While all the other automotive manufacturers have trodden down the path to recovery, things aren’t looking good for Harley-Davidson India. Although it has announced its partnership with Indian two-wheeler giant Hero MotoCorp, things are far from normal like they were before. Harley-Davidson owners are considered to be one of the core elements for the iconic American brand. HOGs are renowned worldwide for their brotherhood and now in India, the brotherhood has stood up against the manufacturer itself. What used to be a perfect love story is now becoming a little toxic.
This Sunday, Harley-Davidson owners’ group conducted protest rallies called ‘Dark Rides’ in as many as 14 cities in the country. These rides were organized against the decision of the American motorcycle company to pull out of India.
Sunday’s protest rides were held in Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Lucknow, Delhi, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Indore, Bhopal, Raipur, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai and Guwahati. Another reason why Harley owners assembled for a ride is to show support to Harley-Davidson dealers who say they have been left in the dark regarding H-D’s decision to leave India. When Harley-Davidson announced that the iconic American brand is stepping out of India, the dealers weren’t informed and are still facing an uncertain future. The dealers recently assembled at a press conference organized by FADA and had a lot to say about the parent company.
The company dealers claimed that they were kept in the dark regarding the company’s future plans and the news struck a huge blow as Harley-Davidson never officially informed its dealer body about its India exit. The dealers added that they have received a ‘very minor compensation’ from the American motorcycle making brand which are completely inadequate. The company has backed out completely from providing any compensation to a dealer in case it transitions into a Hero dealer in future, say Harley-Davidson dealers.
Talking about the compensation on offer, the brand has reportedly announced a compensation package of ₹1,500 per sq. ft. with a 10% annual value-depreciated rate and a 6-month reimbursement of the margins of sale. “The support package given by the company is not equal to the loss suffered by us since August’20 after the lockdown was lifted and till Hero comes on board which will be at least another 6 months,” said an affected Harley-Davidson dealer.
The latest development regarding this suggests that a number of dealers have hired leading Indian law firm AZB & Partners to review their paperwork with Harley-Davidson and suggest if there is a legal remedy. The US company in September said it would discontinue its sales and manufacturing operations in India after a decade of struggling to gain a foothold. A month later it entered a distribution deal with India’s Hero MotoCorp which will also develop motorcycles to be sold under the Harley-Davidson brand.
Company’s official statement
A couple of days back, the parent company tried to calm down the heat by giving an official statement, stating “As we change our business model in India, we are pleased to be continuing our journey in the country together with Hero MotoCorp. We are working closely with Hero to ensure a smooth transition for our riders. We are providing our riders with updates as available and have assured them that Harley-Davidson motorcycle, parts, and accessories, and general merchandise sales, as well as after-sale services, warranty, and H.O.G. activities, will continue from January 2021 onwards.”