Hero MotoCorp: Green Initiative

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

We all should know by now how vast the Indian motorcycle market is and the mind-boggling numbers of motorcycles that are sold there every year. In 2011, total motorcycle sales were in the region of 11 million. By 2019, that had risen to 21 million sales. To date in 2021, the number is sitting at 15 million. Whichever way you cut it, those are massive numbers and it’s no wonder that companies such as Hero sell more motorcycles every year than almost every other motorcycle manufacturer in the world combined (leaving out the Chinese, perhaps).

Being India, there is a great temptation to assume that the factories producing these motorcycles are relics of a century ago: dark, dirty and relying solely on manual labour, with no automation whatsoever.

Image source: Hero India

Well, it’s time to reassess that assumption, as these two videos show. They profile two of Hero’s factories – Neemrana and Vadodara – and they make any other motorcycle manufacturing plant you care to mention look positively last-century.

Hero Motocorp Neemrana

Hero Motocorp Vadodara

The level of automation is one thing but it is the ecological aspect that really catches the eye. Huge efforts are made to offset carbon emissions, harvest sunlight, recycle water and provide working conditions beyond anything we’ve seen in western factories. They grow food to support the workers and their families and appear to take the welfare of their staff very seriously indeed. And they do all this while producing a motorcycle every two seconds (in the case of the Neemrana factory. That slows to one every 18 seconds at Vadodara).

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

We should have guessed that such production levels weren’t achieved without significant investment in automation but it is the non-production line aspects of the factories that really surprise. They show that it is time we changed our perceptions of the motorcycle industry in India and maybe start learning lessons from them.

For more information on Hero visit: www.heromotorcycles.co.za

Harry has been obsessing about motorbikes for over 45 years, riding them for 38 years and writing and talking about them for 13 years. In that time, he has ridden everything from an Aprilia to a Zundapp, from the 1920s to the 2020s. His favourites are the ones that didn’t break down and leave him stranded. While he loves the convenience of modern bikes, he likes nothing better than getting his hands dirty keeping old bikes running, just as long as it’s not by the roadside! Old enough to know better and young enough not to care, he knows you don’t stop riding when you get old, you get old when you stop riding.