India’s Hero Motors Company (HMC) Group has declared that Hero Cycles has fortunately delivered its first batch of Made in India e-bikes to Europe. The shipment, under the HNF brand of Hero International (HIT), signifies the inception of the Indian bicycle major’s project to become ahead in the European Union (EU) market, as stated by the company this week.

Hero Cycles ships the first batch of "MADE In INDIA' e-bikes to Europe
image courtesy- heroelectro.

Approximately 200 units of the first batch have been delivered to Germany, with additional units outlined for the EU in future. The shipment denotes a forward trace to authenticate and establish HMC as the most comprehensive and fully integrated e-bike company in Europe. In a statement, HMC said that it has a well-oiled production capability in India and encourages the prospect of India as a credible supplier to the market other than China.

Hero International the European bike and e-bike arm of HMC said the company endeavours to obtain an organic revenue of up to EURO 300 million by 2025 while supplementing EURO 200 million from inorganic growth.

The first HNF branded bike manufactured in India has docked on European shores. This is a significant moment for the company and will manifest its intelligence to meddle the market in Europe, stated Jeff Weiss, the London-based CEO of Hero International.

An influential part of the future is e-bikes with e-bike sales are foreseen to reach around 15 million units in Europe by 2030. We are certain that Hero is poised to become a market leader in this division, proffering high-quality e-bikes fusing HNF’s engineering and design expertise with Hero’s manufacturing capability, notably with the 100-acre Cycle Valley in Ludhiana, he said.

The company holds its latest batch of e-bikes to Europe succeeds the bicycle supply chain interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While supplies waned and lead times for components increased the assortment, consumer demand for bikes and e-bikes sky-rocketed.

Hero Cycles, part of India’s HMC Group, has a manufacturing potential of 6 million bicycles per year and a network of plants established in Ludhiana (Punjab), Ghaziabad (UP), and Bihta (Bihar). It also has the status of the art production plant in Sri Lanka as well as a Design Centre in the UK. It also recognises UK-based Avocet Sports, Germany-based HNF, and Firefox Bikes in India.

To cater to this growing demand for bikes and e-bikes, Hero said that it has established its digital supply chain company Hero Supply Chain (HSC) , a team functional in logistics management and digital transformation. HSC is devised to serve as a consolidated buying house for HIT and provide to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) demand in the EU for supplies from India. 

Hero’s most advanced venture, Spur, will produce key components for bicycles in house, a move aimed at further de-risking the value chain.

Where most of our competitors are struggling with supplies, the partnership with HSC allows uninterrupted supplies for bikes and e-bikes even in this high-demand period. Since HMC is also setting up component manufacturing in-house, the dependence on external component suppliers will be reduced, Weiss appended.

The European arm of HMC was designed to provide to the booming European market by procuring Avocet Sports in Manchester in the UK in 2016. Avocet Sports, later renamed as Insync Bikes, is one of the most extensive bike distributors in the UK, with more than 22 per cent market share in the kid’s bike segment.

By 2019, the European market was cruising increasingly towards e-bikes, and demand for high-tech, light and enduring e-bikes for sustainable commuting was developing. HMC is determined to leverage its automotive manufacturing experience to venture into manufacturing premium e-bikes in India while procuring HNF Nicolai, a premium German e-bike brand, to enrol in the European e-bikes market.

HMC Group Chairman and Managing Director Pankaj M. Munjalstated that, Today, the bike market in India is estimated at EURO 0.8 billion with 15 million bikes a year, whereas the European market is 15 times that of India. The e-bikes market, where the growth lies, is valued at EURO 5 billion for Europe, 50 times that of India, estimated at EURO 0.1 billion.

With a favourable environment to prosper both in terms of infrastructure and policies, e-bikes were widespread in Europe at a time the thought was in its nascence in India. Apart from a business conclusion, foraying into the European market was directed at highlighting our strength as market creators and leaders in India, we have much higher to endeavour to the world our perception now is to become the largest fully-integrated e-bike company in Europe, he stated.