Driving on Hero MotoCorp, majestic Harley makes India comeback

Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27

The US motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson makes a comeback in India, after discontinuing sales and production operations in September. The New Delhi-based legendary Hero MotoCorp, world’s largest maker of motorcycles and scooters in terms of unit volumes, today announced that the two will ride together in India.

The agreement comes against the backdrop of Harley announcing its business overhaul under “The Rewire” plan in September to change its working model in India.

“Hero MotoCorp will sell and service Harley-Davidson motorcycles. It will sell parts and accessories and general merchandise riding gear and apparel through a network of Harley-Davidson dealers and Hero’s existing dealership network in India,” Hero MotoCorp said in a regulatory filing today.

According to industry sources, Harley’s around 30 existing dealerships will also come under the Hero MotoCorp fold. Also, as part of a licensing agreement, Hero MotoCorp will develop and sell a range of premium motorcycles under the Harley-Davidson brand name.

Hero typically sells motorcycles with engine capacities of around 200 cc and a deal with Harley will help speed up its entry into the mid and high engine segments, which are most sought after by bike enthusiasts. Hero MotoCorp sold around 6.4 million two-wheeler scooters and motorcycles in 2019-20, while Harley sold around 2,470 motorcycles during that period, largely assembled from imported knock-down kits at its plant near New Delhi.

Harley, known for its heavy touring motorcycles, struggled in India mainly because of high import duties. After 11 years of operations in India, Harley announced in September it was discontinuing sales and production operations in India as part of a global restructuring plan.

Market for premium bikes

  • Nearly 20,000 bikes costing above Rs 3 lakh are sold in the country every year
  • Northern region, including Delhi, UP, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, HP and J&K, contributes 25-30% to total sales

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