New Delhi: Harley-Davidson has launched its first Indian dealership as it pitches the “freedom of the open road” in a nation with some of the world’s most congested traffic, the US company said Saturday.
Harley-Davidson, the iconic heavyweight motorcycle maker, launched its first outlet in the southern city of Hyderabad on Friday and plans to open more across the country, the company said in an emailed statement.
“We look forward to initiating a new era of motorcycling,” said Anoop Prakash, managing director of Harley-Davidson India.
The Milwaukee-based company, whose brand was made famous in the movie “Easy Rider”, is using the slogan “Hear the Roar!”.
Prakash said bike is well suited for Indian roads due to its weight and hulking design, adding that the company plans to launch in other cities before the end of the year, including capital New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai.
But while India is the world’s second-largest motorcycle market, most sales are of small, inexpensive bikes that can weave through traffic in India’s clogged cities easier than a 1500cc Harley “Fat Boy”.
India does have open roads outside the large cities but many are potholed and make for less than easy riding.
The bikes, which loyal riders affectionately nickname Hogs, are made in the United States and shipped to India where they face hefty custom duties.
The cost of the bikes in India start at Rs6,95,000 ($14,917) and range up to Rs34,95,000, said a spokeswoman.
Moving into India is part of Harley Davidson’s strategy to break into emerging markets as its customers in developed markets are ageing.
The company, which cites the lure of India’s rapidly growing economy and rising middle class, is launching 12 variants of the bikes in the country.