Harley-Davidson leaving India: Here’s why Harley-Davidson is calling it quits

Harley-Davidson has reportedly decided to end operations in India, including sales and production of motorcycles. According to reports by Reuters and other publications, the iconic American motorcycle maker is quitting the Indian market as part of the “Rewire” strategy under which it will focus only on select markets. Harley-Davidson will also wind up operations from existing markets with low sales and profitability, including India. Harley-Davidson commenced operations in India in 2009 and currently has a wide range of products in its portfolio. However, the demand for H-D bikes in India has plummeted over the last few years.

Why is Harley-Davidson exiting Indian market?

Harley-Davidson is ending operations in India as part of ‘Rewire’ strategy.  The companyreported a $96 million loss between April 2020 to June 2020, which is the first quarterly loss for the motorcycle maker. Despite an almost cult-like following in several markets besides the US, Harley-Davidson has been facing financial difficulties for quite some time now. To counter this, the motorcycle maker had devised ‘Rewire’ strategy a few months ago that which included consolidation of operations to profitable markets like North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia. The company will also wind up operations in several low profitability markets like India.

According to figures released by SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), Harley-Davidson sold only 103 units of motorcycles in India in July 2020 and 176 units last month in the country. 

There were rumours that Harley-Davidson was considering to partner with an Indian company to share the financial load in the country and localize production. This would have been similar to what Triumph and KTM have achieved with Bajaj Auto. However, the company is now calling it quits in India as of now. Harley-Davidson noted that it will close the manufacturing facility in Bawal and significantly reduce the size of its sales office in Gurgaon. And as for the after-sales services, the company’s dealer network will continue to serve customers through contract term.

Harley-Davidson’s official statement

Harley-Davidson, in an official statement, said, “Harley-Davidson, Inc. today announced that as part of The Rewire, an overhaul of its operating model and market structure, the company is changing its business model in India and evaluating options to continue to serve its customers. Harley-Davidson plans to close its manufacturing facility in Bawal and significantly reduce the size of its sales office in Gurgaon. The company is communicating with its customers in India and will keep them updated on future support. The Harley-Davidson dealer network will continue to serve customers through the contract term.”

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