It’s been rumoured for months, but it seems it’s going to become a reality: Harley-Davidson is planning to build a motorcycle in India.
This time, the news is coming from Zigwheels. They’re saying the machine is going to cost around $6,300 CAN, and will be smaller than any of Harley-Davidson’s current offerings, even the 883 Sportster. Supposedly, it’ll be a V-twin between 400 cc – 500 cc V-twin. It should be introduced at New Delhi’s 2014 Auto Expo.
Harley-Davidson expects to sell 2,000 motorcycles in India in 2012; that’s not a huge number by Indian standards, and not a big chunk of Harley’s sales either. But the MoCo has already started building knock-down units in-country, and this news of locally-manufactured cycles is the next logical step. The bikes will still be luxury items in India, but they’ll be much more affordable than Big Twins, or even Sportsters.
This move would also give Harley-Davidson a model that’s much more attractive to buyers in other Asian countries as well, although we doubt any of the machines will make it to North America anytime soon.
No doubt some onlookers will decry this as the last blow towards made-in-North-America products, and say quality will suffer. That’s not necessarily true, though – India has plenty of motorcycle factory workers who know how to make ’em by hand. For an example, look no further than Royal Enfield’s beautiful hand-painted gas tanks. Not that a lack of automation guarantees quality – look no further than Harley-Davidson’s dark days in the AMF era for evidence.