Harley-Davidson emerges as market leader in India's premium bike segment
Thanks to its pact with Hero MotoCorp, Harley-Davidson has staged a comeback in India by emerging as the market leader in the high-end motorbike segment. The Milwaukee brand sold 601 bikes in FY2022, nearly tripling its sales in comparison to FY2021 when 206 units were retailed. This is an impressive achievement considering the market disruptions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Almost two years ago, Harley-Davidson announced that it was ending its India operations because of poor sales. This caused great anguish to dealers and bike owners.
- However, Hero MotoCorp stepped in at the right time and has now managed to turn around the business to such an extent that a growth of almost 300% has been registered.
Out of the 601 Harley bikes retailed in FY2022, 531 units belonged to the 1,000cc and above segment. This took the brand's market share in the category to 37%, up from 27% in FY21. The sales were driven by the Sportster S model. Triumph Motorcycles (336), Kawasaki (283), Suzuki (233), and Honda (71) occupied the second, third, fourth, and fifth positions, respectively.
In India, Hero MotoCorp took over the sales and servicing of Harley-Davidson bikes in October 2020. The FY2022 marked the first full financial year of this agreement. During this time period, Harley's distribution network was expanded to 10 exclusive service centers as well as 13 showrooms. Customer interaction events such as the Harley Owners Group (HOG) rallies have also been restarted.
Dealers are attributing the rising demand for Harley motorcycles to Hero MotoCorp's goodwill among customers. "Since the time Hero MotoCorp has taken over the exclusive distributorship of our products, there has been a lot of demand uptick for our entire range, as our customers are now assured of sales, service, and parts," a North India-based dealer told The Economic Times.