According to a report by Livemint, Hero MotoCorp Ltd is set to introduce the motorcycles over the next 18 months and sell them through new premium dealerships in a strategy to diversify from its image as a mass-market brand.
Among India’s leading sports promoters, Hero Motocorp has engaged country biggest brand icon Virat Kohli.
The Indian skipper and India’s top brand icon will endorse the new bike range from Hero that is set to announce a brand name to promote the new sales network and merchandise in due course.
“A high-decibel, multimedia campaign will be rolled out featuring Virat Kohli and the Xtreme 200R over the next few days,” a source responsible for Hero’s advertising campaigns was quoted as saying by Livemint.
The producers of widely successful mass market production bikes, such as Passion and Splendor currently own about 46% of the Indian market share in two-wheeler category and are world’s largest motorcycle manufactures in the segment.
Hero has already showcased the Xtreme 200R and XPulse motorcycles. Retail sales of the Xtreme 200R will commence next week with new brand ambassador Kohli in all the campaigns.
Hero Motocorp will also retail a new range of merchandise and accessories through the premium dealership outlets including jackets, helmets, leather bags, shoes, denims, wallets, chinos, T-shirts, sunglasses and riding gear.
The company will focus on motorcycles with displacements of 200cc over the coming months. “Hero currently wants to focus on the 200-250cc segment and then gradually scale up towards the 300cc space,” said another source.
The segment has shown a promising growth largely due to the popularity of Royal Enfield motorcycles and rising disposable incomes among the country’s large middle-class households. Sales in the segment grew nearly five-fold from 220,000 motorcycles in 2011-12 to 1.02 million in 2017-18.
Hero previously had eight brand ambassadors from cricket. The league of Hero Motocorp brand ambassadors includes US golfer Tiger Woods, and current coach of Atletico Madrid and former Argentine footballer, Diego Simeone.
The signing of Kohli marks the end of five-year jinx of cricket endorsement deals during which Hero moved on to other sports such as hockey, shooting and athletics.
Hero Motocorp with this Virat Kohli signing will return to cricket for the first time in five years since the brand had snapped its IPL title sponsorship deal in 2013.
Kolhi will also not be the first cricketer to endorse Hero, which in 2002 had signed Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Mohammed Kaif to promote the range of its two-wheelers.