Harley-Davidson to assemble bikes in India

Iconic American motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson will start assembling select models in India, making them about 20-25 % cheaper, in a bid to crack the booming Indian premium bike market dominated by Japanese brands. The upcoming facility at Bawal in Haryana will become operational in the first half of 2011 with an initial capacity to assemble 200 bikes per year.

The 70,000 square-feet plant will assemble select models including the popular Sportster family from kits of parts imported from the US factories of Harley-Davidson.

Completely knocked-down (CKD) kits attract a lighter net duty and taxes of around 60% compared to the 110% tax being levied on imported bikes.

A cheaper price tag will help Harley-Davidson make deeper inroads in the world’s second-largest two-wheeler market, where more and younger buyers are hopping on to premium bikes, driven by rising incomes and aspirations.

At present, Harley sells bikes with engine capacities of 883cc to 1500cc and priced in the range of Rs. 7.8-38.7 lakh. The company said it hopes to sell 100-200 bikes by the end of 2010, but did not disclose the number of units it has already sold.