For years, American motorcycle maker Harley Davidson’s sales have been dipping as the brand is yet to make a connect with newer motorcycle buyers – the millennials. Traditional Harley Davidson motorcycle buyers – the baby boomer generation in the United States – are getting to old to get onto Harleys, and this is perhaps the biggest reason why the motorcycle maker’s sales are tanking. Harley Davidson’s solution? Leverage its legendary brand value and get into affordable motorcycles with engine capacities between 250 cc to 500 cc, in other words one of the fastest growing motorcycle segments of the world – the mid-capacity segment.
And Harley Davidson is scouting for an Asian partner for its mid-capacity motorcycle foray. The 250 cc-500 cc Harley Davidsons will target Royal Enfield’s retro thumper range.
While details are sketchy as of now, 2020 is said to be the year when Harley Davidson will start launching its all-new range of motorcycles targeted at younger buyers. These motorcycles will include the 250-cc – 500-cc models, a new modular platform that will build bikes with engines between 750 cc and 1250 cc, and new categories of motorcycles including an adventure touring (ADV) machine and an electric cruiser.
For 2020, Harley Davidson has confirmed the all-new adventure tourer, called the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250, a 1250 Custom and smaller 975-cc Streetfighter machine. All these motorcycles will be built on the new, modular platform. Next year, Harley Davidson will launch its electric cruiser motorcycle – the LiveWire. Meanwhile, here’s a statement put out by Harley Davidson, about its new product plans including the 250 cc -500 cc affordable motorcycle,
“This new product and broader distribution is intended to fuel Harley-Davidson’s customer access and growth in India, one of the largest, fastest growing markets in the world, and other Asia markets. We anticipate leveraging our global manufacturing footprint to bring these future products to market globally. Specific details on which products will be manufactured at which locations is still to be determined.”
Harley Davidson is not alone. Over the past few years, there have been multiple tie-ups for mid-capacity motorcycles (250 cc-750 cc) right here in India. For instance, KTM and Triumph have tied up with Bajaj for small-capacity motorcycles while BMW Motorrad has tied up with TVS Motors. In fact, bikes from KTM and BMW Motorrad are already on Indian roads, and new brand such as Bajaj-Triumph and Husqvarna are all set to be introduced in India soon. Royal Enfield for its part, is venturing into multi-cylinder mid-capacity motorcycles – the 650 twins – which will be launched later this year.
It remains to be seen if Harley Davidson picks an Indian partner for the 250 cc – 500 cc motorcycle it seeks to introduce here. There’s a high likelihood of this happening. Meanwhile, Harley Davidson already produces the Street 500 at its Bawal factory in Haryana. The 500-cc Street is sold as an entry-level cruiser in the United States. Mid-capacity segment leader Royal Enfield could soon feel the heat as multiple motorcycle makers – all of them established giants – seek a bigger pie of the 250 cc-750 cc segment.