Despite being the world’s largest motorcycle market, Harley-Davidson has decided to pull out of India, in a move received as much shock by many. This comes as a huge setback for the Indian government also. To all you Harley-Davidson owners and fans, what would this move mean? For many bike lovers, this comes as a shock but the company has assured its support. Read further, to know all.
The US company Harley-Davidson has decided to stop manufacturing its brands in India. Also, it has decided to massively scale down its sales operations.
As the Indian government, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying hard to retain foreign companies and attract new ones to establish their manufacturing plants here in India, this comes as a major blow.
The Indian plant of the company was initially opened up in 2011 in Northern India, but it is learned that Harley-Davidson struggled to compete with local brands such as Hero, as well as Japan’s Honda company.
India, which has the world’s largest two-wheeler market in the world, with nearly 17 million motorcycles and scooters sold each year in the country, has been a tough task for the Harley-Davidson company.
With sales of about 3000 units a year, the company just couldn’t find a strong base within the country, including its big Asia market that it was trying to bet on through its India operations.
According to a report, Harley’s exit may not have a significant economic impact, but it will be bad for the Modi government, which is preparing to roll out a 23-billion-dollar package to lure global manufacturers to set up base in India as part of the country’s ‘Make in India’ policy.
Previously also, the high import tariffs on Harley’s have also been a talking point for India and US trade negotiations. US President Donald Trump had previously given the example of Harley stating that India is a ‘tariff king’.
Harley-Davidson’s decision to exit the Indian market could set off another diplomatic tussle with the US with whom India is negotiating a free trade agreement.
Over the last decade of its existence in India, the company has sold over 25,000 units and today had 33 dealerships, which is plans are to go, may either shut or be scaled down.
The company had already been reducing its manpower over the last few months, and this move will reportedly involve 75 million dollar restructuring costs.
The company has however clarified that they will continue to serve existing customers through its dealer network. It also stated that it will continue to keep in touch with its customers and update them on future support.
The company reported a loss of 60 cents per share for the quarter through June.
Foreign companies within the auto-industry have always found it tough to establish long-term survival in the country, with many challenging the high taxes levied for various purposes. A few weeks earlier, Toyota stated that it won’t expand further in the country because of the high tax regimes.