The Harley Davidson Street 500 and Street 750 bikes are a huge strategic move from Harley Davidson. They are aimed at breaking into the lightweight bike segment at home in the USA, and are also aimed at making inroads to international markets like India and Europe.
In the USA, Harley Davidson has enjoyed a 55% market share of the heavyweight bike market. Now it is looking to compete in the lightweight bike market, which it hasn't been a part of since 1974 when the 350cc Sprint was discontinued. The Street 500 and Street 750 bikes will aim to steal market share away from big names like Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda.
HD wanted to improve its international retail sales to 40% of its total sales by 2014, but the weakness in the European market prompted HD to rethink this. The Street 500 and Street 750 bikes should help European sales though. Both bikes are more affordable, and therefore, more likely to sell in Europe.
It really seems like the new HD Street bikes were built for the Indian market though. It makes sense why HD would want a piece of the Indian market -- it is the second largest motorcycle market in the world. First off, the bikes will be built in India (as well as Missouri.) This should reduce labor costs, which is necessary since the profit margin on these cheaper bikes is less than HD is used to with its larger bikes. Lightweight bikes tend to sell better in India, and beyond that, the HD Street bikes have higher ground clearance, narrower chassis, and new suspension. All of these things should suit the stop-and-go traffic of India nicely.
It really seems like Harley Davidson has built bikes that will help them achieve their goals in multiple different markets. Do you guys see these bikes doing everything they are supposed to across these different markets?