Country's largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp on Monday said it will launch more than a dozen models of motorcycles and scooters between September and March 2014.
This was stated by Hero MotoCorp Managing Director and CEO Pawan Munjal, during the commencement of work at Hero Centre of Global Innovation and Research and Design here which was built with an investment of Rs 450 crore.
Commenting on the new R&D centre, Munjal said: "We are investing Rs 450 crore in the centre at Kukas, with plans to commence operations by first quarter of calender year 2015."
He further said the company is in the process of investing Rs 1,300 crore in three projects in Rajasthan. Apart from the R&D centre, the firm is setting up a manufacturing plant and a global parts centre at Neemrana, both of which will start operations in the first quarter of 2O14.
"We would be providing direct employment to about 3,500 people in these three facilities," Munjal said, adding the current R&D centres at Gurgaon and Daruhera plants would be shifted once the R&D centre here became operational.
He said the Kukas centre will employ 6OO engineers and support staff and the company will hire "the best of global talent to build a truly multi-cultural, multinational set up".
The centre would develop models for both domestic and international markets. Currently, the company is investing 2-3 per cent of of its revenues on R&D.
In June last year, the company had announced a total investment of Rs 2,500 crore to ramp up capacity and R&D prowess, including Rs 400 crore on its fourth plant at Neemrana in Rajasthan and Rs 1,100 crore on fifth plant in Gujarat.
When asked on the festive season sales expectations, Munjal said: "I continue to remain bullish on festival season. Good monsoon has helped in improving the overall sentiment but various other issues like high interest rates still continue to affect the market sentiment."
Hardening its stance against threat of strike by workers at its Gurgaon plant, country's Munjal said the company will not "accept any indiscipline".
Last week, Hero MotoCorp Workers Union (HMCWU) had threatened to go on strike at the Gurgaon plant against 'police action' on some workers, who have been alleged by the management of assaulting supervisors in the shop floor of the plant.
"The issue has come because of indiscipline and insubordination and the workers taking law into their own hands. This is not at