In the agreement made during separation, Hero Motocorp agreed to keep Honda’s name in their products for another two years from now. But since Hero Motocorp started their rebranding strategy, they were waiting for this day to come when they are all together a different identity.
World’s largest two wheeler producer, Hero Motocorp conceptualised the brand with the help of London based Wolff Olins. But the worry for Hero group is the impact of Hero removing its surname from its products. As of now the results does not seem to be going Hero’s way.
From the sources in Hero MotoCorp, the production of Hero’s bread and butter product, Splendor, has gone down from over 200,000 units in June to less than 100,000 units recently. The market for splendor goes deep in the smaller towns of the country and this is where many know splendor as Honda’s vehicle. It is just a bad co-incidence or the impact of losing the surname that the Splendor has been for the first time taken over by Bajaj’s Discover. Though this is the claim made by Bajaj but the absence of Splendor’s sales figure in Hero MotoCorp's quarterly release does nothing but raises the doubt on Splendor’s supremacy in the Indian market.
Analysts accept that Hero is going through a slowdown as an impact of brand change but feel that Splendor in itself has become a brand which is beyond the name of Hero or Honda.
Reasons are enough but not results
Sources from the house, however, blame it largely on the economic slowdown and not the Hero Honda split. According to one of the sources, “The slowing down sales is a mixed result of the economic slowdown, more number of products in the same category and changing customer behaviour and all this is a part of the business, but is no where connected to the removal of name Honda from the name plates”.
Hero’s Passion Pro has also seen a downturn and its production has been cut down sharply in the span of these three months. At the same time Honda’s Dream Yuga is being preferred over Splendor due to the engine power which is 110 cc against Splendor’s 96 cc and the strategic pricing done by Honda.
With a lot happening against Splendor, changing consumer trend does not seem to be solving the problem. Gearless version of two wheelers has risen up as an alternative in the time of rising fuel prices. Hero has also done good with its Maestro but cannot revive Hero MotoCorp if Splendor's performance starts hurting.
With nothing going Hero’s way, they have up scaled all the marketing and advertising activities to retain the loyalty of its customers it gained while being with Honda. This quarter seems to be very important for all the players as this is the time when the loyal Hero Honda customers are wondering who is the actual ‘Desh ki Dhadkan’?