Har­ley-David­son in In­dia rides on rid­ers’ yen for thrill, leisure: Peter Macken­zie

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Peter Macken­zie

The US-based two-wheeler maker, Har­ley-David­son, is very bullish about the In­dian mar­ket ow­ing to its im­prov­ing road in­fra­struc­ture and the yearn­ing of more peo­ple for the thrill and leisure as­pects of rid­ing. “The in­fra­struc­ture in In­dia is im­prov­ing and we see a lot of peo­ple choos­ing to have the leisure part of rid­ing. This is re­ally good for us,” Peter Macken­zie, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Har­ley

David­son, In­dia and China, said in an in­ter­ac­tion with Sricha­ran R. Macken­zie was in Chen­nai for the for­mal open­ing of the 27th Har­ley-David­son out­let. On the side lines of the event, Macken­zie told Auto Com­po­nents In­dia that the fo­cus of Har­leyDavid­son was on life­style, ad­ven­ture and au­then­tic rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “We will con­tinue to con­cen­trate on these fac­tors for our con­tin­ued suc­cess,” he said in a brief ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion. The ex­cerpts: Q: What do you think about the bik­ing cul­ture in In­dia? Macken­zie:

In­dia is the big­gest twowheeler mar­ket in the world. The coun­try has a more younger pop­u­la­tion than in any other mar­kets. With the im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture and more ac­ces­si­bil­ity with deal­er­ships like this, we get more op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with the rid­ers.

Q: Many com­pa­nies make small and mid­sized bikes for the In­dian roads. Does Har­ley have any such plan? Macken­zie:

First, I can­not spec­u­late on the fu­ture prod­uct. But, when you think of Har­ley-David­son, our strength lies in tour­ing bikes. The heart and soul of Har­ley is the big V-Twin en­gine and we will con­tinue to fo­cus on that. That is where our strength re­ally is. Our re­cent­ly­launched bike in the Sof­tail plat­form is an ex­am­ple for that. It has a whole newly-en­gi­neered chas­sis com­bined with new Mil­wau­kee-Eight en­gines. That is where we are with big dis­place­ment en­gines. So, small dis­place­ment com­mut­ing bike is not where our strength lies. Again, I do not want to spec­u­late on our fu­ture prod­ucts.

Q: Would you speak more about your EV Live Wire. When will you launch it in In­dia? Macken­zie:

We will launch the Live Wire in an­other 16 to 18 months, but we do not know whether the prod­uct will come to In­dia. It de­pends on In­dia’s in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port elec­tric tech­nol­ogy like charg­ing sta­tions. As a com­pany, we will have the elec­tric ve­hi­cle in our line-up.

Q: Is it pos­si­ble for In­dia to make all ve­hi­cles elec­tric by 2030? Macken­zie:

Ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble, but the suc­cess will de­pend on the in­fra­struc­ture. EVs are im­por­tant, but we need coal-fired power plants to pro­duce elec­tric­ity. This cre­ates an off-bal­ance. There are nu­mer­ous such fac­tors in­volved to make this suc­cess­ful. And, I can­not spec­u­late whether it will be vi­able in the next com­ing years.

Q: How do you see the com­pe­ti­tion in the In­dian mar­ket. Many OEMs are mak­ing high ca­pac­ity cruis­ers as well? Macken­zie:

I see this as an in­di­ca­tor that there are more mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties in In­dia. The next few years are go­ing to be growth years for the seg­ment. But to face the com­pe­ti­tion, we have to play on our strengths. For ex­am­ple, Royal En­field en­joys a good her­itage in In­dia, but with Har­leys, it is the whole life­style ex­pe­ri­ence that mat­ters. We are also big on cus­tomi­sa­tion which other mak­ers do not pro­vide on a larger scale.

Q: What is the road ahead of Har­ley-David­son in In­dia? Macken­zie:

With is­sues like GST, de­mon­eti­sa­tion and im­port du­ties be­hind us, we ex­pect more sta­bil­ity in the mar­ket in 201819. We are plan­ning to open at least 3 more deal­er­ships to make our­selves more rel­e­vant and ac­ces­si­ble to the po­ten­tial cus­tomers. We have launched Sof­tail in In­dia re­cently. These and the pre­vi­ous Dyna plat­forms are now merged and in March we in­tro­duced 2 new vari­ants- Sof­tail Deluxe and Sof­tail Su­per Low. We will con­cen­trate on them now.

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