Uff! We’ve heard these rumors during the pandemic. Unfortunately, these proved to be true. Harley-Davidson India just issued a statement saying that it is closing its Bawal manufacturing facility. Its office staff in Gurugram too will be downsized. Customers in India will be informed about the company’s decision through appropriate channels. This includes information on future support as well. Based on their contract, the dealers will continue to sell their existing stock as well as serve the customers. This is part of the Harley-Davidson global Rewire program. In short, cost-savings. The US Securities and Commission have been informed about this decision. It is believed that around 100 personnel will lose their jobs. So there is indeed a big chance that Harley-Davidson India might no longer be present in the country for the next few years.
The what, why Harley-Davidson India
The sales volume needed for long term sustenance was absent in the Harley fold. The manufacturer just pushing and looking at vehicles which were XXXL in size and appealed only to a select few can be seen as encumbrances. In that sense, the Livewire which was is a full electric bike which could have a wider appeal made sense. In fact, Harley showed it to the Indian audience but were mum about the launch. The factory shutting down means the production of the Harley-Davidson Street 750 and its derivatives will not happen. It was after all the entry Harley in India and one that was brought the most.
It’s all said and done. However, customers will be provided support. The spare parts as well as service should be there for at least 10 years as is usually the case with any company exiting a country or discontinuing its product. Dealers left with huge inventories might sell them off at a discounted price. If you were eyeing one of those Softails or Low Riders, this is the right time to go ahead and shop. Provided you know what you’re getting and have an independent mechanic to take care of service needs.
Well, a lil birdie tells us that this isn’t the end of Harley-Davidson India. The company was supposed to develop a sub-500cc machine for emerging markets and had partnered with Qianjiang Motorcycle Company Limited. These motorcycles will be sold in the Asian market and might even be exported to other regions of the world. In turn, the Qianjiang group also now owns Benelli.
Harley had pitched to be aligned with Hero MotoCorp. While we heard of jokes about a Harley Passion Pro and Harley Super Splendor, it is likely HMCL might invest in the beleaguered firm. This will allow Hero to have a better penetration in the premium segments where it has been struggling. Harley in the meanwhile will get more leverage with smaller capacity bikes and the marketing shebang.
Either ways, we believe with the lower sales numbers it was hard for Harley to sustain here alone. Maybe the Hero touch will help it if the rumours are to be believed.
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