It was 2009, when the world famous American motorcycle manufacturer announced their plans to enter the booming motorcycle industry in India. A year later, they were selling motorcycles in India as CBU (completely built units), which increased the price of Harley Davidson Motorcycles by 150% for Indian buyers in India. But still there were buyers who were interested in paying that kind of a premium. Harley got the hint and a year later, in 2011 opened an assembling unit in Gurgaon, near New Delhi, their second such facility (first in Brazil) in the world outside US.
Harley Davidson motorcycles are now sold in India as CKD (completely knocked down units), which has brought the prices down by about 25%. But still buyers have to pay a premium of more than 100% in taxes, which has not stopped scores of individuals who are buying a Harley every month.
Mr Sanjay Tripathi, Marketing Director, Harley Davidson, India, said, “Harley-Davidson is highly focused on the ramp-up of CKD operations in India as it allows us to improve our market responsiveness and production flexibility while reducing the tariff burden.”
Apart from this, Mr Tripathi cleared the air about ongoing rumors which state that Harley Davidson is looking to setup a manufacturing unit in India. “We currently do not have plans to set up another plant in India,” added Mr Tripathi.
During last fiscal, Harley Davidson sold about 716 bikes in India. Though their sales are improving, the company faces stiff competition from other bike manufacturers such as Kawasaki, BMW and Hyosung who are offering bikes at a more reasonable price. Recently launched Hyosung GT250R is priced at Rs.2.75 lakhs ($4,814) while Kawasaki Ninja and Honda CBR250R are in the same bracket. This makes them more within means of the average Indian cost conscious consumer as compared to Harley’s which range from Rs 5.60 lakhs ($9,799) and go all the way up to Rs 35 lakhs ($61,245).