A difficult domestic market has forced Harley-Davidson to expand its efforts overseas, and if recent rumors are true, the American manufacturer is taking an even bigger step by planning a low-priced model exclusively for India.
Harley entered the Indian market in 2009, and has since established a small but growing network of dealers that sells bikes whose components are built in the U.S.A., and then shipped and assembled overseas. The procedure, known as CKD (or Complete Knock Down), helps the bikes avoid import tariffs, but the concept of building an entirely new bike for India reflects a significantly more involved (and potentially more complicated) approach to expanding their worldwide sales.
Harley's intentions to increase Indian sales tenfold lend credence to the rumors that they're fixing on a 400cc-500cc bike that would be priced at Rs 3.5 lakh (the equivalent of around $6,300) to compete against premium starter bikes like Kawasaki's littlest Ninja and KTM's baby 390 Duke.
Is Harley-Davidson in danger of diluting its brand by building a bike smaller than their entry-level Sportster 883? While we size obsessed Americans may think so, let's get real: our opinions are ultimately irrelevant in the face of the Motor Company's growing global footprint and increasingly insistent bottom line.
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Photo © Harley-Davidson India