Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) announced today its plans to formally enter the motorcycle market in India, where it expects to start selling its iconic motorcycles in 2010. The company has established a subsidiary to be located in Gurgaon, near Delhi, and has begun the process of seeking dealers.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company President and Chief Operating Officer, Matthew Levatich, is an invited speaker at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers annual convention on August 28, and will provide further details on the company’s plans then.
"As India continues to extend its global reach, so does Harley-Davidson," said Levatich. "We believe Harley-Davidson has outstanding opportunities for continued growth around the world."
The company’s current approach is to import its motorcycles, accessories and riding gear, and it will continue to evaluate how best to evolve its approach to the market as Harley-Davidson’s business in India grows.
"India is important to our long-term vision of being a truly global company," said Harley-Davidson Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Wandell. "We are committed to India for the long term, and we are focused right now on establishing a strong foundation."
India is the second-largest motorcycle market in the world, with sales dominated by small, inexpensive bikes used as basic transportation. However, India’s rapidly growing economy, rising middle class and significant investment in construction of new highways have opened the door to leisure motorcycle riding.
"Given the rapid development of India’s economy and physical infrastructure, this is exactly the right time to bring the world’s greatest motorcycles to one of the world’s largest motorcycling nations," said Levatich. "Our unique brand, distinctive motorcycles and strong experience in the leisure motorcycle market make us naturally suited to help lead and define the next era of motorcycling in India."
Harley-Davidson is the global leader in cruising and touring motorcycles and ranks as one of the strongest brands in the world, with motorcycle sales now in more than 70 countries.
"Harley-Davidson fulfills dreams for people around the world through life-changing products and experiences," said Levatich. "The Harley-Davidson brand represents self-expression, adventure, the freedom of the open road, and belonging to a global community – a family of riders. We know the relevance of the Harley-Davidson brand rings true in India just as it does in other markets around the world."
The company will focus its initial steps in India on growing the Harley-Davidson brand through a variety of consumer experiences and on establishing a local dealer network.
The Harley-Davidson subsidiary in India will be led by Managing Director Anoop Prakash, who said the company has begun the process of identifying initial dealers in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Punjab State.
"As a key next step, we are looking for local dealer partners who share our passion and commitment to building customer relationships, the Harley-Davidson brand and our business in India for the long term," said Prakash.