India is a bigger market than China when it comes to the sale of two-wheelers. Both the Chinese and Indian markets are comparable but India is growing much faster, said a top official from Harley Davidson.
"For Harley Davidson India and China are of comparable size in terms of network, products and growth,” said Peter Mackenzie, Managing Director, India and China, Harley Davidson.
"In fact, India is bigger than China in the two-wheeler market and is growing faster. Both represent global potential,'' he added. The Indian customer is also younger and better product educated than many other markets making them a unique demographic, he added.
The majority of the growth has come in the 250cc-500cc but the higher end segment of 600cc plus is also showing significant growth.
“With all the competition coming into the 600cc plus segment, we will see strong growth and a migration towards lifestyle oriented products,'' added Mackenzie. Harley Davidson is numero uno in the 600cc plus variants, mostly due to India-manufactured Street 750, but Mackenzie politely refused to comment anything regarding company’s intention of bringing out a sub-500cc range variants, which is mostly dominated by cult bike brand Royal Enfield.
But it is clear that Harley Davidson does not need any local partnership to lure the Indian market unlike BMW, which has partnered with TVS Motos and Truimph, which has tied up with Bajaj Auto. "Most of these tie-ups are focussed on accessing a manufacturing footprint in India but we have already significantly invested in our own plant here and so we do not need a local partnership to help us,'' said Mackenzie.
"We are constantly evaluating what the customers want and tweaking our range accordingly and so this electric vehicle is our next step towards that effort,'' said Mackenzie.
The tweaking of Completely Built Units (CBU) duties has improved the price of company’s imported bikes such as the Road King, Road Glide, Street Glide and the CVO TM by Rs 2.60-3.70 lakh. But, Mackenzie think that it won’t improve their sales.
"It's early days yet and we will need to wait and watch,'' he said.
"The recent duty reductions have improved the price positions but I don't expect a big impact on demand,'' he added.
The company on Sunday launched its Chennai dealership and will not focus on Tier 2 cities to increase its footprint.
"Right now, we have 27 dealerships and we will open several more this year. This is part of our global target to hit 150-200 dealerships in four years.'' said Mackenzie.