The gaining popularity of electric vehicles in India has brought out a lot of competition in the market. Although this mobility shift has now also become a reason for a huge clash between two of the biggest two-wheeler manufacturers of the country. Vijay Munjal, along with his son Naveen Munjal who own the biggest electric two-wheeler brand in India, Hero Electric are now taking their cousin Pawan Munjal, CMD of two-wheeler market leader Hero MotoCorp to the Delhi High Court.
The reason behind this feud between the extended Munjal cousins can be attributed to the rise in the demand for electric vehicles. The owners of Hero Electric are taking their cousin Pawan Munjal to court in an attempt to seek an injunction against Hero Motocorp using the ‘Hero’ brand name for the upcoming launch of the latter’s electric scooter.
Back in 2010, when the Munjal cousins parted their ways, the father-son duo of Vijay and Naveen Munjal was handed the ownership of Hero Electric under the settlement. In addition, they also got the rights to sell electric vehicles under the brand name Hero. However, at the time electric mobility wasn’t as sought-after as it is today, so branding was never seen as a huge issue, but as the demand for EVs is booming and Hero Motorcorp is gearing to enter this segment. Hero Electric owners now want the brand name of Hero in the EV segment exclusively.
Another reason for EV manufacturer Hero Electric to take this matter to court is that over the years the company has worked very hard to increase its portfolio and line of products. So in an attempt to protect their brand image and ensure that their brand does not lose its identity by being assumed as the sub-brand of Hero Motorcorp, the owners are taking the matter to legal authorities.
As it stands, it is likely that the case will be favoured on the side of Hero Electric as they already have the rights to sell electric scooters under the brand name Hero. So if this happens then Hero Motorcorp will have to launch their EV products under a different brand name. In addition, there have been reports that Hero Motorcorp has already filed for a new brand name of “Vida” to use for their electric vehicles.
Sources that are close to the matter have stated that “Now that EVs are red hot, suddenly the use of the Hero name has become a brand issue,” They also added, “At the end of the day, the core brand is Hero and not Hero Electric so products from competing companies will face a challenge.” However, neither Naveen Munjal from Hero Electric nor any spokesperson from Hero Motorcorp has directly commented on the matter and there has been no exchange of words amongst the tangled parties outside the court either.
Both Hero Motorcorp and Hero Electric are the biggest manufacturers of two-wheelers in their respective segments. With both having market shares of 34.5 percent and 36 percent respectively.