Harley-Davidson owners gathered across 14 cities in India to express solidarity with the cause of Harley-Davidson dealers in the country, and the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) conducted 'Dark Rides' on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The Harley-Davidson Dealers' Association, along with Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), and supported by the Federation of Automobile Dealers' Associations of India (FADA) took out rides across Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Lucknow, Delhi, Gurugram, Jaipur, Indore, Bhopal, Raipur, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Guwahati, to lodge a protest and support the dealers' cause.
"The move to close Harley-Davidson operations would cause huge losses to dealers in India who have invested crores in the business. The common consumers who have bought the bike would lose out to the riding experience they bought the bike for," said Deepesh Tanwar, former H.O.G. Director, who in support of the dealers, resigned from the directorship. "The common consumers who have bought the bike would face difficulties in getting spare parts and services," he added.
In September, Harley-Davidson announced that the brand has decided to discontinue its sales and manufacturing operations in India, but that the brand will continue to remain in India, but with a different business model. Subsequently, Harley-Davidson assured its customers and announced last week that it has signed a partnership and distribution agreement with Hero MotoCorp, which will offer a smooth transition for Harley riders. The partnership with Hero is to incorporate selling and servicing Harley-Davidson motorcycles, selling parts and accessories, as well as general merchandise, riding gear and apparel through a network of brand-exclusive Harley-Davidson dealers and Hero's existing dealership network in India.
The existing Harley-Davidson dealers say that they have been offered compensation, but which they say is 'unreasonable' and are now looking at possible legal options. Before announcing the changed business plan in India, as part of 'The Rewire' strategy announced by Harley-Davidson's new CEO Jochen Zeitz, Harley-Davidson had the largest pan-India footprint of dealers among premium motorcycle brands. It's also the first premium motorcycle brand to have set up shop in India in 2009, and by 2020, Harley-Davidson has over 33 dealerships across India.