Harley Davidson plans for its manufacturing plant in India

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A new biking era is all set to begin in India as the most coveted and elite biking brand, Harley Davidson has announced its plan to open a manufacturing unit in the country. The ace bike-maker’s slogan, ‘The road starts here, it never ends’ is a fitting statement to define the American company’s plans for India. The company has been selling assembled motorcycles successfully in the country since last few years. However, now it feels that it is suitable to set up a factory to make its expensive bikes more affordable for the customers by localizing the production.

In the last FY, the American bike manufacturer sold around 716 motorcycles and 100 units every month on an average. However, the new entrants in the Indian market like BMW, Kawasaki, KTM and Hyosung are posing stiff competition to the company as of now. These bikes being priced lower than Harley-Davidson products have been stealing the volumes in the entry-level super bike segment.

As per the officials of the bike manufacturer, a team has been dispatched by the company to test the grounds and select a perfect location for the company to set up its factory in the country. One of the officials stated that, “These initiatives are at a very early stage. The new plant has been planned as the Indian market has shown explosive growth in super bikes in the past few years, albeit on a comparatively smaller base.”

The company already has a Completely Knocked Down (CKD) unit assembly plant located in Bawal, Haryana at a distance of 100 km from the national capital. This makes India the second country after Brazil to house a CKD assembly plant of Harley Davidson where the kits sourced from US of A are put together. This plant has enabled the company to hedge the import taxes and slash the price of its models in the country by around 20-25 per cent in the year 2011. In India, the company’s super bike range start at Rs. 5.60 lac for basic models and goes as high as Rs. 33.45 lacs for its Ultra Classic Electra Glide range.

Presently, to challenge the Japanese and European companies with plans to open factories in India, Harley is aiming at cent per cent localization of its entry-level motorcycles. This new manufacturing facility will assist the American brand to extend its brand-presence in the Indian market, which incidentally is the world’s second-largest motorcycle market.

However, an Indian official of the company, Sanjay Tripathi, Managing Director, denied saying, “We currently do not have plans to set up another plant in India. As part of its global growth strategy, Harley-Davidson is highly focused on the ramp-up of CKD operations in India as it allows us to improve our market responsiveness and production flexibility while reducing the tariff burden.”

But I do and so do million other fans of the brand, who practically lust for the Harley Davidson badge, sincerely hope and pray that the plan materialise and we can bring home one of the super bikes. Amen!

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