American premium motorbike manufacturer Harley Davidson is reported to be planning to foray into the lucrative 250-500-cc bike segment, a move that might help it tap more into emerging markets like India. The bike maker is said to be scouting for a strategic partnership with an Asian bike maker to manufacturer motorcycles in this fast-growing segment, currently dominated by home-grown Royal Enfield, according to a news
report in the Economic Times.
This is not the first time an international motorcycle brand has sought to get into a strategic partnership with local manufacturers to roll out its customised offerings in line with local demands. Earlier, among others, BMW tied up with TVS and KTM with Bajaj Motors. Harley Davidson’s British counterpart Triumph has a strategic tie-up with Bajaj. However, the bike maker has only brought its premium offerings to India; it has not launched or announced any plan to enter lower engine capacity bike segments.
According to the Economic Times, which quoted Harley sources, the 250-500cc motorcycle segment in India is expected to grow at more than a 25 per cent annual rate through 2021, which presents a big potential growth opportunity. The 250-500-cc motorcycle market in India grew to 833,000 units at the end of FY18, accounting for 6.6 per cent of the overall motorcycle market.
In this fast-growing segment, Eicher Motors’ Royal Enfield is the only major player and it controls around 95 per cent of the market. Other local manufacturers like Bajaj Auto and TVS have gained some popularity in this segment with recent launches. Bajaj launched the performance-centric bike Dominar 400, which the company markets as a performance cruiser. TVS, on the other hand, launched a 310cc bike the TVS Apache RR 310, which is an entry-level sports bike. In terms of engine capacity, both these bikes comes under 300-400 cc category, yet they are directed to different audience that diversifies the segment outlook, which was once only known for cruiser bikes manufactured by Royal Enfield.