Hero Electric is planning to launch high-end models of electric scooters with higher speed and bigger looks, once it receives approvals from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). On obtaining certification by ARAI, the company will launch these vehicles in the same month.

S Kalyana Ramanathan / New Delhi July 18, 2008, 0:44 IST

India's largest two wheeler company Hero Honda Motors is spreading its wings to capture the commuting bikers' imagination in rural India, after witnessing flat sales growth in 2007-08.

The two wheeler market leader plans to cover 100,000 of the 600,000 villages in the country by the end of this financial year under a campaign named Har Gaon, Har Aangan (every village, every household).

Metal costs, largely responsible for vehicle price hikes, will soon cease to pinch the automobile manufacturers' margins as they become increasingly aware of the benefits of using engineering plastic instead of metals in vehicles. Home-grown automotive players like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Bajaj Auto, Hero Honda, TVS Motors and Maruti Suzuki are augmenting the use of plastics in engine components in an ambitious effort to reduce dependence on key metals like steel and aluminium, all of which have witnessed stupendous rise of 35-50 per cent in the past 5 months.

As separation pangs hit the electric vehicle joint venture between Hero Group and Ultra Motors, the Delhi High Court has restrained the UK-based firm from selling competing electric two-wheelers for a period of 180 days starting April 23. Responding to a petition filed by Hero Cycles, which sought to restrain Ultra Motors India Ltd (UMIL) from selling electric vehicles and kits in India, a high court Bench restrained UMIL "from offering for sale or attempting to market any products defined in the agreement' for the period.

Hero Honda has worked out a major expansion strategy for the rural markets and is planning to strengthen retail financing to support the initiative, that could lead to setting up of its own finance arm. Pawan Munjal, MD of Hero Honda, told TOI that rural market would be a special focus area for the company as it is looking at new growth areas to maintain sales momentum in a shrinking market. "We have created a special

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