Harley Davidson India has revealed that their existing dealer network will be functional
Harley Davidson has announced their official exit from the Indian market. Harley Davidson’s announcement of closing its manufacturing operations in India and reducing the size of its sales office in Gurgaon does not come as a surprise. Recently, the American cruiser brand revealed that it is withdraw from several international markets and focus only on 50 odd highly profitable ones.
Harley Davidson India
With only 2,500 units sold during last financial year, the Indian operations weren’t up to the HQ’s expectations. To make the matter’s worse, the outlook has been strongly affected by the ongoing pandemic situation. So, as a part of Harley Davidson’s ‘Rewire‘ medium-term restructuring strategy, the India operations will be wrapped up. The move will lead to job losses of approximately 70 employees in India.
Harley Davidson operates an assembly plant in Bawal, Haryana which primarily builds Street 750, the brand’s best selling model in the country by far. In addition to India, HD is expected to walk out of several other markets. HD arrived in India about 10 years ago. In all, they have sold about 25k motorcycles in the country till date.
The Rewire strategy
Under the new leadership, Harley Davidson has made a major course correction by scaling back the aggressive expansion plans. The company now aims to focus in attention of handful of core markets and reduce its product portfolio by a good 30%. The scaling back will also affect the new models that were previously announced. For example, the Bronx 975 roadster which was destined to take on popular street fighters like the Triumph Speed Triple, Kawasaki Z900, etc., is now facing uncertainty.
However, a recent spyshot of Harley Davidson 338 which is born out of a platform sharing partnership with China-based Qianjiang Group suggests that the entry-level motorcycle project is progressing as planned. The 338 would have given the new Royal Enfield range a run for its money in India but we guess we will never know.
There were reports that Harley Davidson is scouting for a viable partner in India to promote its upcoming medium displacement offerings. While there is no concrete evidence or announcements related to such a move, rumour mills indicate that Classic Legends (Jawa) and Hero MotoCorp are the leading contenders for a potential JV.
If Harley Davidson can find a suitable partner in India, it could resume its operations with significantly reduced cost structure than before. If not operations, they could atleast offer servicing and spares to their existing customers. We do hope such a plan materializes. The American marque did say that it is “changing its business model in India and evaluating options to continue to serve its customers”.
Harley Davidson joins the ever expanding list of automakers who walked out of India in the recent times. Other brands include GM, SsangYong, Fiat, UM Motorcycles, MAN and Scania.