2013 Two-Wheeler Special: Harley-Davidson to ride to smaller cities

The wealth in new India is found also in villages. So, don’t be surprised if you see a villager riding a Harley in your next trip to the hinterland.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 31 Jan 2013 Views icon3700 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
In 2013, Harley- Davidson plans to take its dealership network strength to thirteen. That is four more than its current count of dealerships. And the new markets are not the conventional ones. Indore and Goa usually do not figure in the list of places where big brands set up dealerships in. But given the growing aspirations and wealth in such places, Indore, Goa, Jaipur and Pune will see Harley- Davidson outlets this year.

The wealth in new India is found also in villages. So, don’t be surprised if you see a villager riding a Harley in your next trip to the hinterland. “Harley enthusiasts hail from all corners of the country, be it small towns, urban centres or villages,” says Anoop Prakash, managing director of Harley-Davidson India, in an e-mail response. “We are also seeing increasing demand from Punjab, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad which definitely are emerging markets for us,” adds Prakash.

Harley-Davidson’s confidence may be built on the prospects in India for automobile OEMs across the spectrum and the base of over 2,000-odd customers it has built over the last three years. Not a big number in the context of the Indian motorcycle industry, but it becomes a significant one when you consider the brand’s entry level price of over Rs 6 lakh. In calendar year 2012, the company sold 1,101 units, a 193 percent growth over the 375 units sold in 2011.

Ramp up in the offing

Of the models on sale in India, six (Forty-Eight, Iron883, Super Low, FXDB Street Bob, FXDC Super Glide Custom, Fat Bob) are assembled in the bike maker’s assembly plant in Bawal, Haryana. The company plans to ramp up assembly operations to attract more customers.

Harley-Davidson undoubtedly enjoys strong brand equity but its dealers play a crucial role in leveraging that equity into business for the brand. “We honestly believe our success in India in many ways has been shaped by the degree to which our dealer network has been able to connect with our customers and build upon our core brand values in ways that are meaningful and relevant to that market,” says Prakash.

Activities involving its target audience are also relevant for Harley-Davidson. That’s a reason why the brand has joined hands with the India Bike Week in Goa as its Gold sponsor. “India Bike Week is one of many initiatives we have undertaken to support the development and growth of leisure riding across India since 2009. Motorcycling in India is rapidly changing and India Bike Week is just the beginning,” says Prakash.

With the onset of premium brands, and a few more to come, there’s a new chapter being written for motorcycling in India.

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