Hero Honda to unveil new identity

Hero Honda logoThe firm will officially announce new brand image details next month in London

This August Hero Honda will not remain India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer… technically speaking. What we mean is that the two-wheeler giant will be changing its brand identity. Like we had disclosed earlier, after confirming to part ways with technology partner, Honda Motors Japan, the Indian company would be renamed as Hero MotoCorp Ltd and has been burning the midnight oil to create a new global brand image.

Bike India has now got details of the official unveiling that the Hero Group is planning next month. The company has chosen August 9, 2011 as the auspicious day for the introduction of the new brand identity. Interestingly, the venue for the event will be London, UK, a clear indication that Hero does not want to limit itself to just the Indian sub-continent, but wants to be recognised as a major global player in the automobile industry. The auto major had expressed its desire to venture into several emerging markets globally. This is the first major step the company will be taking from the time it  announced that it would be going solo. Hero Group and Honda had signed an agreement in March 2011, whereby the Indian firm would pay the Japanese partner around Rs 2,450 crore till 2014.

Earlier this year, the company had hired global brand and innovation specialist Wolff Olins to create its new brand identity, and Law & Kenneth (L&K) as a creative partner to launch and establish the new brand for the company.

It goes without saying that when the unveiling happens in London next month, Bike India will be there to get you the LIVE updates.


New Pulsar coming in September

Bajaj to launch a bigger Boxer next month, followed by the new Pulsar

The Bajaj Pulsar has an enviable position in the history of Indian performance biking. However, over the last few years, its shine and allure has waned considerably thanks to the competition smartening up and launching an ever-improving range of premium bikes that delivered more bang for the buck. Bajaj has also tried to keep the Pulsar fresh with regular nips and tucks, but a full-scale revamp was what was sorely needed. And it’s here finally, thus confirming the report that BIKE India has previously carried. Come September and the completely new face of the Pulsar will be launched, according to Mr. Rajiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Auto Limited. While engine and powertrain specifications are still under wraps, it is clear that new model will heavily feature technology and know-how that Bajaj has gained from its association with KTM.

But before the revamped Pulsar hits the streets, Bajaj will be introducing the 150cc version of its hugely popular people carrier, the Boxer, next month. Also referred to as the ‘Bharat bike’, the new Boxer will be powered by a 150cc engine that has been specially tuned for use in rural areas. This includes a highly strengthened chassis and cycle parts that has been reinforced for carrying heavy loads typical of city users. The new bike is expected to be priced around the Rs. 40,000 bracket.

Bajaj Auto is targeting monthly numbers of 4.20 lakh bikes and three-wheelers by October, which translates into approximately five million units annually. At present, the company averages 3.7 lakh units a month, of which, the Discover accounts for 1.35 lakh and the Pulsar around 85,000 units.

Ducati Diavel sold out…

Ducati Daivel red bike…until September

When the Diavel was first unveiled before the world’s press, it created a minor storm amongst the public with its love-it-or-hate-it looks. However, now it seems as if the Ducatisti have taken to the looks of this monstrous power-cruiser with the same passion that they have accorded every other Ducati sportsbike to date. According to an MCN report, almost 5,000 Diavels have been built until now, with the bike sold out in most major markets until September.

This brisk sale has enabled Ducati to rake in approximately £69 million by way of revenue from the Diavel only. Ducati aimed to make 8,000 in the bike’s first year of production but this may have to be increased as 4,700 bikes have been built in four months of full production with 3,200 officially registered around the world. Of the 4,700 Diavels built, just over 2,800 (60 per cent) are the more expensive carbon versions while the rest are standard versions.

Payback time for KTM

Bajaj Pulsar orangeAustrian firm shares marketing mantra with Bajaj in Pulsar 220 promotions

With this international JV, Bajaj might have opened the floodgates of low-cost supply chain for KTM, but the Austrian firm has taught a few tricks of the trade to the India manufacturer too, especially in terms of effective marketing.  KTM have been relying on this tried and tested sales technique for years now. It’s simple, but very effective.

If you’ve spotted the new Pulsar 220 advert, you’ll know what we’re talking about. All you need is a bike, painted in the trademark orange colour, and a model cloaked in all-black leathers riding it on the streets. No over-priced celebrity endorsement, no radical location and no skimpily clad dames. It worked in Europe and, going by Bajaj’s continuous sales jump, the advertising campaign is doing a bit of good to the Pune-based company as well.


Mahindra’s bigger displacement plans

Mahindra 2Wheelers plans to relaunch the Stallio motorcycle; 135cc and 150cc models on the anvil

Mahindra 2Wheelers’ first entry into Indian motorcycling was not a very rosy affair. Minor niggles and teething problems with the company’s very first offering, the 110cc Stallio, led Mahindra to withdraw it after a couple of months.However, the giant is now preparing for a renewed onslaught, and recently revealed that it will relaunch the Stallio later this year. In addition, the company is also planning to introduce higher-displacement motorcycles in the near future, with inputs from their Italian acquisitions.

“We will be relaunching the Stallio during the festive season this year. Earlier, we had made a soft launch of the bike. We have made some modifications and it is ready for launch,” Devendra Shinde, marketing vice president of MTWL, told reporters in Kolkata recently. The Mahindra Group company , which entered the two-wheeler market in 2008, has registered a 53 percent growth in eastern India during April-June this year over the same period last year. The company, which currently deals in 125cc scooters, is working towards expanding its portfolio. “We have a strategic intent to be an end-to-end player in the two-wheeler market. Over a period of time, we will have presence in the motorcycle segment as well,” said Shinde. “Although our major emphasis is on scooter market, with increasing demand in the rural and semi urban markets, we are also committed towards the motorcycle segment. Work is on developing 135cc and 155cc motorcycles.” He added that the company’s participation in this year’s Moto GP would go a long way in creating a brand space for itself in the motorcycle market.


Engine oils from ESCORTS

Escorts Limited, manufacturer of auto suspension products, has launched a range of engine oils for cars as well as motorcycles. Based on German additives, ‘ESCORTS TRU-GUARD’ is said to offer longer engine life, better fuel efficiency and lower emission levels. According to the press release the product resists oil thickening, prevents carbon-build-up in the engine and protects the engine from rust and corrosion thereby ensuring improved engine performance at low maintenance cost. Escorts Limited has also introduced a multi-purpose grease and telescopic front fork oil.

To encourage sales, the company has announced a special value-based introductory incentive scheme under which customers can participate in lucky draws and win fabulous prizes ranging from Honda UNICORN, Yamaha FRAZER, international trips, Sony LCDs, Philips Home Theatres…to even a Tata Nano car.  

The product is available across Escorts’ distribution network of over 700 dealerships and 1200 retail sales & service outlets. Available in one liter packs, ‘ESCORTS TRU-GUARD’ is priced at Rs.240 per litre, Rs.230 per litre and Rs.235 per litre for diesel engine oil, petrol car engine oil and motor cycle engine oil respectively.


Enfield ‘Motorclothes’

Royal Enfield go the lifestyle way with their latest merchandise

The brand which has been personified by a rugged, tough, dust-loving and sweat-smelling Adonis so far is now headed for the manicured way. Wishing to make a niche in premium cruiser segment, Royal Enfield are taking the brand name to a new platform with their latest collection of merchandise. From just helmets, T-shirts and mugs, exhausts and visors, the company has now come up with designer jackets, boots, RE branded AGV helmets, saddle bags, office bags, rain gear and bandanas, etc, to make the brand name more of a style statement. Toeing the Harley line, Royal Enfield have plans to open special counters at all their major dealerships and give Enfield owners an all-new ownership experience. Besides, plans are afoot to introduce customised boots, gloves and other accessories too. Catering to the premium buyers, the prices have been kept likewise. Along with accessories, the company is also working towards introducing custom paint workshops for Royal Enfield bikes, thus making all Indian custom bikers’ dream come true.

Words: Gasha Aeri


Ducati Diavel launched in India

The Italian motorcycle maker has introduced its latest offering in the country

You look at it and you wonder how everytime you declare a bike to be Ducati’s finest work, they surprise you with a better one. They have done it again and how. Though the bike was unveiled by Ducati earlier, the firm officially launched the Diavel in the country today. Quite a sensation around the world already, the bike is available in India in three variants- base, Carbon and Carbon Red, priced at Rs 17.06, 22.06 and 22.43 lakh repectively (ex-showroom, Delhi). A muscle machine in its looks, Diavel has the agressiveness of a naked sportsbike and the comfortable riding posture of a tourer.

This beast of a bike is powered by a 1198.4cc, four-stroke, Ducati’s patented L-twin Testastretta engine which promises 162 PS power and 127.4 Nm torque. Diavel’s desmodromic powerplant is based on the 1198, with the only and most important revision being reduction of valve overlap from 41 to 11 degrees. The bike comes with a six-speed gearbox and it’s features list includes- ABS, traction control and riding modes (sport, touring and urban). Straight out of a craftsman’s workshop, the Diavel is one good looking sport tourer which is most likely to grab many eyeballs on the road. On the sidelines of the superbike launch, Ducati also inaugurated its fourth showroom in India at Lavelle road in Bangalore.

Words: Gasha Aeri


Kingfisher announces adventure expedition

Kingfisher Blue mile to range from Leh to Delhi

The Kingfisher Blue mile, a Himalayan expedition is set to be flagged off on 5th July 2011. The event will be a bike ride from Leh to the capital. Although the participants are required to manage their own motorcycles for the ride, mechanical backup and accommodation will be handled by the sponsors. The on-ground logistics for Kingfisher Blue MILE will be handled by Outback Adventures. The participants will be chosen through a blogging contest on facebook.com and winners will be announced on 23rd of July.

The journey will take the participants through 1600kms of challenging roads in an uncompromising weather. The event hopes to bring together like minded adventure seeking enthusiasts on a common platform.

For more details visit – http://www.kingfisherworld.com/blue/bluemile.aspx

Words: Aniruddha Mulgund


Hurrah, Triumph is here!

The UK based two-wheeler manufacturer is gearing up for a launch next month



With the Indian two-wheeler market undergoing its golden era currently, the new feather in the hat comes by the name of Triumph Motorcycles. Looks like plans have taken shape and Triumph will make the big announcement by next month. The bikes are most likely to be brought in as CBUs (Completely Built Units) and reportedly Triumph is in talks with a local manufacturer for support too. Triumph America, Speed Master, Speed Triple and Rocket III come across as the most likeable models to be brought to the Indian mainland. Company has not officially confirmed anything yet, but they haven’t said ‘no’ either. Nevertheless, it’s time to rejoice in the Indian market.

Words: Gasha Aeri