Harley Davidson has been plotting its plan for success in India for quite a while now. India has a growing professional class that are prime customers for Harley. These occupations include IT professionals, HR heads, doctors, architects, real estate consultants, and bureaucrats. Even film stars are jumping on the Harley Davidson band wagon.
Indian cities with a large British influence have a strong biking culture. It is especially prevalent in Bangalore. Professional, mainly from the IT sector, have had the chance to travel overseas, and they bring back with them a first hand look at the biking culture that is flourishing overseas. Other hotbeds for motorcycle culture are Delhi and Mumbai.
Harley Davidson began expanding its production and assembly operations to India over the past few years. This is the only place that Harley Davidson produces motorcycles outside of the US. India has a steep customs duty on imported motorcycles (75%), but these fees are avoided by assembling bikes locally. The FatBoy, Fat Boy Special, Superlow, Iron 883 and Heritage Softail Classic all got price reductions because of this move.
The Street 750 will start being sold in India this month, and at a price under Rs 5 lakh, it will be the cheapest Harley Davidson on sale in the world. It will be an entry-level bike that aims to allow potential customers to "buy a Harley motorcycle when they want to and not when they can afford to."
Some may be disappointed to hear that the Street 500 will not be sold alongside the Street 750 in India, though it could be brought to the market later. The decision came as a result of a survey of 3,000 customers across 10 countries that found that India had the most demand for the Street 750.
Since 2010, Harley Davidson India has sold 4,000 motorcycles, but the brand expects that number to increase greatly over the next few years as the Indian economy continues to grow. Indeed, Harley isn't the only brand who sees this happening. Brands like Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Triumph are all investing in this growing market as well.