Harley-Davidson may be a rich man’s toy in the West but in India, there is always the EMI scheme for anyone who wants to own the iconic motorcycle.

Harley’s wholly-owned subsidiary in India has so far sold around 2,000 motorcycles and out of that one-third were financed by bank loans, Harley-Davidson Managing Director for India, Anoop Prakash, told Business Line. Banks such as ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank offer interest rates of 11-12 per cent, the same it offers for luxury passenger cars.

“Banks appreciate the value of Harley-Davidson customers because they are largely self-made professionals, executives and entrepreneurs. The banks have given us the same kind of rates you would expect for a premium car buyer which is the first time any two-wheeler has received such preferential rates. Before we entered the market, the rates were 18-19 per cent but for our customers it is 11 per cent,” Prakash pointed out.

He said in India who buy Harley-Davidson motorcycles are in the age group of 35-40 years while the product itself is positioned as a “leisure bike’’ and indulged during the weekends. Prakash said the 883 CC Super Low model, which costs about Rs 5.5 lakh, is the largest selling bike in India. The costliest bike Harley sells in India is the 1800-cc “Street Glide’’ model, which costs Rs 25 lakh. The Rs 40-lakh ultra classic Electro-Glide CVO is the costliest Harley bike in the world, and the company has delivered a few of these bikes in India as well.

Local assembling

The price of Harleys is much lower now as the company has started assembling them in the country through the CKD route. Because of this, the company has been able to reduce the price of their models between 15 per cent and 20 per cent. A completely built unit (CBU) attracts a tax of 75 per cent but a CKD (completely knocked down) unit attracts a mere 10 per cent import duty. A total of nine out of 11 bikes are assembled in India.

Harley, which sold 2,000 bikes as of December 2012, has posted double-digit growth rates and expects to maintain it during the current year as well.

The company organises several events across the country like the India bike week and a few concerts throughout the year to promote Harley-Davidson in the country, Prakash said. Harley plans to expand to more cities in India and also introduce more models soon.

giriprakash.k@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 13, 2013)
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