US based auto manufacturers haven't quite found success in India. General Motors had an average run in the country before winding up completely, Ford had to form an alliance with Mahindra to keep its India business going and now a report by ET Auto suggests that iconic American motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson, is looking to have an alliance with Indian two-wheeler manufacturers in order to continue having a presence in the country. The report suggests that Hero MotoCorp and Classic Legends are front-runners for this tie-up. To give you a perspective, TVS already has an alliance with BMW while Bajaj has a tie-up with KTM and subsequently, Husqvarna along with Triumph Motorcycles as well.
The idea behind this alliance could be to help Harley-Davidson to sell motorcycles in the mid-size segment, with the upcoming Harley-Davidson HD 350 and maybe new models in the future. Being an international company, Harley is likely to be comfortable partnering with an Indian company in this case. Plus, Hero MotoCorp offers good manufacturing capability along with wide reach across the length and breadth of the country. At present, Hero caters to motorcycle segments till 200 cc. Partnering with Harley-Davidson may open up opportunity for Hero to move up the displacement scale, into premium mid-size motorcycle segment. It could prove to be a good fit for both companies.
Also, Mahindra-owned Classic Legends, makes for a good option too as its plan of catering to a niche modern-classic segment with the Jawa bikes could be a fit for Harley's target audience in a similar segment, with its mid-sized bikes.
In fact, earlier this year, in February 2020, Pawan Munjal, MD and CEO, Hero MotoCorp was quoted saying that Hero is open to a partnership with Harley-Davidson and said that 'The sooner it happens, the better it will be for everyone."
In case, Harley does exit India due to falling sales, the decision will be in line with "The Rewire" strategy outlined by Harley-Davidson's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jochen Zeitz. The new strategy will focus on about 50 markets, mainly in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia Pacific that represent the "majority of the company's volume and growth potential."
Source: ET Auto