6 Unique Harley Davidson Comeback Strategies in India: Positive future

Harley Davidson Comeback Strategies in India: Harley-Davidson is a well-known American brand that has been associated with motorbikes for more than a century. Harley-Davidson originated as a maker of motorized bicycles in 1903. Along with its historical adversary, Indian Motorcycles, it is one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to have survived the Great Depression.

The company has weathered multiple ownership arrangements, subsidiary arrangements, periods of poor economic health and product quality, and severe worldwide rivalry to become one of the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturers and an iconic brand with a devoted fan base.

However, in recent years, the business has faced several obstacles, notably shrinking sales in India. To increase global sales, Harley-Davidson has shifted its focus to India, the world’s largest two-wheeler market. It remains to be seen if Harley-Davidson will be successful in India. However, the corporation is making several wise decisions that may help it reach its objectives.

About Harley Davidson

6 Unique Harley Davidson Comeback Strategies in India: Positive future

Harley-Davidson designs, manufactures, and sells motorbikes, as well as motorcycle components and accessories. It also sells wholesale motorcycle-related general items. In the United States and Canada, Harley-Davidson offers wholesale and retail finance and insurance packages to its dealers and customers. It operates an e-Commerce site where it sells motorbike parts, accessories, and associated items and services.

William S. Harley created a compact 7.07-cubic-inch engine in 1901 that could be easily attached to a normal bicycle frame. The design was improved and produced over two years with the cooperation of Arthur and Walter Davidson, albeit the initial design lacked the power required to climb hills in the Milwaukee region without assistance from the rider.

Harley Davidson Comeback
6 Unique Harley Davidson Comeback Strategies in India: Positive future

Harley-Davidson bikes are manufactured in York, Pennsylvania, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Manaus, Brazil, Bawal, India, and Pluak Daeng, Thailand. The corporation sells its products all over the world, and it also licenses and sells merchandise under the Harley-Davidson brand, such as apparel, home décor and ornamental items, accessories, toys, scale models of its motorcycles, and video games based on its motorbike line and community. Today, Harley-Davidson is a multinational corporation with over $5 billion in revenue and an annual output of over 240,000 motorcycles.

There are many models available, ranging from the original Softail series to the contemporary Iron 883 and Street series. With the all-electric LiveWire, the business has even ventured into the EV industry. Harley Davidson Comeback will not be that difficult. Harley Davidson comeback strategy will be much smoother as well. Harley Davidson Comeback.

Harley-Davidson bikes likability in India

Harley Davidson Comeback
6 Unique Harley Davidson Comeback Strategies in India: Positive future

Although they are not as well-liked as they once were, Harley-Davidson bikes are still popular in India. Harley-Davidson used to be associated with wealth and freedom, and many Indian bikers yearned to own one of their machines. The Indian motorcycle market has, however, seen increased competition in recent years, and there are now a number of other brands that sell high-quality motorcycles for less money.

Here are a few explanations for why Harley-Davidson motorcycles remain well-liked in India:

  • The Harley-Davidson brand is well-known and esteemed, and its motorcycles are linked to luxury, independence, and adventure.
  • Harley-Davidson bikes are renowned for their high level of quality and performance.
  • Options for customization Because Harley-Davidson bikes are so easily customised, riders can make them uniquely their own.

The popularity of Harley-Davidson bikes in India has decreased over time for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • The price: Harley-Davidson bikes can be prohibitively expensive for many Indian bikers.
  • The opposition: Currently, a number of other companies sell high-quality motorcycles at lower costs.
  • Adapting demographics: Smaller, more fuel-efficient motorcycles are becoming more and more popular in India, where the motorcycle market is diversifying.

Harley-Davidson remains committed to the Indian market despite the difficulties. The company thinks that its bikes are still in demand and that its new line of motorcycles will be able to meet this demand. Harley-Davidson is also confident that the Indian government will take action to ease the country’s business regulations for foreign corporations.

If Harley-Davidson will be able to reclaim its prior level of popularity in India, only time will tell. It’s possible that the brand will be able to make a comeback in the years to come, though the company is taking some encouraging steps.

Indian Motorcycle Market

India has the world’s largest motorbike market, with yearly sales exceeding 20 million units (about 40% of total volume). Over the years, the Indian motorcycle market has seen incredible growth and transformation, leading the country to become a prominent player in the global motorcycle market. In the coming years, the Indian market is predicted to increase at an 8-9% CAGR. Rising earnings, more urbanization, and an increased need for personal transportation are driving the expansion of the Indian motorbike market. Premium motorcycles and electric motorcycles are also in high demand in the Indian motorcycle market.

Harley Davidson Comeback
Indian Motorbike Market Share

Hero MotoCorp Limited, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., Yamaha Motor India Pvt. Ltd., Eicher’s Motor Limited, Bajaj Auto Limited, TVS Motor Company, Suzuki Motorcycle India Private Limited, Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd., and Hero Electric Pvt. Ltd. are the market’s leading participants.

Harley Davidson in India – Harley Davidson Comeback

Harley Davidson Comeback
6 Unique Harley Davidson Comeback Strategies in India: Positive future
  • Harley-Davidson entered the Indian market in 2009 and had over 100 dealerships by 2020.
  • In 2020, Harley-Davidson announced that it would be discontinuing its sales and manufacturing operations in India due to weak demand and sales.
  • The company cited a number of factors for the decision, including the high cost of doing business in India, the weak rupee, and the increasing popularity of smaller, more fuel-efficient motorcycles.
  • Despite the discontinuation of sales and manufacturing, Harley-Davidson still has a strong presence in India. The company continues to offer a range of motorcycles through its dealerships, and it also sponsors a number of biking events and festivals. Harley-Davidson also has a number of loyal fans in India, who continue to ride and customize their bikes.
  • In recent years, there have been some signs that the Harley-Davidson brand is starting to make a comeback in India. In 2022, the company launched a new range of motorcycles specifically designed for the Indian market, and it also announced plans to open a new manufacturing facility in the country.

It remains to be seen whether Harley-Davidson will be able to regain its former market share in India. However, the company’s recent moves suggest that it is committed to the Indian market and that it is confident that there is still a demand for its products.

Here are some additional details about Harley-Davidson performance bikes in the Indian market:

  • In 2020, Harley-Davidson sold only 601 motorcycles in India, down from 2,676 motorcycles in 2019.
  • The company’s market share in India has also declined in recent years. In 2018, Harley-Davidson had a market share of 2.5% in the Indian premium motorcycle market. By 2020, this had fallen to 1.2%.
  • The Indian motorcycle market is dominated by local brands such as Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto. These companies provide a selection of motorcycles that are less expensive and more fuel-efficient than those made by Harley-Davidson.

Whether Harley Davidson comeback plan will be successful remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the business is moving in the right direction, so it might be able to reclaim its former glory.

Here are some additional specifics regarding Harley Davidson’s recovery plan:

  • The business is making significant investments in R&D to create new products that will appeal to a wider range of consumers.
  • To reach more customers, Harley Davidson comeback is also extending its dealer network.
  • In order to be perceived as a more contemporary and relevant brand, the company is also working to enhance its brand image.

Harley-Davidson remains committed to the Indian market despite the difficulties. The company thinks that with its new lineup of motorcycles, it can capitalize on the growing demand for premium motorcycles in India. Harley-Davidson is also confident that the Indian government will take action to ease the country’s business regulations for foreign corporations.

Understanding the Challenges -Harley Davidson Comeback

Despite its iconic status and global appeal, Harley Davidson comeback faced numerous challenges while establishing and expanding its presence in the Indian market.

1. High Import Charges and Tariffs

One of the biggest and most significant obstacles Harley Davidson encountered was the Indian government’s significant import taxes and tariffs. As a result, Harley-Davidson motorcycle costs were significantly higher than those offered by its competitors, rendering them less enticing to price-conscious Indian buyers.

2. Intense Competition

The Indian two-wheeler industry is fiercely competitive, with various domestic as well as foreign motorbike brands fighting for a piece of the pie. Over the years, Royal Enfield has effectively built an economical but powerful brand alternative to Harley-Davidson. The Delhi-based company sells products in the same categories as Harley-Davidson: cruisers, touring, and adventure. Royal Enfield went so far as to introduce its own Cafe Racer, filling a void left by Harley-Davidson.

3. Economic Factors

The Covid-19 interruption has delayed India’s two-wheeler demand by two to three years. According to figures from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), two-wheeler sales were a little over half at 4.13 million units from April to August, compared to 8.03 million units sold in the same time last year.

4. Motorcycle Size and Power

For daily commutes, Indian consumers preferred smaller, more fuel-efficient motorcycles. The customary big and powerful Harley motorcycles did not meet the practical needs of the majority of Indian riders, limiting the brand’s spread even further.

5. After-Sales Support and Service

A lack of widely distributed service centers and easily accessible spare parts damaged customer satisfaction and discouraged potential consumers. Customers are expressing their dissatisfaction with the bike manufacturer’s service support on social media.

In 2015, the business was forced to recall roughly 3,700 bikes in India due to a malfunctioning gasoline pump. Consumers have also complained about engine overheating, worn-out brake pads, and clutch plates that burn out prematurely.

Harley Davidson Comeback Strategy in India

1. Local Assembly and Manufacturing

Harley has teamed with Hero MotoCorp, India’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, to manufacture and market its motorcycles in India. This collaboration will assist Harley-Davidson in lowering costs and reaching a larger audience.

2. Mid-Size Sector Focus

The strategy included a shift in the product focus to the mid-size motorcycle sector. Recognizing shifting consumer preferences in India, the company wanted to develop smaller, more inexpensive motorcycles that suited a wider audience.

3. A younger audience

Harley-Davidson is aiming for a younger audience in India, where the average age is 35 years old. This is accomplished through making motorcycles more inexpensive and accessible, as well as marketing its products in a younger manner.

4. Product Portfolio Expansion

In India, Harley-Davidson confronts severe competition from indigenous brands such as Royal Enfield, who provide comparable motorcycles at a lower price. Harley-Davidson is broadening its product selection to include cheaper and more accessible motorcycles to compete. It has released its most affordable bike, the Harley Davidson X440, for a price of INR 2.29 Lakh (Ex-Showroom), and it has also patented the label “Nightster 440” for its next motorcycle.

5. Expanding Dealership Network

Harley-Davidson’s intentions to expand its dealership network in India are an important component of the company’s strategy to increase its market share in the nation. Harley-Davidson is well-positioned to prosper in India by developing new dealerships, working with existing dealerships, investing in training and development, and utilizing technology to improve the customer experience.

6. Marketing and branding investments

Harley-Davidson is extensively investing in branding and advertising in India to raise interest in the brand and its goods.

Results and Impact

Harley-Davidson’s master stroke began to bear fruit in the Indian market. Their most recent motorcycle, the X440, demonstrates that local assembly and manufacture have decreased the cost of motorcycles, making them more affordable to a wider market. The brand’s product portfolio development, combined with customization choices, assisted in attracting a varied consumer base, notably young and first-time riders. Their latest launch has seen an overwhelming response from the Indian consumers and Hero MotoCorp has declared that the online booking of the bike will close on August 3, 2023, temporarily.

However, it has to be seen whether their enhanced dealership network translates into improved after-sales service and consumer satisfaction, which will boost brand loyalty. Collaborations and local partnerships may create deeper emotional ties with Indian riders, supporting Harley Davidson’s image as a brand that embraces India’s culture and heritage.


In India, Harley-Davidson faces significant hurdles, but the company has some qualities that could help it flourish. The company has great brand recognition and a dedicated customer base and is significantly investing in the Indian market. If Harley-Davidson can keep its plan on track, it has a decent chance of becoming a major player in the Indian motorcycle industry.

Harley-Davidson’s strategic re-entry in Indian market demonstrates the company’s adaptability and commitment to compete in a difficult environment. The renowned American brand renewed its presence and saw a resurrection in the Indian motorcycle sector by understanding and meeting the unique expectations of Indian consumers. I believe Harley-Davidson can turn around its business if it can evolve its distinctive position, keep its fundamental equities while adding new, more relevant, and more current equities that help it better match with today’s consumer base. Furthermore, the brand still has a lot of goodwill. Harley-Davidson is one of the few brands that people genuinely want to see prosper. Not many brands can make that claim.

What were Harley-Davidson’s obstacles in the Indian market?

High import duties, severe rivalry from domestic and Japanese motorcycle brands, economic volatility, limited local presence, and a perception of high maintenance costs were all obstacles for Harley-Davidson.

How did Harley-Davidson deal with India’s high import charges and tariffs?

To reduce import expenses, Harley-Davidson changed its emphasis to domestic assembly and manufacturing. By building motorcycles in India, the company lowered import load and provided consumers with more reasonable rates.

What efforts did Harley-Davidson take to cater to Indian consumers’ preferences?

To meet the desires of Indian consumers, Harley-Davidson increased its product offering to include smaller and more economical models in the mid-size motorbike sector.

How has Harley-Davidson improved after-sales service in India?

To provide better after-sales service and customer support, the firm invested in expanding its dealership network across key Indian cities. This decision increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

How did Harley-Davidson adapt its offerings to appeal to Indian customers?

To appeal to the vast Indian middle class, Harley-Davidson introduced new mid-range motorcycles. They also provide customization possibilities, letting buyers customize their motorcycles with Indian-themed accessories and color schemes.

What were the outcomes of Harley Davidson Comeback approach in India?

Harley Davidson’s strategic actions resulted in greater sales and market penetration. The firm saw a revival in the Indian motorbike sector. It would be fascinating to see if they can keep the trend with more mid-segment bikes.

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