Hero MotoCorp to Launch Leap Hybrid Scooter in 2015
Hero's HX250R sportsbike will reach Indian shores this November.heromotocorp.com

Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest two-wheeler maker, has appointed top automobile designer Markus Braunsperger as the head of the company's research and development (R&D) unit.

Braunsperger, who was previously heading the R&D unit of German auto-maker BMW and the company's Motorcycle division, Motorrad, will take over the charge as Hero MotoCorp's R&D head in October.

"He is the first expat appointed to head a division at Hero MotoCorp, and will spearhead the firm's future product development initiatives," Hindustan Times quoted an official.

Hero has been working to strengthen its R&D division since 2010, after it parted ways with its long time partner Honda Motor Corp. Last year, the company had appointed Markus Feichtner as the head of company's engine design & development. Before being appointed as the head of Hero engine design, Feichtner was the executive director at AVL's India technical centre at Gurgaon.

In choosing Braunsperger, the head of Hero's R&D division, the company's aim of having a multi-national set-up seems to have been achieved and the move also announces the Hero's plan to intensify its focus on new designs and technology. It looks like Braunsperger is a safe pick for Hero, since he has been a key player in making BMW's 5, 6, 7 series sedans as well as  X3, X5 and X7 SUVs. Besides, he was also associated with BMW's Motorrad bikes.

At Hero, Braunsperger will have an uphill task in coordinating all the alliances of Hero including Erik Buell Racing (EBR) in which the company has 49.2 stakes and a team of 500 engineers at the Hero's R&D Unit. The company, which plans to have 20 manufacturing capacity across the globe by the end of 2020 is likely to commence its operations at its new R&D Centre at Kukas near Jaipur by next fiscal year.

In India, Hero will be launching India's first hybrid scooter, Leap, next year. Leap would pack a petrol engine and an electric motor, powered by lithium ion batteries under the hood. The battery can be charged using a wall outlet, in case of unavailability of the wall unit; the scooter can draw power from 124 cc petrol engine, which can generate 11 bhp power.