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Foreign tie-ups in bikes accelerate

New Delhi, Dec. 15: Domestic two-wheeler companies are collaborating with international majors to make premium bikes with bigger engines, better gearboxes and advanced component technology.

Hero MotoCorp has picked up stakes in a number of foreign companies in the last six months, including 49.2 per cent in its US-based technology partner Erik Buell Racing for $25 million.

The largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the country has also announced a $27 million joint venture with Italy-based Magneti Marelli, which designs and produces advanced systems and components. Hero hopes to develop powertrains with Magneti Marelli. It will hold a 60 per cent stake in the joint venture — HMC-MM Auto Limited — and make investments over a period of 10 years. Magneti Marelli reported a turnover of 5.8 billion euros in 2012.

“We have decided to form a joint venture with Magneti Marelli for next generation fuel injection systems. A total equity injection of $8.5 million in the ratio of 60:40 will be invested in the joint venture over a period of three years,” Hero MotoCorp managing director and CEO Pawan Munjal said.

Munjal said in the next three to four years the company would introduce 500cc- plus motorcycles, comparable with any foreign bikes in the market.

Mahindra Two Wheelers Ltd, the scooter and motorcycle making arm of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, recently obtained international patents for its four indigenously developed technologies.

These include the fuel gauge system, the automatic ignition cut-off, the distance-to-empty fuel system and the engine immobiliser system incorporated in the current and future range of Mahindra Two Wheelers’ products.

In the Auto Expo 2012, the company unveiled a host of two-wheelers, including a 300cc motorcycle Mojo, which since then has reportedly gone through a lot of changes. “We will use a host of technologies to make our motorcycles not only better but comparable with international motorcycles,” said a senior Mahindra official.

“With our in-house technologies getting international patents, we are reaffirming our commitment to offer best-in-class technology and innovative products to meet customers’ unmet needs. The incorporation of these technologies into our range of two-wheelers differentiates us from our competitors and is creating significant consumer demand,” said Viren Popli, executive vice-president at Mahindra Two Wheelers.

TVS Motor and BMW AG’s motorcycle division recently announced a deal to jointly develop bikes that will give the Indian company access to BMW’s technology as it looks to stem its falling market share.

It will give TVS the chance to revamp its products to compete with Honda Motor Co and Yamaha Motor Co. It will also give BMW an Indian partner to set up a base in India.

 
 
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