EVs by Hero MotoCorp will stick to family pact

Hero MotoCorp may have got a favourable ruling from the arbitration tribunal allowing it to use the Hero brand for its electric two-wheelers, but the company will stick to the 2010 family settlement and not brand its products beginning with the Hero tag.

Industry sources said that the company, which is the market leader in terms of unit sales in internal combustion engine (ICE) two-wheelers, will stick to the brand name ‘Vida – powered by Hero MotoCorp’ for its EV to be launched during the festive season this year.

This style of naming its EV products will be in line with its ICE products which are called Splendor, Xtreme, Passion, etc but have a Hero logo also. However, this approach is different from Hero Electric’s – the firm which challenged Hero MotoCorp’s use of Hero trademark for its EV range – where products are branded as Hero Eddy, Hero Electric Photon etc.

As is known, Hero MotoCorp made a disclosure to the stock exchanges on June 30 that the arbitration tribunal has ruled that the company can use the Hero brand for selling its EVs.

Hero MotoCorp is led by Pawan Munjal, while Hero Electric, which is the largest two-wheeler player in the EV segment, is led by his nephew Naveen Munjal.

Hero Electric had sought an injunction against Hero MotoCorp using the brand Hero for its EVs. According to the regulatory filing, the arbitration tribunal emphasised on the investments to the tune of `400 crore made by Hero MotoCorp on the business of EVs and expenses of almost `7,000 crore on brand building of Hero in the past 10 years.“The arbitration tribunal has found the case of Hero Electric unmerited in the interim. The tribunal would now conclude the matter after final consideration of the case,” Hero MotoCorp said.

Hero Electric declined to comment on whether it plans to challenge the ruling of the arbitration tribunal in the Delhi high court.

Naveen Munjal of Hero Electric has been engaged in a legal battle with his uncle Pawan Munjal for long maintaining that his family has exclusive ownership rights of the brand Hero for electric two wheelers.

Hero MotoCorp on its part has maintained that the family agreement gives the right to the Naveen Munjal firm to exclusively use the brand Hero Electric, but there’s no such exclusivity to the brand Hero. What this means is that Hero MotoCorp can use the brand Hero with some other suffix for its EVs.  In February, the Delhi high court had refused to restrain Hero MotoCorp from using the Hero brand for their line of EVs on a plea by Naveen of Hero Electric under a 2010 family settlement. The court had instead set up a three-member arbitral tribunal comprising retired judges Justice Indu Malhotra, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Indermeet Kaur to adjudicate the matter. Subsequently in March, the Supreme Court also refused to interfere with the ruling of the Delhi HC and said that the tribunal will decide the matter.  On June 1, Hero MotoCorp had said it is pushing  the launch of its EV, Vida, from July to the festive season due to supply chain issues linked to the chip shortage. The company had pushed the launch for the second time as it had first planned to launch the same in March.

“The ongoing geopolitical situation has resulted in enormous supply chain issues and shortage of various components, including semiconductors. Keeping customers as the top-most priority, we, therefore, feel it would be prudent to unveil the first EV product around the upcoming festive period instead of July as earlier announced. We are accordingly gearing up for the launch of Vida – powered by Hero – in the festive season,” Swadesh Srivastava, head of emerging mobility business unit (EMBU), Hero MotoCorp had said.As per the 2010 family agreement, Hero group patriarch Brijmohan Lall Munjal’s family got control of flagship firm Hero MotoCorp and Hero Corporate Services among others. Hero Cycles, Hero Motors and Munjal Sales Corporation went to his brother Om Prakash Munjal, whose son Pankaj Munjal is currently the chairman of Hero Cycles. Satyanand Munjal’s family owns Munjal Showa, Munjal Auto and other related businesses, while Dayanand Munjal is the owner of Hero Exports, Hero Electric and Sunbeam Auto. Naveen, managing director of Hero Electric, is the grandson of Dayanand Munjal.

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