Harley Exits World’s Largest Motorcycle Market

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By John Burns

In a form 8-K report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, Harley-Davidson disclosed its intention to discontinue sales and manufacturing operations in India. In 2007, according to Wiki, Harley-Davidson motorcycles were first allowed access to the Indian market in exchange for the export of Indian mangoes – which one Indian commentator called “mango diplomacy.” In 2009, Harley-Davidson India (a wholly owned subsidiary) opened its first plant, and was originally building 11 models on six platforms: Sportster, Dyna, Softail, V-Rod, Touring, and Street. Harley has at least 29 dealers in the Republic of India, which is the second-most populous country in the world (1.353 billion people), the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. There’s also a booming HOG and an annual Harley Rock Riders music tour.

Photo by Fotos593/Shutterstock.com

Harley reported its first quarterly loss in more than a decade for the one ended in June, and its new CEO, Jochen Zeitz, has been busily suturing and clamping all over in an effort to staunch the bleeding. The former CEO of Puma, as part of “operation Rewire,” has been attempting to scale back H-D production to its core markets, shrink inventory to bolster pricing, and scale back overseas expansion.

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So far, Rewire has uprooted about 500 positions globally; Zeitz says regional offices have been streamlined and now have more freedom to make local decisions. “This enables us to invest in the products and platforms that matter the most, while better balancing our investment in new high potential segments.”

Photo by Harley-Davidson India

According to the Economic Times of India here, Harley “sold about 2,500 units in India during the fiscal year ending March …read more

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