Surprise – Data Reveals That Hero is STUCK in the 150-200cc Segment

Against the popular belief, Hero sales in the premium 150-200cc segment are not growing in the last three years data that we have. Here, have look…

There was a time around the 2000s that Hero created premium segments in the 4-stroke niche when some iconic motorcycles were introduced – like the CBZ and the Karizma. However, that was when it had its technology (and even products) supplied by Honda. Around 2010, the Jap broke its alliance with Hero and that left Hero with no Research & Development and no technology know-how.

Hero was quick to move to defend its bread and butter – the 100-125cc segments – which it is still doing good in. However, amidst all this turmoil, and specially after the 2014 Karizma debacle, Hero was written-off by enthusiasts as the maker who only makes entry level small capacity motorcycles.

It did try various products thereafter but despite being the most widespread and the largest maker, it could not sell its bigger capacity motorcycles in any significant numbers.

hero sales 200cc segment
Hero currently sells as many as four models in this space…

This is when the 2-wheeler giant decided to turn its focus on premiumisation of its image and with a big bang it introduced 4-5 products in the 150-200cc space – split in two sub-brands Xtreme and Xpulse. The Xpulse adventure, among them, clicked and that provided some foothold to the maker in this space where it has been fighting for survival.

Flip to today and it is believed that Hero is doing fairly well in its premium motorcycles and consistently growing, but is it…?

Well, here are the last three years’ numbers that are nothing less than surprising… Take a look…

Hero Sales 150-200cc Segment

FY2165,618 units
FY2266,819 units
FY2369,525 units

Needless, to say that these are the lowest among the top five manufacturers by massive margins but contrary to the popular notion (which even I had), Hero is stuck! I mean look at that – no real growth in the last three years. And this is despite the company bettering all the products that it sells in this segment. This includes improving power figures, features, introducing 4-valves, etc to all the models.

With such a small base, a maker which would be on a growth trajectory, would increase numbers by leaps and bounds, however, that is just not happening here. In all the three years, Hero’s wholesales stood between that 65,000-70,000 mark.

hero sales 200cc segment
While the Xpulse 200 and Xtreme 160R clicked, the remaining two – Xpulse 200T and Xtreme 200S did not find many takers…

For reference, Yamaha, the maker just above Hero in this space, sold almost 1.90 Lakh units last fiscal. Honda and Bajaj were at around 2.10-2.20 lakh mark. TVS, with its Apache range, is the leader here – with sales of roughly 3.50 Lakh units.

Hero VIDA – How is it Doing and What Went Wrong?

The question, then, is – Why are people not lapping up the Xpulse, despite such a big market push and exclusivity? There could be two primary reasons for this…

  • Price Rise – No doubt that Xpulse 200 is still priced nicely. But when you factor in that it started at around Rs 90-95,000, then the current tags start looking big.
  • Engine Inconsistency – There have been a few people who have reported that the engine starts to sound coarse in some time and that, kind of, robs that level of enjoyment that is intended from a bike of this kind.

Xtreme 160R has very tough competition from rivals. The other bikes – Xpulse 200T and the Xtreme 200S are not really popular at all.

But the good thing is that Hero is trying – and it has various products lined-up in the coming months including the return of the Karizma! It is also bringing upside down forks to motorcycles of this segment. Will all of this help Hero break the stigma…? You tell me…