Iconic bike: Emerging Indian market attracts Harley Davidson to open a subsidiary in India
US MOTORCYCLE maker Harley-Davidson said today it will begin selling its iconic bikes in India, pitching the "freedom of the open road" to some of the world's most densely populated cities.
A subsidiary has already been established outside New Delhi and sales are expected to begin next year, the firm said in a statement.
According to company president Matthew Levatich, the Harley-Davidson image of "self-expression, adventure, and the freedom of the open road" will resonate as strongly in India as anywhere else in the world.
But while India is the world's second-largest motorcycle market, most sales are of small, inexpensive bikes that are better suited to the clogged streets of cities like Mumbai and Kolkota than a 1500cc Harley "Fat Boy".
India does have open roads outside the large cities but many are in a condition that make for less than easy riding.
The market for Harleys will also be narrowed by hefty import duties that experts say could result in a price tag of around Rs2m ($40,000/£24,698) - more than twice the price in the US.
Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell said moving into India was part of a strategy to break into emerging markets and cited the attraction of India's rapidly growing economy and rising middle class.
"India is important to our vision of being a truly global company," Wandell said.
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