The news is out and it’s now official that an American legend and a household Indian name have come together to forge a new partnership. Embarking on a new journey together, Harley-Davidson and Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest maker of motorcycles and scooters in terms of unit volumes, today announced that the two will ride together in India.
Per a distribution agreement, Hero MotoCorp will sell and service Harley-Davidson motorcycles and sell Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise riding gear and apparel through a network of brand-exclusive Harley-Davidson dealers and Hero’s existing dealership network in India. What’s interesting is that as part of a licensing agreement, Hero MotoCorp will develop and sell a range of premium motorcycles under the Harley-Davidson brand name.
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These actions are aligned with Harley-Davidson’s business overhaul, The Rewire, and the company’s announcement in September to change its business model in India. This arrangement is mutually beneficial for both companies and riders in India, as it brings together the iconic Harley-Davidson brand with the strong distribution network and customer service of Hero MotoCorp.
Prior to this, Harley-Davidson had officially announced that it has shut down manufacturing and sales operations in India as part of its restructuring exercise under ‘The Rewire’ programme. This was a result of a poor sales record which got further fuelled by the pandemic. Harley-Davidson India sold less than 2,500 units in the last financial year, making it one of its worst-performing international markets. The last quarter saw a year-on-year dip in retail sales of 27 per cent, the worst-ever in the past six years.
The American brand is immensely popular among motorcyclists in India and most of the maker’s bikes evoke strong emotions and continue to be dream machines for many. With this new partnership, existing Harley owners will be able to ride their machines worry-free while new potential buyers can continue to browse through brochures. The new premium motorcycles which will be developed as a part of this agreement will most probably be small to mid-capacity motorcycles and should be built in India, giving Harley the edge in terms of development and manufacturing costs. We’ll be back with more details about this partnership soon. Stay tuned!