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Wednesday, Aug 18, 2004

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`Aprilia may pick up stake in Hero Motors'

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Aug. 17

THE collaboration between Hero Motors and Aprilia of Italy for manufacture of scooterettes and scooters may eventually end up with the Italian company acquiring an equity stake in the Indian company.

According to Mr Cyriac K. Jacob, Vice-President, Marketing, Hero Motors, the decision to collaborate with Aprilia has already been taken.

"We are open to their equity participation in our company," he said at a press conference held here on Tuesday to announce the launch of the Hero Sting and the Hero Smart DX four-stroke "step-thru" bikes.

Mr Jacob said the scooterettes and scooters would be launched under the Hero Aprilia brand name. While the scooterettes would be launched in the first half of 2005, the scooters would be launched in the later part of next year.

According to him, Hero Motors had manufactured 500 cc engines that could be used, among others, in adventure sports equipment made by Bombardier of Austria. These engines have been manufactured as per specifications of the Austrian company and they have been sent for testing and approval. If approved, Hero Motors would export such machines to Austria.

Mr Jacob said the 92 cc Hero Sting and the 75 cc Hero Smart DX utilitarian bikes were targeted at customers who are required to travel or transport goods for short distances every day. These bikes have been designed and styled by Hero Global Design, the design and styling company of the Hero Group. Both the bikes were affordable and fuel-efficient. While the Hero Sting is priced at Rs 25,000, the Hero Smart DX would be available for Rs 23,000. The company hopes to sell 1,000 units of the Hero Smart and 500-1,000 units of the Hero Sting every month to begin with, according to Mr Jacob.

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