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According to MoneyControl, Premium motorcycle manufacturers have been trying for a while now to push for higher retail numbers in the sub-500cc segment. While some have done really well, others have struggled, and continue to struggle.
Some premium motorcycle manufacturers who have pushed for smaller capacity engines are BMW Motorrad, KTM, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda. We hear that there are two new players in the sub-500cc segment — British manufacturer Triumph, and American big-shots, Harley Davidson. Harley plans to launch these motorcycles some time during 2020.
A year ago, Harley Davidson announced it had plans to step in to the 250cc-500cc segment in the Asian markets. Harley already has the Street 500 on offer in global markets. India has the bigger 750cc version of the Street models.
Harley Davidson intends to tie up with local players for some of their manufacturing components. This will bring down manufacturing expanses and will help Harley to price these motorcycles competitively. Pricing, we know, it 'the' game changer.
Harley reported sales of 2,676 units for the financial year 2018-19. A significant drop in sales figures from two years ago where the company managed 4,708 units. Harley enjoyed the 'most popular premium motorcycle' crown when it launched in India, but has faced massive competition since.
Harley Davidson is also planning to launch a street fighter and an adventure motorcycle in the global markets during 2020. We could expect to see these motorcycles arrive in India too. The Indian market is slowly transitioning to adventure motorcycling at the moment, and Harley would like to capitalize where it can. Both these motorcycles are said to have engines smaller than 600cc.
Harley's entry level motorcycle is the Street 750. The motorcycle did well but now faces competition from the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. The real game changer here, the reason Royal Enfield is doing well with the 650 Twins, is the retail price.
If Harley manages to price the Street 500 (when it launches in India) at about the Rs 3 lakh (ex-showroom, India) mark, they might regain a small portion of the highly competitive segment. But this 'small portion' should be enough to help them built a better future in the country. At this price, the Harley Davidson Street 500 will be a threat to the RE 650 Twins, the BMW G 310 R, the KTM Duke 390 and the Honda CB300R.
Thoughts About Harley Davidson Wanting To Enter The Sub-500cc Segment
Well better late than never. Either way Harley has a big task in front of themselves. Pricing is not just about selling motorcycles at a great price, it is also about costs towards maintenance, and costs that customers incur post sales. Who would want a motorcycle that costs over Rs 2500 per service? Definitely not the masses.