still renowned brand “Hero Cycles” came into power. Soon after Munjal brothers founded the cycle company in 1975 it became the largest manufacturer of bicycles in the entire nation.

Nobody could stop the attention of international automakers “Hero Cycles” grabbed. After that came the Honda of Japan in 1983. Both of the brands were class-leading in their nations. Hero and Honda had to come to a conclusion and contracts where they collaborated. Soon after their alliance the very next year, in 1984 Hero Honda was born.

Honda chose Hero in India because of its wide network and the quality of the products produced by the company. Well, Honda’s decision was spot on and by 2001 Hero Honda motorcycles became the largest motorcycle manufacture globally.

First motorcycle (CD100) | Fill it, Shut it, Forget it!!

The Joint venture of Hero and Honda produces some iconic motorcycles. One such motorcycle was the CD100 which also the fist motorcycle manufactured by the brand.

Hero Honda CD100
Hero Honda CD100

Hero Honda was the first company to introduce 4-stroke motorcycles in India. The motorcycles from the giant brand were renowned for their class-leading fuel efficiency, low cost, and their manufacturing quality.

CD100 had the Honda’s tried and tested 97cc four-stroke engine. The motorcycle was capable of achieving a top speed of 87km/h. The engine produced 7.5hp@8,000rpm of power and 7.3Nm@5,000rpm of torque driving the rear wheels via a 4-speed transmission. Hero Honda CD100 had the class-leading efficiency of 80km/l.

Starting of Hero Honda’s Golden age | Hero MotoCorp journey

After launching the CD100, Hero Honda set the benchmark for other motorcycle manufacturers. As Hero Honda CD100 offered the balance between the fuel economy, price, and the built quality.

The research and development of the company never stopped. Hero along with Honda brought many motorcycles in the Indian two-wheeler market and created a buzz till the year 2000.

The Youth Motorcycle

With time the company moulded their offering according to the customer’s demands. Hero Honda Sleek was the second motorcycle after the collaboration in 1984.

Hero Honda Sleek
Hero Honda Sleek | Hero MotoCorp journey

In 1989 the motorcycle Hero Honda Sleek was way ahead of its time and boasted a simple yet elegant design. The motorcycle came with a 97.2cc engine which produced 7hp of power and 7.5Nm of torque from a 4-speed transmission. The USP of the motorcycles was not just the looks but also it weighs just over 100kg.

From the start of the 1900s, the company introduced many motorcycles that became popular amongst every age group. Low cost and high fuel economy along with high refinement are what made the company what it is now.

Here are some Motorcycles from the Hero Honda brand with the companies achievements.

  • In 1991 Hero Honda launched its new and upgraded motorcycle the CD100SS. In the same year, the company achieved a milestone of producing 5 Lakh motorcycles.

    Hero Honda CD100SS
    Hero Honda CD100SS
  • Later in 1994, came the iconic motorcycle in the Indian market, the Hero Honda Splendor which was the successor of CD100.

    1994 Hero Honda Splendor
    1994 Hero Honda Splendor | Hero MotoCorp journey
  • 1999 was the year which changed the Hero Honda’s perception in the people’s mind. Came company’s first motorcycle to cross 100km/h mark. Hero Honda “CBZ” made its way in many Indian homes.

    1999 Hero Honda CBZ
    1999 Hero Honda CBZ | Hero MotoCorp journey
  • In the Year 2001, Hero Honda made a ton of progress and launched not one but two motorcycles. Hero Honda Passion and Hero Honda Joy. while the Passion was aimed towards the sightly premium buyers with its new design. On the other hand, Joy was the most affordable Hero of the time.

    Hero Honda Passion
    Hero Honda Passion

Besides the new motorcycle launches Hero Honda got the tag of #1 motorcycle manufacturer in the world in terms of the number of bikes manufactured. The company still maintains the standards to date.

  • The first high capacity motorcycle from the company was launched in 2003. Hero Honda Karizma, which was capable of top speeds of more than 130km/h hence it was seen as a high-speed tourer of the decade.

    Hero Honda Karizma R
    Hero Honda Karizma R
  • Alongside Karizma, the company came with Hero Honda CD Dawn and some tweaks were done in Splendor and passion. Both of them also got a name change to, Splendor+ and Passion Plus.
  • In 2003, enters the motorcycle aimed towards the premium commuter buyers the Hero Honda “Ambition 135”. In the same year Hero Honda also came up with 2 new updates in their existing motorcycles. Hero Honda CBZ got a design change along with name change to “CBZ Star”
  • In 2005, Hero Honda introduced four new motorcycle models namely Super Splendor, CD Deluxe, Glamor, and all new Achiever.

The Era of Powerful Motorcycles

  • In 2007, Hero Honda uplifter their offerings which were more focused on youngsters with more power and aggressive appeal.
  • Hero Honda launched its one of the iconic power full motorcycles the “Hunk”. Alongside that, the company also launched the Splendor NXG.
  • 2009 marked the silver jubilee for the big automotive giant. Hero Honda Celebrates its achievement by launching its new most powerful motorcycle the “Karizma ZMR”.

Termination of the Joint Venture | Hero MotoCorp journey

Through the years both Hero and Honda gave their everything. The result can be seen now as the company still holds the crown of the best motorcycle manufacturer in terms of number. But the rising tension between the two companies let to the fall of collaboration between the two companies.

Reason for Termination

  • The differences between the two companies were rising for some time due to the issues between them.
  • Despite more than 10 years of a long partnership, Honda was reluctant for not sharing the full technology gone in their motorcycles.
  • Hero also had to pay high royalty to the Japanese company “Honda”.
  • The barrier for Honda was the refusal of Hero Honda to merge the company’s spare parts business with Honda’s new fully owned subsidiary Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India.
  • The main reason for the termination was restricting the export of the motorcycles in just a few countries namely, Bangladesh and Nepal. Exporting was one of the main components that could help Hero to expand its footprint.

In 2011 Honda the Japanese motorcycle sold its 26% shares to the Munjal family. This was the end of one of the successful collaborations in the world.

Formation of “Hero MotoCorp”

On 29th July 2011, the name changed from Hero Honda to Hero MotoCorp. The Hero got its new identity form then and a British firm Wolff Olins designed the new logo of the company which is still in use. The logo was showcased on the 9th of April in London to harmonize with the third test cricket match between England and India.

Hero MotoCorp Logo by
Hero MotoCorp Logo by Wolff Olins
  • Hero MotoCorp was now free to export its motorcycles to any country. Now it exports many of the motorcycles to Latin America, Africa, and West Asia.
  • People had double thoughts regarding the retirement of the joint venture of the two companies. But Hero has overcome and now is a well developed and established motorcycle manufacturer brand.

Hero Impulse was the first motorcycle from the Indian motorcycle manufacturer to be launched solely by Hero MotoCorp. Then came the Hero Ignitor along with updated 100cc engines in splendors.

In-House Research and Development at Hero MotoCorp | Uptill Now 

After the joint venture got dissolved the Indian motorcycle manufacturer came up with many innovations that were produced in house. Some of the achievements are the new 110cc engine, the vertical 125cc engine, and the new I3s Tech. Hero introduced the I3S or Idle start-stop function in many of its motorcycles.

  • Hero iSmart was the first motorcycle that was equipped with the new i3s technology. The motorcycle got the highest ever fuel economy in India of 110km/l. This motorcycle was awarded the most fuel-efficient motorcycle in the world.
  • Hero MotoCorp was the first to introduce Fi in the Indian Market. Hero Glamour Fi was the first commuter motorcycle to come with an option of Electronic fuel injection instead of a traditional carburettor.
  • All the latest 200cc offerings in the Hero line up are designed and developed in-House at the R&D facility in Jaipur.

Hero MotoCorp manufacturing Units

There are many manufacturing units spread across India and few out of India.

  1. Dharuhera, Haryana- This was the first manufacturing unit set up in 1984.
  2. Gurgaon, Haryana- The second manufacturing unit in India and one of the biggest.
  3. Neemrana, Rajasthan- The Green and environment-friendly manufacturing unit.
  4. Halol, Gujarat- Another big manufacturing plants.
  5. Chittoor, Andra Pradesh- The latest manufacturing unit to be set up.

Hero MotoCorp produces nearly 9,500 two-wheelers in a day. For instance, nearly 7 motorcycles roll down the production line every minute. Indeed Lt. Brijmohan Lall Munjal established a big firm and neo has a name worldwide.

Also Read: Coronavirus- Hero MotoCorp shuts down production globally

Utkarsh Bhardwaj
Utkarsh Bhardwajhttps://gomechanic.in/blog
Technical Content Strategist at GoMechanic | Big Time Petrolhead with the passion for building cars and driving those beauties.


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