Facing flak from dealers, Harley-Davidson assures riders of 'smooth transition'
Harley-Davidson decision to exit India may have left many of its dealers fuming here but the company has signed an agreement with Hero MotoCorp which will enable the Indian two-wheeler-maker to develop and sell a range of premium motorcycles under the Harley-Davidson brand name in the country. On Saturday, Harley-Davidson India reaffirmed its commitment to its riders here despite the decision to pack up.
Harley Davidson had entered Indian shores more than a decade ago and while this was touted as a sign of the premium bike segment opening up here, never really managed to gain a sizable foothold. India accounted for 5% of global sales for the American company. Covid-19-related factors further compounded troubles the world over and as part of its 'Rewire' strategy, it announced it is discontinuing sales and manufacturing operations here.
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This, however, doesn't mean that prospective buyers won't have a chance to ride a Harley. "As we change our business model in India, we are pleased to be continuing our journey in the country together with Hero MotoCorp. We are working closely with Hero to ensure a smooth transition for our riders," said Sajeev Rajasekharan, Managing Director – Asia Emerging Markets & India, Harley-Davidson. "We are providing our riders with updates as available and have assured them that Harley-Davidson motorcycle, parts and accessories and general merchandise sales, as well as after-sale services, warranty and H.O.G. activities will continue from January 2021 onwards."
Hero MotoCorp will now also sell Harley accessories and general merchandise, riding gear and apparel through a network of brand-exclusive Harley-Davidson dealers and its existing sales network in the country.
Harley dealers here though aren't too pleased.
Earlier this month, many of these dealers came out to accuse Harley-Davidson of having left them 'in the dark.'
The company has reportedly announced a compensation package of ₹1,500 per sq. ft. with a 10% annual value-depreciated rate and a 6-month reimbursement of the margins of sale. "The support package given by the company is not equal to the loss suffered by us since August'20 after the lockdown was lifted and till Hero comes on board which will be atleast another 6 months," a dealer had said. (Full report here)