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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What does made-in-India Harley mean for Royal Enfield?

The new Harley-Davidson Street will get people talking.
"Harley's Indian Gamble" is the headline of the Ride Apart blog's first look at marketing materials for the 2014 Harley-Davidson Street 750 and 500.

"The most important new Harley-Davidson in living memory isn’t made in Milwaukee, but instead at H-D’s new factory in Guragon, India," writes author Wes Siler.

Siler wonders if Harley can succeed in India but has no doubts about why the company is giving it a go. He writes:

"Currently Harley dominates the U.S. market, making around 185,000 of the 452,000 motorcycles that were sold in the U.S. in 2012. Far fewer than the 273,000 bikes it sold here in 2006. Compare that total market volume to India, which totals in excess of 10 million motorcycle sales year and you can see why Harley is eager to explore new markets.

"Currently, Harley sells around 2,000 motorcycles in India annually."

He doesn't mention Royal Enfield, which sells far more motorcycles in India, or other Indian manufacturers that sell far more motorcycles in India than Royal Enfield. What will the new baby Harleys mean to Royal Enfield?

After all, these are the most affordable Harleys in a long time and they're modern designs, with liquid cooled V-twin engines.

My guess: it's all good. Harleys are about showing off, not what cools their motors. Inevitably, some people love this attitude, some people despise it. In other words, all Harley-Davidson motorcycles are so polarizing that their effect on a marketplace will be to get people talking and buyers shopping.

Plenty in India (and perhaps some in the United States) will consider Harley and choose Royal Enfield instead.

The reasons I'm confident of this will be obvious to anyone viewing this Harley-Davidson "Reveal" video for the Street. Just count the number of references to "attitude":

3 comments:

  1. To much Yapping and not enough viewing of the bike !

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  2. This is bad for Royal Enfield in the US. This won't be a big attraction for Harley, but at 6800$ (a similar price point) and 500 cc with a bit more power, I think this will make an RE less attractive to those who don't absolutely have to have one.

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  3. Selling a few thousand bikes in India is a drop, in a big, big bucket.
    Even 10,000 which is what Harley envisages.
    Anonymous raises an interesting point.though I don't think that American sales of these two Harleys aren't going to be very large.
    Since there are so many attractive alternatives to both these Harleys--and to the RE

    I'd be curious to know the selling prices of Enfield 500's in India?No price info seems to be available on the RE site in India. I've always understood that they are far less expensive there than here..but I've never seen the current numbers. Unless they sell at a discount re imported Iron, RE will have to continue to "up it's game" to "remain in the game" in India, just as it will have to in overseas markets.

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