Harley-Davidson vrooms ahead in Indian luxe mkt

Harley-Davidson vrooms ahead in Indian luxe mkt

Indian superbike industry is growing 80-100% annually

Harley-Davidson vrooms ahead in Indian luxe mkt

American cult heavyweight motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson has kick-started an ambitious growth and expansion strategy in the luxury two-wheeler market in the country.

Over 8,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles run on Indian roads today, since the company opened its first dealership in the country in 2010. The success of the brand in the Indian market has encouraged the bike-maker to plan more dealerships across the country.

“The company will continue growing its dealer network and partnerships across the country in the coming year with a focus on expanding its presence in Tier-I cities and foraying into newer Tier-II cities,” Harley-Davidson India Managing Director Anoop Prakash said.

The company opened a dealership in Surat and second dealerships in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, recently. As part of expansion this year, new dealerships will come up in Lucknow, Guwahati, Coimbatore, Kozhikode, and Nagpur.

 “We select our new markets based on where we have a critical mass of Harley owners developing, and where we believe there is high-potential for a leisure motorcycling culture to grow,” Prakash said.

Bengaluru, for instance, has considerable demand for Harley-Davidson bikes, which led to the opening up of a second sales outlet. According to Tusker Harley-Davidson and Goa Harley-Davidson Dealer Principal Srinivas Reddy, “We recently expanded our presence in Bengaluru by opening our second sales outlet at Indiranagar in addition to our showroom on Lavelle Road. The expansion is aimed at providing our customers greater accessibility to the Harley-Davidson brand.”

Leader in niche segment
Harley-Davidson bikes, which have enthralled enthusiasts across the globe, roared onto Indian roads in 2009, and quickly grew to become a marquee brand here.

 “We have been the market leader in the heavyweight motorcycle segment in India, since we commenced operations here in 2009. We continue to experience high double-digit growth and unparalleled enthusiasm for the brand,” Prakash claimed, not revealing any details.

Understanding the uniqueness of the price-sensitive, yet passionate, Indian market, Harley-Davidson has rolled out a diverse product portfolio, suiting myriad aspirations, apart from a strong promotion strategy.

Harley-Davidson offers a range of 13 models in India from each of its seven global platforms — Street, Sportster, Dyna, Softail, V-Rod, Touring, and CVO. The line-up starts with the Street 750, priced at 4.32 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and goes up to the CVO which retails at Rs. 49.23 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

 “Each of the seven Harley-Davidson motorcycle platforms boasts of a distinct character and caters to the varied sensibilities of a broad range of customers,” Prakash said.

In 2011, Harley-Davidson began CKD (completely knocked down) assembly with its Sportster line-up followed by the Dyna in 2012, and then the Softail in 2013. “In 2014, the global launch of the Harley-Davidson Street 750, which is built at Bawal, Haryana, and Kansas City, USA, helped drive even greater accessibility for our lifestyle products,” Prakash added.

“Motorcycling has been a long-standing passion for Indian motorists, and while, the market has predominantly been defined by commuting and transportation, enthusiasts are now rediscovering motorcycling for leisure,” Prakash said. “We constantly focus on developing a strong leisure motorcycling culture."   

India an export hub
The success of the company in India prompted turning the country into an export hub. “We currently export the Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Street 500 motorcycles from India. The Street 750 and Street 500 motorcycles are built in our production facilities at Kansas City and Bawal,” Prakash said. The products are exported to Italy, Spain and Portugal from India. 

 The superbike industry in India is growing phenomenally at around 80-100 per cent year-on-year, thanks to a spurt in income, aspiration and awareness, especially among urban folk. This has prompted many motorcycle makers to sell their brands here, but Harley-Davidson remains optimistic.

“The premium motorcycle market in India has been rapidly growing over the last few years and we see continued growth potential here. With more players coming in, it is a positive sign that the market is growing and customers will have more choice,” Prakash concluded.

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