One of the world’s biggest manufacturers, India’s Hero Cycles, is to open a Global Design Centre in Manchester as it targets growth in the European market.
The company claims to make more bicycles each year than any other business – an achievement that has been recognised by Guinness World Records – although some put Taiwan’s Giant in first place now following its expansion in recent years.
Nevertheless, Hero Cycles sells well over 5 million bicycles a year – mostly domestically, but also to international markets including African countries – and is now targeting growth in Europe.
At a press conference earlier this week, Hero Cycle’s chairman and managing director Pankaj Munjal revealed the company had chosen Manchester as the base for its new facility in part because the city is home to Great Britain’s National Cycling Centre.
“We are setting on course for a major innovation and designing revolution at Hero Cycles by harnessing some of the best minds in the field through this Global Design Centre,” said Mr Munjal, quoted on thehindubusinessonline.com.
“Our team of designers will work relentlessly to improve technology, designs and quality of bicycles in all sorts of categories from mass consumption bikes to sports and luxury bikes.”
The centre, due to open in the first quarter of 2017, will have 25 staff who will be involved in the design, development and testing of road, mountain and e-bikes, with models then going into production at the company’s factories in India and Sri Lanka.
“We have already hired a few extremely renowned design experts from various nationalities to set the ball rolling at the centre,” Mr Munjal added.
“The designers have an experience of over 25 years in the field and promise to bring a deep understanding of design innovation with them.”
Founded in 1956 by four brothers who had set up a bicycle parts business a decade earlier, the Punjab-based company is still owned by the Munjal family.
The company already has links to Manchester. Last year, it bought a majority stake in the distributor Avocet Sports, supplier of bikes, parts and accessories to retailers including Tesco and Halfords.
At the time, Avocet’s chairman Steven Walsh said: "I am very excited to become a part of the world's largest bicycles company Hero Cycles. We are proud to become the first acquisition for Hero outside of India.
Mr Munjal said of the deal: "This acquisition marks our entry into the European market and plays an important role in realising our ambition of becoming one of its key players.”
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