14 Mar 2016 12:34 IST

Harley-Davidson looks to promoting riding culture

Bets big on motorcycle tourism

US-based iconic cult bike maker Harley-Davidson Company has been investing heavily on network expansion, strengthening its footprint, promoting customer experience and riding culture and, above all, looking at motorcycle tourism in a big way, a top official of the company said.

The motorcycle major has, since its foray into India in 2009, introduced 13 motorcycle models (including the newly launched Sportster), sold over 12,000 motorcycles and recorded double-digit growth year-on-year, said Vikram Pawah, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson India.

Speaking to BusinessLine after inaugurating its first dealership ‘The Western Ghats Harley Davidson’ in the city and the second in Tamil Nadu, Pawah said: “Coimbatore holds huge potential. We are quite upbeat about the market potential considering the riding culture, road infrastructure and the prospects for motorcycle tourism here.”

The company has been looking at tier-II locations such as Coimbatore, Nagpur and Lucknow in recent years to promote leisure motorcycling.

“Incidentally, even before the formal launch of this outlet here, we have 60 owners of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Coimbatore,” Pawah said.

Manufacturing facility

The company has been assembling motorcycles in India at its CKD (Completely-Knocked-Down) assembly unit at Bawal in Haryana. (The CKD unit in India is the second facility outside the US; there is one in Brazil.)

“Eight of the 13 models are assembled here; Street is one model that is manufactured and sold not just in India but exported to Australia and South-East Asian countries,” Pawah said, without sharing details about the investment or manufacturing capacity.

While hinting that there is scope for enhancing the capacity of the plant in Bawal, he said: “we are at present operating one shift”.

The company is in the process of establishing a training centre in Gurgaon. Without disclosing the investment in this facility, Pawah maintained that the centre would become operational before December.

This centre would facilitate conduct of training programme for our dealers and staff, for “as we expand our footprints, we will also need trained personnel,” he said.

The dealership network of 21 — function as chapters.

The company organises five rallies every year including the India HOG Rally and four zonal rallies.

The southern zone rally is scheduled to take place next month at Bengaluru, he said.