Hero Cycles rides its way into the UK and Europe market joining hands with Avocet. Rahul Laud reports for Indiagbnews
Hero Cycles, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of bicycles, opened a £2m global design centre (HGD) at One, Central Park, Manchester – a short distance from the National Velodrome, the home of British cycling. A grand celebration was jointly hosted later in the evening in Manchester by Avocet and Hero for industry experts and trade. Who’s who in the cycle industry , trade were present to welcome the Indian Hero.
Tim Lewns , Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency and Jo Ahmed, Partner Executive Office , Deloitte were also present on the occasion.
Mr Pankaj Munjal, Chairman and Managing Director of Hero Cycles, said , ‘’The HGD aims to bring together the best designers and innovators in the bicycle industry from around the world to develop the next generation of bike designs using the very latest technology. It will rationalise the global company’s design functions, bringing together in one place its design, product development, innovation, testing and market research departments. having acquired a majority stake in Avocet Sports
Avocet is a Manchester-based bike and accessories distributor. In august 2015 Hero had clinched this deal with Avocet – their first partnership outside India.in UK to build a ‘’Gateway to Europe.’’
Munjal said, ‘’The facility will employ 25 of the industry’s best design and marketing experts from across Europe. The team will work across several bike segments including traditional disciplines alongside cutting edge futuristic models.
This new centre will help to develop a common mother brand across the Hero Group, homogenise designs and build progeny brands across Europe.
In addition to full time staff, the centre will have free desk space for university students in Manchester who wish to focus on bicycle-related studies. It will also take on at least four apprentices under the government’s recently enhanced Apprenticeship Scheme, placing British talent at the forefront of the industry.’’
Furthermore, Munjal added, “With major expansion plans in Europe, this Design Centre will help us produce technology and design to cater to differentiated products to suit the needs of different European markets.
“Our strategy is twofold; to develop British brands here in the UK, build them and export them across Europe, Africa and India and secondly, to increase the value of our Indian-based bike brands.”
Tim Newns, chief executive officer, MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “As the home of British Cycling and a global centre of excellence for cycling, Manchester is the ideal location for the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles, Hero Cycles’, new Design Centre. India is a key market for the UK in terms of inward investment, outbound export, education and tourism, and therefore to have secured the European HQ of one of India’s leading companies in Hero Motors Group is a huge boost. It’s also a fantastic career-enhancing opportunity for the students and apprentices who will work alongside industry specialists.”
Martin Phelan International Director Northern Powerhouse Investment at Department for International Trade, said ‘’Our department has provided export growth support to Avocet with advice and guidance which has fuelled its European expansion.’’He said , ‘’This investment will further boost the city’s standing as an industry leader in sport, and in turn the knowledge developed here will be exported around the world.”
Steven Walsh, Chairman of Avocet Sports said: “With half the business community around the country confused after Brexit, the decision to locate the Hero Global Design Centre here in Manchester is fantastic news.
“I must thank Mr Munjal for his bravery and confidence in finally selecting Manchester for this project. Manchester is officially designated as the Design Capital of the UK. Walsh said, “Hero and Avocet have together embarked on a strategy of developing their brands across Europe and the rest of the world. Working with the Department for International Trade and other organisations there is an extensive programme for sales expansion beyond the UK shores.’
“We have spent the past year understanding each other’s business models and integrating and we are now ready to cement the relationship with the opening of this great new centre which will be the spearhead of our sales expansion across Europe. The benefits of our partnership will be immense for both parties.”
Hero Cycles exports to various countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia had made its third major bicycle related acquisition in early 2015 , taking a majority stake in one of Sri Lanka’s leading bicycle manufacturers BSH Ventures, strengthening the company’s manufacturing presence in the Indian subcontinent. BSH is focussed on exporting to the European market. This helps Avocet Hero partnership in UK as BSH is part of the Hero’s supply chain.