Harley-Davidson has decided to close shop in India, both sales and manufacturing, in the world’s biggest motorcycle market. This is part of a restructuring program.
It took the iconic manufacturer took a decade to realize that its exorbitantly priced brand had failed to create a space for itself, which is a setback of sorts for the Modi government and its plan to encourage domestic manufacturing. The market has not been too tolerant with other global players either: Last year, Ford Motor Co ceased independent operations in India by entering into a joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra. General Motors, which clamped down on domestic sales in 2017, also plans to stop manufacturing and exports from India by the end of this year.
Harley-Davidson’s decision comes just two months after the company unveiled its strategy to shift focus to more profitable and high volume motorcycles and core markets such as the US. Sales of the company’s motorcycles in India were on a fall for nearly two years as the domestic automobile industry continued to struggle with volumes. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus further hit the domestic operations of the company. Harley-Davidson India sold less than 2,500 units in 2019-20 (Apr-Mar), less than 5% of the company’s total volumes, making India one of its worst-performing international markets.