India’s Hero Motors Company Group has successfully delivered its first batch, about 200 units, of Made in India Hero Cycles e-bikes to Europe. The company said that the shipment under the HNF brand of Hero International (HIT) marks the start of the Indian bicycle major’s plan to become a leader in the European market.
In an official statement, HMC said the shipment marks a first step forward to establish HMC as the largest fully integrated e-bike company in Europe, with a well-oiled manufacturing capability in India and brightens the prospect of India as a reliable supplier to the market other than China. Hero International, the European bike and e-bike arm of HMC, said the company’s aim is to achieve an organic revenue of up to EURO 300 million by 2025, while adding EURO 200 million from inorganic growth.
Jeff Weiss, the London-based CEO of Hero International, said the first HNF branded bike in India has landed on European shores. “This is a big moment for the company and will demonstrate its ability to disrupt the market in Europe,” he said. “Clearly, a major part of the future is e-bikes with e-bike sales expected to reach around 15 million units in Europe by 2030. We are confident that Hero is poised to become a market leader in this segment, making high-quality e-bikes fusing HNF’s engineering and design expertise with Hero’s manufacturing capability, especially with the 100-acre Cycle Valley in Ludhiana.”
Moreover, the company believes its latest batch of e-bikes to Europe overcomes the bicycle supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While supplies dwindled and lead times for components increased manifold, consumer demand for bikes and e-bikes sky-rocketed.
To meet this growing demand, Hero said it established its digital supply chain company – Hero Supply Chain (HSC), a team specialized in logistics management and digital transformation. HSC is designed to act as a consolidated buying house for HIT and cater to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) demand in the EU for supplies from India. Hero’s latest venture, Spur will manufacture key components for bicycles in house, a move aimed at further de-risking the value chain.
Weiss said where most of their competitors are struggling with supplies, the partnership with HSC allows uninterrupted supplies for bikes and e-bikes even in the present high-demand period. “Since HMC is also setting up component manufacturing in-house, the dependence on external component suppliers will be reduced.” The European arm of HMC was created to cater to the booming European market by acquiring Avocet Sports in Manchester in the UK in 2016. Avocet Sports, later renamed as Insync Bikes, is one of the largest bike distributors in the UK, with more than 22% market share in the kid’s bike segment.
By 2019, the European market was drifting increasingly towards e-bikes and demand for high-tech, light and durable e-bikes for sustainable commuting was growing. HMC decided to leverage its automotive manufacturing experience to venture into manufacturing premium e-bikes in India while acquiring HNF Nicolai, a premium German e-bike brand, to enter the European market.