Harley Hints at Entry Level Model Made in India and Electric Bike

made-in-india-bikeWe can’t confirm it, but Gizmag is reported that during the recent 110th anniversary celebrations, Harley-Davidson H-D’s COO (Chief Operating Officer) Matthew Levatich said the brand is planning to release a 500cc model to appeal to entry level riders, and that it will probably be built overseas.  Levatich is quoted as saying, “We have Harley-Davidson factories in India and Brazil – can we leverage those facilities and expertise so it can get to the, for example, Indian consumer, faster?  These are things we are becoming more open-minded to, but we understand the importance of ‘made in America’ – the American quality, spirit and integrity that matters to the customer.”

Levatich also said he’s often asked about an “electric”  model.  “People would say ‘hell no’. But why not: our engineers are quite intrigued with the idea of what an electric Harley would look like, sound like and feel like. And would it be visceral, would it be emotional, would it be luscious. And there’s a way to do that I believe, and it would be very exciting.”

Industry insiders speculate that the threat of a revived Indian Motorcycle Co is the reason Harley-Davidson is exploring every potential avenue to reverse its shrinking demographic base by attracting younger riders who may not care about where a bike is manufactured.

Read the report at Gizmag here

As Harley-Davidson Prepares for An Indian Revival it Drops Road Glide From Lineup.

harleydavidsonroadglideultra-600Harley-Davidson officials confirmed in an investor conference call Thursday that it intends to discontinue the FLTRX Road Glide Custom and the FLTRU Road Glide Ultra from its 2014 model line up.   Senior vice president and CFO John Olin said the decision was part of the company’s typical process of bringing models in and out of the lineup each year as it introduces new bikes.  “While those two Road Glide models are strong for us, they represent a relatively small portion of our touring sales,” Olin said in the investor call. “We don’t expect any large impact for taking those two models out for the next model year.”

HD’s Chief Operating Officer Matt Levatich told the Milwaukee Business Journal the decision to discontinue those models was so the company could plan ahead for their business and “manage customer expectations.  HD officials say the cuts would not have a material impact on sales going forward.

CEO Keith Wandell told MBJ Harley management isn’t taking the competition lightly, but “we believe the way we’ve positioned our company and how we’ve transformed product development and the pipeline of products we have coming … Our job is to just bring great products to market and make sure we’re winning with great products.”

Wandell gave props to Polaris for picking Sturgis to relaunch the once famous brand. “I think they’ll get certainly a lot of traffic, a lot of folks looking,” Wandell told me. “But it’s just going to be folks that are at Sturgis. I think when we then unveil our new products a couple weeks later, I think it’ll more than offset what’s been done there.”

Harley-Davidson Kit Assembly Operations in India

Company to Assemble Select Models at Facility in India  from U.S.-Supplied Assembly Kits

Kits from the USA will be assembled into complete bikes in India

Milwaukee, Nov. 2, 2010 – Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) is moving forward with the launch of operations in India to assemble motorcycles for the Indian market from component kits supplied by its U.S. plants, the Company announced today. The Company expects the CKD (complete knock-down) assembly facility to be operational in the first half of 2011.

The announcement comes as President Barack Obama prepares to travel to India on a state visit focused on trade and business opportunities between the two countries.

“CKD assembly operations in India are a natural next step for Harley-Davidson as we build our brand presence around the world,” said Harley-Davidson Motor Company President and Chief Operating Officer Matthew S. Levatich. “This investment will allow us to improve our market responsiveness and production flexibility while reducing the tariff burden, which we expect will drive growth over time by making our bikes more accessible to India’s consumers. Given the strong response we have received in the initial months of retail operations, we believe this is the right investment for this important market,” Levatich said.

To date, Harley-Davidson India has been importing completely assembled motorcycles from the Company’s U.S. final assembly plants. Once the Indian CKD assembly facility in the Indian State of Haryana is operational, Harley-Davidson India will import CKD kits for select current models, consisting of components produced by Harley-Davidson’s U.S. plants in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Missouri and by the company’s suppliers. Indian employees at the Haryana  facility will then assemble the components into finished motorcycles. Other models will continue to be imported as completely built motorcycles for now.

India will be the second country in which Harley-Davidson has CKD assembly operations outside the U.S., after Brazil where the Company began assembly operations in 1999.

“We are committed to global growth and growth in India for the long term,” said Levatich. “India’s rapidly growing economy, rising middle class and significant investment in construction of new roads and highways are paving the way for leisure motorcycle riding.”

“We are building a strong foundation for our business in India, first by establishing a world-class dealer network, and now by commencing CKD assembly operations” said Anoop Prakash, Managing Director for Harley-Davidson India. “It is important for us to continue to invest in strategies that make our products and experiences accessible to an increasingly broader set of customers across India.”

Harley-Davidson India commenced operations in August 2009 and opened its first dealership in July 2010. The Company currently offers 12 models in its 2010 line-up in India, available through authorized dealerships in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad. For more information, visit the Harley-Davidson India web site at www.harley-davidson.in.