Harley-Davidson plans to enter the world’s second-largest motorcycle market, a market that has been dominated by lower-displacement models.
Harley-Davidson says it will begin selling bikes in India in 2010 and has already begun discussions with potential dealers there.
“India is important to our long-term vision of being a truly global company,” Harley-Davidson Inc. President and CEO Keith Wandell said in a press release. “We are committed to India for the long term, and we are focused right now on establishing a strong foundation.”
India’s motorcycle sales are dominated by small, inexpensive bikes used as basic transportation. However, Harley-Davidson believes India’s growing economy, rising middle class and significant investment in construction of new highways have opened the door to leisure motorcycle riding.
“Given the rapid development of India’s economy and physical infrastructure, this is exactly the right time to bring the world’s greatest motorcycles to one of the world’s largest motorcycling nations,” Harley-Davidson Motor Company President Matthew Levatich said. “Our unique brand, distinctive motorcycles and strong experience in the leisure motorcycle market make us naturally suited to help lead and define the next era of motorcycling in India.”
The company initially will focus on growing the Harley-Davidson brand in India through a variety of consumer experiences and on establishing a local dealer network. The Harley-Davidson subsidiary in India will be led by Managing Director Anoop Prakash, who said the company has begun identifying initial dealers in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Punjab State.
“As a key next step, we are looking for local dealer partners who share our passion and commitment to building customer relationships, the Harley-Davidson brand and our business in India for the long term,” said Prakash.
Levatich, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company president, is an invited speaker at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers annual convention on Aug. 28, and will provide further details on the company’s plans then.
“As India continues to extend its global reach, so does Harley-Davidson,” said Levatich. “We believe Harley-Davidson has outstanding opportunities for continued growth around the world.”
The company’s current approach is to import its motorcycles, accessories and riding gear, and it will continue to evaluate how best to evolve its approach to the market as Harley-Davidson’s business in India grows. psb
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