For Hero MotoCorp Ltd (HMCL), India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, achieving its lofty aim of exporting 1 million units a year will take some more time. Originally planned for a 2016-17 deadline, the company now aims to achieve this aim in another four years.

“We continue to aspire for crossing the (said) milestone. Our annual export volumes stood less than 210,000 units last fiscal. Our revised export target involves a five-fold growth thereby crossing one million units in another 3-4 years," Rajat Bhargava, head, strategy and performance transformation, global business and emerging mobility at Hero MotoCorp told Mint in an interview. In line with that, the company plans to increase contribution of exports to annual turnover from the current 3% to 10% by FY2023–FY24, Bhargava said.

Bhargava was talking on the sidelines of the ongoing EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan, Italy.

Hero MotoCorp had first announced its 1-million unit export ambition in 2011, just after separating from its Japanese partner Honda Motor Company Ltd. The joint venture with Honda had prevented the Indian company from entering foreign markets.

While export volumes were less than 3% of Hero MotoCorp’s total annual production in FY2019, its domestic rivals such as Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company exported 40% and 16.5% respectively of their total production last fiscal.

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Colombia are the top five export markets that are expected to drive the five-fold growth, the company said.

Hero MotoCorp currently exports two-wheelers to 40 countries, with Bangladesh as its biggest market, accounting for about 45% of total exports.

Bhargava said while Hero was present mostly in developing markets similar to India, with typically high demand for motorcycles, the export strategy is to expand its existing footprints, rather than adding newer territories, in the near future.

The company entered the Africa markets in FY2016-17, with primary focus on Nigeria, which also is one the biggest export markets for the maker of Pulsar bikes — Bajaj Auto Ltd.

Even as Africa accounts for about 6% of total annual exports for Hero MotoCorp as of now, it is a far bigger export market for both Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company.

“This is why we see a lot of headroom for future growth. Other Indian two-wheeler makers have been present in Africa for more than a decade whereas we have reached those markets only after separating from Honda," said Bhargava.

Besides Nigeria, Hero MotoCorp exports to about 10 African countries currently, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Madagascar.

“We are in a phase where it’s time to roll and penetrate further into these specific markets. Until two years ago, even the African countries were not growing due to oil price crash, which impacted their economies. We are now progressively introducing new products in these markets," he added.

The company has also taken a conscious decision of not venturing into south East Asian markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and others, primarily to avoid stiff competition from its Japanese counterparts. Brazil is another similar country, which is not on the export radar of Hero MotoCorp.

“We are not looking at the South East Asian markets for many reasons. These are mature two-wheeler markets where Honda and Yamaha together command a market share of 90%. Also, these markets have declined in the recent past. These are entry barriers," the company said.

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