Putting a rest to all the speculations on the Harley-Davidson Hero MotoCorp partnership in the country, both the two-wheeler brands announced a joint statement, stating that Hero MotoCorp will be offering sales and service support for Harley-Davidson motorcycles in India. Additionally, as part of a Licensing agreement, the release also mentioned that Hero MotoCorp would develop and sell a range of premium motorcycles under the Harley-Davidson brand name. Much like the arrangement that TVS Motor Company has with BMW Motorrad for developing and manufacturing the G 310 R and the G 310 GS motorcycles or the alliance between Bajaj Auto and Triumph Motorcycles, Hero MotoCorp too is expected to have a similar setting with Harley-Davidson.
Though more details are expected to follow soon, we believe the scale of operations and the economy of the manufacturing of Hero MotoCorp will be suitable for Harley-Davidson to enter the volume segment of motorcycles, given the expertise of Hero MotoCorp in this regard.
Entry-level Harley-Davidson / Flagship Hero MotoCorp motorcycle
This year, earlier this year, HD joined forces with Chinese motorcycle maker Zhejiang Qianjiang, the mother company to Benelli. The first-ever offering from this partnership could be a motorcycle based on the Qianjiang QJ350 and reportedly sold as Benelli 350 and the Harley-Davidson 338. At this point, it is too early to assume if Hero MotorCorp will also manufacture this entry-level Harley Davidson motorcycle or if the latter will develop an all-new platform for H-D. We believe there are strong chances of the latter. While the Indian two-wheeler giant has always had a strong foothold in the commuter segment, this tie-up should help Hero MotoCorp enter the premium space, provided the partnership allows Hero to develop motorcycles for its own brand.
Markets outside India
Presently, the agreement mentions Hero MotoCorp offering sales and service network for Harley-Davidson in India. However, Hero MotoCorp does have a strong presence in Asia, Africa, and South and Central American markets. We believe this will also give leverage to Harley-Davidson to enter these markets using the Hero MotoCorp network. There’s a strong chance of this happening as Harley Rewire’s plan mentioned re-evaluating strategies to narrow focus and invest in the markets, products, and customer segments that offer the most profit and potential. Further, we also believe that Harley-Davidson will retail the Hero developed motorcycles through its dealership network in the international markets.
Existing Harley-Davidson network in India
This arrangement is mutually beneficial for both companies and riders in India. It brings together the iconic Harley-Davidson brand with a strong distribution network and customer service of Hero MotoCorp. States the official release. However, it does not mention details of what happens to the existing Harley-Davidson dealers in the country. As we wait for more information from both the brands, it is being said that Hero MotoCorp will run the complete show and could also have a say in the operations and management of Harley’s dealership in the country, similar to how Bajaj Auto plans to take over the sales and distribution network of Triumph Motorcycles in India.