Only recently we told you about the new 500 and 750cc motorcycles soon to be introduced by Harley-Davidson in India. Now, we have news about the American bikemaker planning to foray into the 250-300cc segment as well. We shudder even imagining a Harley with that puny an engine though.
While the Street 500 motorcycles estimated to start at Rs 4.5 lakh may help H-D make deeper inroads into the Indian market, it seems like they are keen to produce even smaller, more economical, volumes churning machines. According to Financial Times, with the competition getting more and more cut throat in the premium segment, H-D is looking at developing bikes in the 250-300cc segment. The motorcycles will be produced with a very high level of localization to keep the cost low, making them more accessible to the mainstream buyer.
According to Economic Times, two individuals very close to the development of the new (250-300cc) motorcycles said – “It’s an all-new bike from Harley Davidson, being developed with extensive involvement with Indian component makers, using a large percentage of locally sourced parts to control costs. The new bikes are expected to hit the market next year and would help the American bike maker garner some big volumes in the Indian market.”
Now, if that turns out true, then Royal Enfield have every reason to have some creases over its forehead as a manufacturer. ET’s sources go on to declare that the new products would compete with the premium bikes from Bajaj and Hero. While we don’t think that’s ever going to happen, Royal Enfield’s 500 classic and other premium models should definitely be within the crosshairs of the new H-D models.
Images used that of the Harley Davidson Street 750: Only for representative purposes.
Harley Davidson will supposedly source headlamps, tyres, body work, suspension and other parts from local vendors. The design of the new models, and the engine – gearbox tech, however, will be handled by the company all by itself to make sure that the H-D DNA is not adulterated. The price point for these products, which are currently under development, has not been decided yet, according to the sources.
We have our doubts about whether H-D would actually do something of that sort. A brand like H-D which is all about big, bad masculine machines wouldn’t want its brand equity diluted by entering the more accessible and non-exclusive 25-300cc segment. As expected, H-D India MD Anoop Prakash rejected any such possibility. “Harley Davidson has stated that it is not our strategy to develop any market-specific motorcycles,” he said. “We don’t have any in our portfolio today and we have no plans. The company is committed to developing exceptional products that fulfill the dreams of customers worldwide.”
While nothing could be said concretely about the new products as of now, if and when they are released, they will roll out from H-D’s Bawal plant in Haryana. This plant will also see the production of Harley’s Street 500-750cc machines. It’s important that H-D has a strong local base and locally produced products as the competition intensifies. UK-based Triumph Motorcycles which plans to launch its products in India in late November will definitely pose a threat to the American bike maker.
What, according to you would be the price point for a 300cc locally produced Harley Davidson in India? Does it make sense? Would you want to buy one? Do let us know your thoughts and opinions.