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.