Iconic motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson of US on Tuesday announced plans to set up an assembly plant in India, only its second outside of the US. It will be operational in Haryana by the first half of next year.
The firm’s decision to anchor itself here instead of China, which as the world’s largest two-wheeler market would have been a more obvious choice, is testimony to the potential it sees for its high-end touring motorcycles in India. HT was the first to report (in February 2009) that the firm is looking to not only sell but also assemble its motorcycles in India. Brazil is the only other country where it has CKD (completely knocked down) operations.
Local assembly operations will enable the company to reach out to a bigger chunk of consumers as its bikes would become cheaper. A completely built unit attracts a 100% import duty, doubling its price. Components however attract only 40% duties. The Harley range in India costs between R6.95-34.95 lakh.
"We are very bullish and confident about our prospects in India. The overwhelming response we have received from the market since July compelled us to take this decision,” said Anoop Prakash, managing director, Harley Davidson India. “We will sell around 200-250 units by December, which makes us the market leader in the premium motorcycle segment in the country.”
The firm would announce its new 2011 range of bikes in January, including the ones it would make in India. The latter are expected to become much cheaper.
“CKD assembly operations are a natural next step as we increase our ability to meet the needs of India's consumers," said Matthew S Levatich, president and chief operating office, Harley Davidson Motor Company.