Friday, February 25, 2011



2011 Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 883

The past few days have been anything but joyous and hope filled for the Indian automotive enthusiast like never before. Right from the India-EU Free Trade Agreement(FTA) which could make luxury cars manufactured in the European Union to the Indo-Japan FTA which simply could translate into cheaper spare parts for high end Japanese motorcycles as well as cheaper imports from Japan. Now, here is another massive bit of buzz that could potentially have motorcycle enthusiasts dreaming and dreaming big.

Indian Alphonso mangoes turned sweeter when they were exchanged for Harley Davidson to set shop in India. Barack Obama’s visit to India, earlier this year seems to have further sweetened the deal for motor heads as Harley Davidson is making a massive shift in tack. Now, instead of merely setting up an assembly facility to assemble CKD kits from the United States, Harley Davidson India will now go the whole hog and manufacture it’s cult motorcycles in India, ground up. And this includes an Indian vendor base as well since Harley Davidson is aiming at a “mother plant”, which will be the first of it’s kind outside of it’s manufacturing facilities at USA.

What will then happen? You and me can finally start dreaming big. Dreaming of riding on the rapidly improving Indian highways, with the wind in our faces, with the soul stirring exhaust of the engine, with what motorcyclists cherish the most, the absolute freedom in the heart, the freedom of being one with the open road. Just you and the machine and the road. Sorry for the circumvention, but in other words, Harley Davidsons could be sold for as low as INR 3.3 Lakh as manufacturing in India is a whole load cheaper than that of America. And with Indian vendors making Harley parts, it won’t get better than this.

As Indian manufacture of Harley Davidsons begin, Harley will also start exporting it’s made-in-India motorcycles to other emerging markets where Harleys sell for steep prices due to their high manufacturing costs in Uncle Sam country. So, what that means is more jobs for Indians in India and more sales for Harley, in India as well as in other emerging markets. A win-win situation, ain’t it? As for the Japanese big four, this should serve as a good enough reason to contemplate at least CKD assembly operations to gain the all important volumes as the Indian elephant’s purchasing power peaks.

Meanwhile, we’re still perplexed at why the folks at Financial Express are going hammer and tongs at Harley for setting up base in India, with them even going to suggest that national interests have been replaced by corporate interests. Sounds very, very leftish. All said, right here, on ICB, we carried a wordy piece on how India could save Harley Davidson, and just in line with our analysis, it really seems to be happening.


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