Hello riders, as you all know that Harley exited India this year, however, it partnered with one of the largest two-wheeler companies of India, Hero MotoCorp, to continue its sales.
In this article, we shall talk about the buzz in the motorbike community about the new Hero and Harley partnership and what it brings for us, motorbike enthusiasts.
Yes, Harley Davidson after a bit of a rough patch with its sales and finances is now looking for a polished move in the Indian market. Thus, it announced its partnership with the Indian motorbike giant Hero MotoCorp in October 2020. A distribution agreement was signed so far where Hero MotoCorp would produce and distribute Harley Davidson products in India. The former will distribute parts, riding gear, accessories, and other apparel.
It all happened despite the decision of Harley Davidson to shut down on a large scale from global brand outlets, including India, in September 2020. Here are a few developments we know about:
- The reason is pretty straightforward as it is falling short of its annual target sales since 2009. Hence, the premium American motorbike maker decided to develop a distribution model in around 17 global markets, including India, as they hope to gain its leadership in these areas.
- Another significant fact that came to our knowledge is the kind of tie-up they have made with the Delhi-based Hero MotoCorp.
- Overall, it is a non-equity tie-up that doesn’t include the transfer of technology from Harley Davidson.
- The Hero MotoCorp is only allowed to manufacture and sell a list of premium motorbikes via Harley Davidson’s brand name under the partnership agreement.
- All the activities concerned with Harley motorbikes, their accessories, parts, warranty, after-sales services, and other HOG (Harley Owners Group) tasks will begin from January 2021 onwards.
Well, this major step of distribution concept by Harley Davidson will benefit both the companies.
- This move will ensure the strong presence of the brand in India, whereas the vital services and sales network of Hero MotoCorp will open up further. Retaining the brand value among customers is of utmost importance as otherwise, it may vanish completely, keeping in mind the dipping sales of Harley in the last few years.
- Furthermore, this partnership agreement will expand the competition among the segment of domestic mid-sized motorcycles. Currently, this segment is dominated by Royal Enfield in India. Since the last few years, various other new entrants, such as Honda, Ducati, Triumph, and BMW motorcycles made their mark in the Indian motorbike industry.
- So, the partnership decision, fortunately, opened new doors for Hero MotoCorp to take over this segment, though not directly. It also helps them have a more significant say in the capture of the premium brand market.
- It will be a joint effort of the robust brand presence and outlets of Harley and the existing sales relationship of Hero MotoCorp. As we already know the latter’s existing sales performance in low capacity engine segment products, so you can call this step a challenge for Hero MotoCorp.
- Now there’s a responsibility on Hero to manufacture motorbikes within 300-500 cc engine capacity and sell under the name of Harley Davidson.
- The significant share of Harley Davidson in India is due to the motorbike enthusiasts that it wishes to shift among commoners and the vital sales distribution service of Hero MotoCorp. Also, according to the licensing agreement, the current owners can avail the servicing from Hero dealerships.
So, it seems that the Project Rewire or Rewire Strategy of Harley is in full swing after the partnership decision with Hero MotoCorp. Even the brand restructured its product strategy while creating a new post for Chief Digital Officer.
Overall, we appreciate the intelligent step of Harley on maintaining its brand presence. Ultimately, we hope the results will be satisfactory as nothing can beat the strong distribution network of Hero MotoCorp in India. With this change, they are going to have a part in the premium motorbike segment throughout India.
Thus, let’s hope for the best and keep an eye on for what distribution practices Hero will follow to tackle this challenge.
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