American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson (H-D) has announced today, September 24, that it is most likely to close its factory in Bawal, Haryana and cut operations at its Gurugram sales office to a large extent. However, Harley will provide after-sales support to owners through its existing dealership network. It is estimated that 70 employees will lose their jobs in this restructuring process.
As part of its Rewire strategy, the company is exiting quite a few international markets by the end of 2020, after incurring large losses. In fact, H-D has also axed its Bronx platform which had been in development since a while, leaving no digital trace of the motorcycle.
According to media reports, Harley Davidson India has sold only 2,500 motorcycles in the past financial year, making it one of the worst performing markets for the brand globally. Thus, it plans to slowly and steadily walk out of India but confirms that it will not leave its current customers stranded. All dealerships will remain functional till the end of contract.
As for the future, H-D plans to implement its Hardwire strategy, which includes the brand working with Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycles, the parent company of Benelli, to produce and sell the 338R in Southeast-Asian markets such as Thailand and Indonesia. Harley says that their focus will be its core market, the United States, and reinvigorating the brand and its image in the market.
The chances of Harley-Davidson coming back to India in the future look bleak. In fact, as per recent statements, its global future seems to be uncertain. The five-year Hardwire plan is Harley’s last resort to remain functional.