Renowned American motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson Motor Co. have announced their exit from the Indian market. Their exit comes as a result of a long hauled lack-luster tenure in a competitive two-wheeler market like India.
On Thursday, the iconic bike manufacturer conveyed it’s employees that they will be discontinuing their production and sales in the country as a part of a major, worldwide restructuring plan after competing in the market for about 11 years.
The company signaled some changes in their future plans last month, hinting about exiting some highly competitive markets which have incurred losses and focusing more on the US, Europe, and some selected parts of Asia Pacific region as a part of their new strategic plan.
The manufacturer has dealt with some heavy losses in recent years which resulted in the mounting of debts and shrinkage of their market shares in the segment of premium two-wheelers in various countries as the company has struggled to sustain the rapidly changing preferences of the people, especially young blokes.
With the motor market being down for some time now in India, the world’s largest two-wheel motor vehicle manufacturer struggled to keep up and finally decided to make an exit.
During the period of FY16 to FY20, the volume of production in India dipped from 11,753 units to 4,533 units, and the sales reduced to 2,470 units from 4,708.
The people close to the company said that the lackluster performance, relatively high pricing, and wrong marketing strategy of their products can be blamed for Harley’s eventual downfall in the Indian market.
A motorcycle industry expert who previously has been a senior executive manager at Harley-Davidson India said, “The world-wide leadership at Harley Davidson targeted 35-50-year-old riders. As a result, they missed out on what the young riders wanted, and they became totally dependent on a marketing-led model.”
He admitted that companies such as Yamaha, KTM, BMW came up with much lighter and technologically sound bikes which competed out the cruiser bike segments of Harley Davidson.
In June 2019 it was reported that Harley-Davidson was in talks with top two-wheeler manufacturers to manufacture two-wheelers for India and other promising markets.
The Harley-Davidson’s stint in the country was troublesome for one another reason too: It was trapped in an India-US tariff war. In June 2019, India had cut down the tariff on premium two-wheelers imported as completely built units by 50% after United States President Donald Trump phoned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.