Hero unveils Destini, set to take on Honda Activa

Hero MotoCorp, Indi-a's largest two wheeler manufacturer on Monday expanded its scooter portfolio by launching its first 125 cc scooter Destini to take on archrival and former partner Honda Motorcycle Scooters India.

It also plans to launch another brand new scooter to gain market share in this growing segment in the country which clocked 75 per cent growth in the first six months of this fiscal.

The 125-cc scooter market is estimated to be around one lakh units per month.

While market leader Ho-nda Motorcycle commands a market share of 58 per cent in the scooter segment, TVS has 17 per cent, followed by Hero at 10 per cent and Suzuki at 7.7 per cent.

Priced at Rs 54,650-Rs 57,500 the two variants of Hero Destini 125cc will compete with Honda Activa 125cc, India's best selling scooter for nearly a decade.

In 2016, it had trumped Hero's long time bestselling motorcycle Splendor to become India's largest selling two wheeler nameplate. Hero Destini’s other rivals are Suzuki Access 125, Ho-nda Grazia, and TVS Ntorq.

New Hero Destini scooter, unveiled for the first time as the Duet 125 at the Auto Expo earlier this year, has been completely developed in-house at the company's Centre of Innovation and Development in Jaipur.

Powered by a single cylinder 125cc air cooled engine based on the Duet's 110cc powertrain, and offers a peak output of 8.7 bhp and torque of 10.2 NM.

“The scooter market is witnessing a shift towards products with higher engine capacity,” Malo Le Masson, head of global product planning at Hero Motocorp.

The 125cc segment in particular has been expanding at a rapid pace witnessing a growth of over 75 per cent year to date this fiscal, he pointed out.

“The 125cc segment the-refore is a focus area for us and we are strategically following a multi-brand appro-ach in this space. In keeping with this strategy we have debuted today in this categ-ory with the Destini 125 and will soon introduce another scooter towards the end of the year,” Masson said.

Since parting ways with Honda in late 2010, Hero charted out its solo journey well in the competitive Indian market holding on to its market leadership position.

However, in the last five years the two wheeler major has come under pressure from Honda that has benefitted from strong demand for scooters in the country while the sale of motorcycles, a stronghold of Hero, has relatively stagnated.

Michael Gonsalves