Keep your hand to your heart and truthfully answer this question - did you know that Hero Motorcorp and Hero Electric were two separate companies?
Frankly, we were quite surprised to hear the extent of this TV-serial-esque brawl between the two brothers of the Munjal family who have owned the Hero trademark since the 80s, yet can’t seem to decide who can use it when it comes to selling EVs.
With the legal tiff between them brewing over the past few months, the EV sector is at the edge of its seat to witness a 2-wheeler war of the ages - brother vs brother, Hero vs Hero (we may be taking some creative liberty with the drama behind this), and the race against time to seize the title of the EV “Hero” of India.
To set some context to this scene, India’s two-wheeler market is among the largest in the world, with over 21 crore registered two-wheelers (compared to the 7 crore registered four-wheelers).
This can be easily verified by opening your home’s windows or taking a walk outside, wherein you will notice the infestation of varied two-wheelers zipping through traffic.
The First Hero
35% of Indian two-wheelers will have the brand Hero Motorcorp (established in 1984) plastered across their fuel tank.
Surprisingly, a large part of Hero’s sales come from exports, especially to Asia and Latin America. We will come back to why that’s interesting.
The New Hero
Hero Electric, the unlisted company under the Hero EcoTech family, was birthed in 2007 as a solely EV two-wheeler company, and since it had a first-mover advantage, they still retain a 28% market share in the Indian two-wheeler EV market.
Their market share in the total two-wheeler market grew from 0.43% to 1.12% in the past year, yet vastly small when compared to its familial foe.
An agreement was signed that segregated different parts of the business among different brothers of the Munjal family.
Brijmohan Lall Munjal’s direct descendants (Pawan Munjal) will be given control of Hero Motorcorp, the flagship firm, and Dayanand Munjal’s descendants (Naveen Munjal) took over Hero Electric.
The first whiff of the family tiff, where Naveen Munjal made the first move against his uncle Pawan Munjal, stated that Hero Electric has sole rights to sell EVs under the “Hero” trademark.
After involving a panel of unbiased legal personnel, the drama ended in 2022, with the High Court finding no evidence to suggest exclusivity of the trademark’s usage, thereby allowing Hero Motorcorp to sell EVs and Hero Electric withdrew their petition.
With that being the only hurdle subduing the launch of Hero Motorcorp’s EVs, they are set to launch their brand “VIDA - powered by Hero” in Oct’22. In this head-to-head battle, let's see who has the upper hand.
Hero vs Hero
Market Share in EV
Yet to be launched
Set to export EVs to Latin America and Africa, which comprise 50% of their current market
No concrete or recent developments on exports
1 crore annual capacity spread over 8 facilities, both domestic and international
2 lakh annual capacity across 2 domestic facilities
Rs. 80,000 - Rs. 1 lakh
Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 80,000
No option to ease affordability yet
Partnered with AU Small Finance Bank to provide affordable loans to purchase their EVs
The Indian automobile sector ranks fifth globally and is expected to rise to third by 2030, with the EV sector set to be valued at from US$ 2 billion now to around US$ 7 billion in 3 years!
The expectation is to see 100% penetration of two-wheeler EVs in the market by 2030, as R&D efforts are being poured in to increase the range of each charge by 5% each year as that seems to be a major hurdle in EV adoption.
With Hero Motorcorp launching VIDA in Oct’22 and Hero Electric ramping up production, this competition is an interesting one to witness as two giants battle it out for the throne.
Who do you think will win?