The design of the Karizma twins has been dismissed as downright unappealing and has been solely the reason for the poor sales of the flagship Hero bike.
The Hero (then Hero Honda) Karizma was always a decent performer with a rather fun design that managed to please everyone with its half-fairing and bulky proportions. When Hero launched the full-faired Karizma ZMR, the bike was still accepted by the masses and did well on the sales front continuing its success streak as the company’s flagship offering. But then something called as EBR happened to Hero MotoCorp that reimagined the Karizma a tad bit too radically, making Hero pay heavily for it.
The result of Hero’s collaboration with EBR was the Karizma R and ZMR facelift that made its debut in late 2013 and almost immediately received flak for its oddball design. The response was also apparent on the sales figures of the new Karizma twins which dropped almost immediately despite the fresh design, double headlights, LED DRL like parking lights and a slight bump in power. In fact, sales were so low that Hero had to stop production abruptly in late November 2014 in order to avoid piling up inventory at the dealers. Production since then has been restricted owing to the limited sales of the flagship offering.
To give you perspective, during the period of February 2015, the Karizma R and ZMR twins cumulatively sold 421 units in the country, a whopping 67 percent drop in sales compared to the 1283 units sold in February 2014. Bajaj in the same period sold 5525 units of the Pulsar 220F that the Karizma fiercely competes against. This despite the fact that the 220F gets no major design changes and only received slight upgrades to the mechanicals over the past years. The numbers have been similar for other months as well but Hero still manages to sell in triple digits although dispatches from the factory are under 50 units in the past few months.
Clearly, Hero MotoCorp has made a major goof up with its legendary product that worked hard to make a brand name for itself over the past decade. We expect the Karizma’s sales to be cannibalised further with the new Pulsar 200 AS launched that serves as a much better looking and a well-equipped alternative to the Hero. With EBR out of business, the Indian two-wheeler giant might want to go back to the drawing board to revive the Karizma with a new design that compliments the bike more effectively.