Incorporated in 1956 in Ludhiana as a bicycle components maker, Hero Cycles Limited has accomplished a colossal journey over five decades to emerge as the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer. Starting with a modest 639 bicycles per year, the company has gone on to become the undisputed market leader in India. Hero Cycles is today the leader in both the standard and specialist bicycle segments in India, with an overall market share of about 36 per cent.
The umbrella of Hero Cycles group includes auto parts manufacturing, Hero Motors Ltd, ZF Hero Chassis Systems Pvt. Ltd, Munjal Kiriu Industries pvt. Ltd, Munjal Hospitality, and luxury home décor products company, Oma Livings.
Hero Cycles has manufacturing units in Ludhiana (Punjab), Bihta (Bihar) & Ghaziabad (UP), giving it a total manufacturing capacity of 7.5 million bicycles per year. The highly integrated plant in Ludhiana alone produces 19,000 cycles every day. The company recently added another major manufacturing facility to its list, with a strategic acquisition of a plant in Sri Lanka, from where it aims to produce 1 million additional bicycles per annum by 2019. Hero Cycles sells through a robust network of over 3000 dealers across India.
A market leader in the standard bicycle category for three decades, Hero Cycles announced its entry into the premium bicycle segment in 2012 with the launch of its new brand, UT Edge. Another step in this direction was the acquisition of ‘Firefox Bikes’ in 2015 which has further cemented the company’s position in the premium bicycle segment. Hero Cycles’ further expanded its presence in this category with the launch of Hero Sprint Pro, a new lifestyle biking product line this year. With these strategic moves, the company now commands dominance in the double-digit growing premium segment while continuing to maintain its leadership in the mass segment with over 45% share. While diversifying its portfolio at home, Hero Cycles is also eyeing global expansion aggressively. Hero’s first overseas acquisition came in 2015 with the acquiring of UK-based Avocet Sports that marked its entry into high-end bicycle market in Europe. In March 2016, Hero Cycles acquired majority stake in Sri Lanka’s BSH Ventures, with an aim to use the manufacturing plant as its base for its rapidly growing European exports. The company already exports widely to countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Hero Cycles registered record sales in the first quarter of this year, selling a whopping 11.81 lakhs cycles. The company also made a dazzling debut at the Euro Bike Show this year where it launched new a series of new brands under the premium category: Ryedale, Denovo, Lectro, and Riddick. Adding another feather to its cap, Hero Motors’ transmission division has also bagged the pivotal business of Ducati Motorcycle for making gears of its premium bikes recently.
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