Harley Davidson is an American motorcycle manufacturer with renowned popularity among the automobile enthusiasts. They began their sales and production plant in India in 2011, but had always faced struggle in sales competing with cost efficient motorbikes here.
India is a heavy nation in its population, but the economic strata is mostly middle class and thus a low margin market. The cheapest Harley Davidson bike is Street 750 which itself costs a little over 4 lakhs. Their sales average was under 3000 units every year. Yesterday the brand officially announced the decision to shut down sales and manufacturing units in India as a part of their global restructuring plan. The high tax system, inability to compete with popular selling brands, dropped market share and mounting losses could be the reasons behind this decision.
The brand mostly produced cruiser bikes, the suspension and chassis was not tuned for Indian potholes. The crazy admirers of the bike did not turn out to be its buyers. India being the world’s largest motorbike market, its sad Harley-Davidson didn’t employ proper strategic plans and models to cover Indian consumers.
This is a big blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheme of encouraging domestic manufacturing. Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized India for high tariffs and labelled the nation as ‘Tariff King’. Thus people are also speculating that this shutdown may be used by the US as an intimation to further revise India’s tariffs on foreign trade goods.