Harley-Davidson is already considered an iconic motorcycle brand whose design and distinct engine rumble can easily be recognized by any motorcycle rider. However, having legendary status still doesn’t mean you’ll sell bikes like hotcakes — at least not in India. The American motorcycle brand from Wisconsin has only been operating for less than ten years in the Indian market and now, its future in one of the world’s biggest motorcycle markets is already uncertain.
Almost two weeks ago, it was already reported that Harley-Davidson would be laying off a significant number of its workers from the production facilities of its Bawal, Haryana, factory in India. The brand is citing low sales figures and lackluster demand from the region. Now, industry experts are saying that it’s only a matter of time until the iconic motorcycle manufacturer pulls the plug out of the Indian market. Of course, the decision would come as part of Harley-Davidson’s newly established strategy, dubbed the “Rewire”, which will eventually shift into the “Hardwire” in 2021.
Unloading the Indian market would be done in conjunction with their move of refocusing their efforts on key markets across North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific which compose the bulk of the company’s volume and growth potential. Harley-Davidson is in a continuous process of evaluating plans to exit international markets where volumes and profitability remain in question. Continued investment in line with the company’s future strategy in these markets would be hard to justify.
It should be remembered that in India, less than 2,500 units were sold by Harley-Davidson easily making it among the company’s worst-performing international markets. However, existing Harley-Davidson owners shouldn’t worry about their motorcycles just yet as the brand is still expected to continue skeletal operations for service and parts for the bikes already sold.
The unfortunate turn of events puts in question Harley-Davidson’s plans of producing more affordable low-displacement street bikes made specifically for developing markets. This along with the recent report that the Bronx is likely to receive the ax puts in question what newer offerings Harley-Davidson has in store for us in the coming future. Harley-Davidson isn’t the first American automotive giant to close shop in India. Back in 2017, General Motors did a massive downscale of its operations and sold its Gujarat plant. It seems that the major American automotive brands haven’t found a lot of luck in the Indian market.