A little over three years after it first tried to set shop here, the first Harley-Davidson mobikes will be available for order from Tuesday marking the beginning of the legendary Milaukee-based company’s journey in India. The premium touring bikes, which cost in excess of Rs 7 lakh can also be bought through finance with the entry level vehicle attracting an EMI of Rs 12,500 per month for a period of five years.
The company is setting up dealerships in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chandigarh, which will only be operational by June in time for the delivery of the vehicles. The company though, is organising two-day camp in each of these cities where prospective customers can test ride the motorcycles. It has tied up with ICICI to provide financing.
“So far over 1,000 people have evinced interest in owning a Harley-Davidson on our website and we will be calling them by appointment in their nearest city for these camps,” said Sanjay Tripathi, director-marketing, Harley-Davidson Motor Company India. “The dealerships start opening in June, just in time for the first set of bikes to come in from the US. After that any customer can simply walk in to a dealership and test ride a bike.”
The company is launching twelve bikes that represent each of its product families with prices ranging from Rs 6.95 lakh to Rs 35 lakh. Though a lot of companies including Yamaha, Ducati, Honda and Suzuki have launched high-end bikes that cost over Rs 5 lakh, most have launched sportsbikes, while Harleys are genuine cruisers (used for cross country long distance touring).
The Harley story in India has been nothing short of a potboiler. India’s two wheeler emission norms, which is amongst the toughest in the world coupled with high import duties had stalled the entry of the company before the US government stepped in to its help in 2007. The formula worked out popularly called “mangoes for Harley”, enabled Indian mangoes to be exported to US while the former allowed Harley’s bikes on Euro III norms. However, the company still complained about higher taxes and stayed out till last year.