Harley-Davidson announced this week that it is setting up an assembly facility in Haryana, India, just months after opening its first dealership in the country. There are now four HD dealerships in India, including locations in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad.
The Haryana plant will assemble motorcycles for the Indian market with parts produced in Harley-Davidson plants in the United States and Brazil. By providing an assembly facility in India, Harley will receive relief from a 60 percent tariff for completely assembled bikes that are shipped to India. If the separate parts are sent to India and then assembled there, the tariff is considerably less.
Harley-Davidson President and COO Matthew Levatich said, “Assembly operations in India are a natural next step for Harley-Davidson as we build our brand presence around the world.” Tuesday’s announcement coincides with this week’s visit to India by President Obama, who will be promoting trade and business opportunities between the two countries.
The move follows on the heels of several large business decisions by Harley, including shutting down it’s longtime Buell product line and selling its MV Agusta business, a high-end Italian brand that it bought less than two years ago for millions and sold for something like five Euros. This latest move will likely make good sense for the company in an economy that hasn’t been kind to the motorcycle industry.
In the grand scope of all things motorcycle, Harley-Davidson is less a globally recognized bike than the “Big Four,” but this move will no doubt move the Milwaukee-based motorcycle company in the direction of a global brand. So tell us what you think. Do you view HD as a global entity or as a “local” brand? One thing’s for sure: This ain’t your daddy’s Harley-Davidson. Not anymore, it’s not.