NEW DELHI: A day after it announced shutting down its India plants, American bikemaker Harley-Davidson is said to be in advanced talks with India’s largest two-wheeler company Hero MotoCorp for a strategic alliance in the market.
According to a Reuters report citing sources, Harley is in talks with Hero to enter into a distribution arrangement that will allow the Indian company to import and sell Harley bikes as its sole distributor.
Queries sent to Hero MotorCorp regarding the tie-up remained unanswered.
Speculation has been rampant that the legacy brand was looking for a local partner to remain present in the world’s largest two-wheeler market. Harley’s main competetor, UK’s Triumph Motorcycles, has already formed a non-equity long term partnership with Bajaj Auto to introduce mid-size motorcycles for India and the global markets.
TVS Motor too has a partnership with Germany’s BMW to develop mid-engine size motorcycles. But, Harley had on Thursday, said it is closing its manufacturing facility in Bawal (Haryana) as it looks to shift its focus back to more profitable motorcycles and core markets. Experts feel a tie-up can turn into a win-win situation for Harley and Hero.
“Demand for 350-700 cc bikes remains strong in India. Harley is a very strong and aspirational brand while Hero is massive in size and reach. If they are able to bring fresh and price competitive products, it will have huge potential to succeed,” said a senior auto analyst.