Harley Davidson wants to spread its wings in India’s North East

Luxury marques usually avoid the North Eastern part of India citing low demand as the biggest reason. So, moneyed folks from the 7 states that comprise India’s North Eastern frontier usually head to Kolkata for their big luxury automotive purchases. In a first of sorts, a luxury label is seriously considering a dealership in the North East of India. American lifestyle motorcycle giant Harley Davidson is said to be mulling a dealership in one of the seven North Eastern states of India. For this to happen though, Harley Davidson is looking for volumes to build from North Eastern states of India.

Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 883

2013 Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 883

Currently, Harley Davidson has 9 dealerships across the country and four more will be inaugurated by the end of 2013. Indore, Pune, Goa and Jaipur are the locations for the new Harley Davidson dealerships. The American motorcycle giant is bullish about its plans of setting shop in the smaller cities of India as the demand from these cities is growing steadily. Harley Davidson just reduced the price of its SoftTail range of motorcycles recently by adding these motorcycles to the list of CKD assembly list. Given that Harley Davidson is developing an India-specific motorcycle that’s expected to be priced between INR 3-4 lakhs, the expansion into more Indian cities seems to be  the logical move for the American motorcycle maker.

When Harley Davidson does enter the INR 3-4 lakh lifestyle motorcycle space in India, expect volumes to shoot through the roof as the American motorcycle brand has tremendous brand value in the country. Indian lifestyle motorcycle brand Royal Enfield could have reason to worry once Harley Davidson enters the INR 3-4 lakh rupee space. The costliest Royal Enfield currently sold in India, the Thunderbird 500, sells for under INR 2 lakhs. However, the Harley Davidson brand will be the logical upgrade for many Royal Enfield owners who buy motorcycles for the lifestyle tag.

Globally, motorcycle makers have begun moving down the value chain to target younger buyers from emerging markets across the world. KTM has the Duke 390 lined up for India while Honda has the CBR500 series. British motorcycle brand Triumph is also putting together a 250cc V-Twin motorcycle for emerging markets. In light of these developments, a made-for-India Harley might just be what the doctor ordered as Harley Davidson faces an ageing population in its home market, the United States of America.

Source WSJ

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