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India’s Giant Hero MotoCorp Continues to Sponsor Erik Buell Racing AMA Superbike Efforts

Erik Buell Racing announced today that Hero MotoCorp will continue to sponsor the two teams fielded by EBR in the AMA Pro Racing American Superbike Series, including Team Hero (with returning rider Geoff May) and Team AMSOIL/Hero, with new rider Aaron Yates, a very experienced superbike racing veteran.

As EBR moves toward volume production of its three models, its relationship with Hero becomes more interesting. Hero is massive, and is controlled by one of the wealthiest families in India (including Pawan Munjal, its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer). According to EBR’s press release, “Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer in terms of unit volumes by a single company in a calendar year. Hero sold over six million motorcycles and scooters in the calendar year 2012.” 

Hero started as a joint venture with Honda Motor Company in 1984, as part of an effort by Honda to take advantage of low manufacturing costs in India.  The Munjal family purchased Honda’s interest in 2010, gaining majority control of the enterprise.

It is understood that Hero has used its alliance with EBR to gain knowledge about both high performance engine design and racing.  Hero is establishing its own racing efforts in India.

This all points to the likelihood that EBR is tooling up production of its bikes in India at one of the 3 plants owned there by Hero.  Hero could conceivably vault EBR into a strong manufacturing position quickly.  Coupled with the financing announced by EBR recently, it is not unlikely that we will see the new EBR production units available for sale in the U.S. in the not-too-distant future.

 

43 Comments

  1. T. Rollie says:

    Excellent news for Eric and EBR and Hero! Hero will buy out Eric and he’ll be rich, as he deserves to be. Now, if only we could convince our children to live in squalor and work for $0.35/hr maybe we then could convince Hero to manufacture the motorcycles back here in North Carolina. We may also need to slacken pollution laws and embrace kick-backs and corruption, but that’s a small price to pay to bring manufacturing back to America!

    • FAST2WIN says:

      EBR will be building the bike’s in his old assembly facility. That was pure speculation on the part of the author

  2. LastRepublicanInSeattle says:

    India, Russia, and China are rapidly adopting free market capitalism. Great to see Buell recognizes that an Indian company has a better business environment to operate. U.S. companies are at a disadvantage due to the highest corporate tax in the world, labor unions, and regulation.s

    • Dave says:

      Germany does very well globally with German production which is some of the most expensive in the world. We could too but it’s cheaper to produce elsewhere and our policy allows it. If we didn’t allow it, US production would come back and pricing would still be competitive (see Japanese auto industry) because the US still far and away the strongest consumer market on earth.

    • Austin ZZr1200 says:

      You want some cheese with that whine?

    • jc says:

      Very funny, India and China are very protectionist markets.

  3. Hang on a parsec! says:

    Guys. Isn’t all the talk of buying US made or not a bit rich given that the EBR engines are not made in the US?
    The engine is the heart and soul of a bike. And people here are pinning there flags to the fact that EBR is US true US superbike.
    I think it’s far more important to buy your bike based on does it suit you and does it move you. Rather than where it might be made.

    Cheers

    • Gary says:

      It has been reported that EBR has obtained the engine rights from Rotax and EBR will be making them in the US either themselves or with a sub-contractor.

      The engines that were used in the first 100 bikes they made were completely re-made versions of the 1125 engines they bought from Rotax. They tore them down, bored them out and replaced all the components.

  4. allworld says:

    I could not be more pleased, and happy for Eric. Quality production performance motorcycles from an American company is long over due.

  5. stinkywheels says:

    I’m the biggest Erik/Buell motorcycle fan there is. I wish an American company would step up with sponsorship, but we all saw what hapens with American Wall Street mentality of short sightedness with HD. If it’s gonna have to be foreign involvement I’m glad it’s India China. In the meantime I’m hoping to see some models come out. I might have to sell off most of my bikes to afford one of his new ones but we’ll have to see what comes out to make me sell my Ulysses,S1, 1125CR,Duc SS and Monster, Suzuki SV.

  6. Jose says:

    Parts made in India. Assembled in the “Good Old USA”. Maybe…

  7. OneWhoKnows says:

    The total US motorcycle market is miniscule, what makes you people think Buell would build motorcycles in India to sell in the US?

    It’s a big world out there and there are hundreds of millions of young newly middle class workers in India, Maylaysia, Indonesia, etc who would be potential customers for a better performing sub-250cc motorcycle… something a step above basic transportation.

    I’d love to see what kind of innovation Buell could bring to that catagory.

  8. Johnne Lee says:

    I’ve stated many, many times since I retired from military service (I spent a fair amount time on the Sub-Continent) that India will eventually rule the world. If you think otherwise, you have no real understanding of the culture of the Sub-Continent.

    I believe that the current EBR/Hero plan is to initially build a few niche-priced bikes in the USA and then move the production of everything except one very pricey machine to India. This not a new marketing/manufacturing model. Honda has done it for years.

    Ducati’s plant in Thailand will eventually step up and build “real” Ducatis in the future. Audi is already building some fairly expensive vehicles on the Sub-Continent and in parts of Asia.

    Industrial manufacturing of any scale at all is on life-support in the USA and England. Large scale non-industrial manufacturing is already dead here and in the US.

    • LastRepublicanInSeattle says:

      Totally agree. I hire immigrants from India, Russia, and China. They have great engineering educations and strong work ethics. Hard to find American college grads with the same attributes. India has a billion people to pull talent from. Their education system produces students who score well above American students in math and science.

    • Ricardo says:

      What about china? they have all the money in the world…

  9. Samizdat says:

    Take a deep breath everyone. They’re not going to manufacture EBR 1190s in India. EBR is a tiny niche company making high-end American superbikes. They’ve made what, 100 street bikes so far? Even as they scale up, there is no way anyone would buy an Indian made ultra-premium product for the prices they’ll likely be asking, when you can buy a superbly refined product like CBR1000RR for $13,900. Maybe down the road, they can leverage their connections to produce a volume product, the way KTM has worked with Bajaj to make Duke 125/200s.

    In the meantime, they get sponsorship money to go racing in AMA, continue to develop their bikes and put 4 bikes on the grid! And, I’m sure the consulting work they’re doing on the side for Hero is helping pay the bills too. This is all a good thing.

    • Gary says:

      Thanks for the sanity. I have not heard ANY indication that there is ANY intent for EBR’s to be made in India. Hero will make their bikes in India and EBR will make their bikes in the US. The Hero bikes will be large volume, low dollar and the EBR bikes will be higher performance and more expensive.

      It’s a great relationship that makes a lot of sense and it’s more about EBR making Hero’s bikes better than Hero having much say in what EBR does.

    • Gary says:

      And I have to take issue with this comment from the article “This all points to the likelihood that EBR is tooling up production of its bikes in India at one of the 3 plants owned there by Hero.”

      It points to no such thing. EBR has a production facility in East Troy and they have been consistently saying they will produce their bikes there. Yes, they are likely getting closer to production, but there is absolutely no reason to believe any production will be done in India.

      • Samizdat says:

        Yup, pure unsubstantiated rumor mongering. Below the standards I’ve come to expect from this site. Is this the new norm?

        • Dave says:

          If EBR were to build a bike in India, it would cost what it does based on the value/quality that they think it will bring, not on where it is made. One would hope that they would leverage the lower labor costs to be more price competitive but the price is what the market will bear, not the minimum margin the company can survive on. See Apple.

          KTM is making some pretty nice bikes in India as are Honda. These aren’t superbikes but they do demonstrate the quality that these factories are capable of.

  10. ApriliaRST says:

    >>Hero started as a joint venture with Honda Motor Company in 1984, as part of an effort by Honda to take advantage of low manufacturing costs in India. The Munjal family purchased Honda’s interest in 2010, gaining majority control of the enterprise.<<

    Watch out, Erik.

    And count me in the group that won't buy the bike at US manufacturing-cost price when it's built in India at India-cost expense.

  11. Superhawk says:

    That do-hicky under the axle is the vent (similar to ones on F-1 cars that directs air to the front brake. Havine only one rotor and such, things get hot very quickly, especially when the way to keep up with the I-4′s is on braking many times. This little gadget helped them tremendously from getting major brake fade.

    As far as production… this is simply a business agreement, but Eric can’t make them all in his back yard and if hired more than 10 people, the UNION would start their pressure and the prices would rise.

    If you can’t win in the USA… then take it somewhere else. Seems like that’s the only way people listen anymore I’m said to say. Love you America… get it together!!! (Rant Over)

    Can’t wait for AMA superbike this year… It’s still rough around the edges, but they are doing a great job with what they have and trying to make it better… (Damn the torpedoes!!!)

    Cheers!

  12. John McDowell says:

    I too, would be happier if the EBR would be made here in the USA. So, is all the difference in cost due to labor, or materials, or both? How about a non-union labor force, no benefits, insurance, heat in the winter or cool in the summer factory?

    PS. what is the funny do-dad under the front axle?

  13. JR says:

    Well.. that’s nice, best of luck over in India. As for me in the good old USA where jobs are needed, I’m waiting for the Buell XB production to re-start again.. building simple, reliable, easy to maintain.. low revving, high torque, belt driven, air cooled.. XB9Scg and XB12Scg V-twin, “light weight”.. fun motorcycles, that get good mileage that people can really afford to buy.

    • DaveA says:

      Please notify Mr. Buell right away when you find him an American investor/bike builder that will facilitate your jobs-in-USA plan for his company. I bet it never occurred to him to look for a domestic manufacturing/investment partner.

    • Tom says:

      As much as I would like to see that happen; I won’t hold my breath.

  14. toad says:

    If manufactured it in India, then sell at a manufactured in India price. I know I’m not paying 18,000 1st year production run bike made in India.

  15. TripleRider says:

    It’s great that Eric Buell has sponsership with deep pockets, but…
    he must convince the Munjal family (HERO MotoCorp) to manufacture
    its superbikes here in the USA.
    Seems to me that a legit superbike designed by an American innovator like
    Eric Buell, and built here in America, could only heighten its marketability.
    If it’s made in India, I have no doubt it will be excellent, but…
    it’s not made in the USA.
    But… we still have Harley.

    “Everyone I know has a big But…” (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure)

    • Dave says:

      I think by sponsoring EBR, building superbikes in American is exactly what Hero is doing.

      I sometimes wonder if Buell sportbikes would still be made in Milwaukee if they were called Harley Davidsons.

  16. Bob-o says:

    I’m conflicted!

  17. PeteN95 says:

    Great news, with 4 bikes in AMA SB, EBR may be the second most popular brand behind Suzuki?!

  18. bikerrandy says:

    This is great news for Eric and EBR. Also good that May and now Yates are their racers. Yates has oodles of experience road racing and May is no slouch either. Good to see a team in this economic environment get such good sponsorship. Go EBR !!