The love affair between India and Harley-Davidson grows
It’s no secret that India loves Harley-Davidson, in the past I’ve posted more than a few articles and mentions of the open arms that Harley-Davidson has received in a country dominated by two wheel travel. The Asian market (India is considered Asian) is a major focus for Harley-Davidson at the moment, and it’s not like they’re trying to crack the market, they already have…now they’re trying to dominate it within their niche. Countries like India and Australia were the prime reason for the development of the Street 500, because of restrictions on engine size for new riders.
But Harley-Davidson culture, more than anything is what has resonated with Indian riders. Long before Harley-Davidson showed up, India
was a motorcycling nation, influenced by the Royal Enfield and BSA brands that the British brought with them. Is it any wonder now that Indian motorcycle manufacturer Mahindra now owns those two brands? But what they don’t bring to the table was an existing brand culture that has survived company ups and downs, the economy, and stiff competition. Brand loyalty is something manufacturers strive to achieve and bank on to secure their share of the market. India despite it’s own economic and political ups and downs is still a nation that is loyal to those it holds in regard, and Harley-Davidson has much to be admired. From Sikh military veterans to upwardly mobile women, Harley-Davidson is poised to become the new measure of success and motoring individuality in India. What’s interesting to note is that Sikh motorcycle clubs which are predominantly H-D oriented are not limited to India alone…there are clubs in Canada and the U.S.
Unfortunately the western view of India is not as progressive as the country actually is. We still view India as a nation that is starving and over populated…a third world country. To some extent that’s still true, but the country in the last few decades has taken off in terms of manufacturing and technology and the wealth it brings. Even a bit of prosperity is all it takes for people to explore their individuality and express themselves on two wheels, and with that comes the bonding that is inherent when they get together with others. It’s no wonder India loves Harley-Davidson, it brings all that to the table and more. With it’s network of dealers, H.O.G. and community involvement, Harley-Davidson is a more personable company than most others. When you have that to offer, entry price point becomes less a factor as long as the gap isn’t too wide.
I read an article today from Rikth d’cruze in The Statesman, an Indian news service. He glowingly recounts the fascination with Harley-Davidson and the visions of riding one coupled with comments from those who own one. I can tell you from my conversations with Indian H-D enthusiasts that this is typical…they have the bug. And as a side note…they can’t fathom us putting the bikes away for a few months when the snow flies and more than one has suggested that I move, not for warmer weather, but for more riding.
You can read the article here…. http://www.thestatesman.com/news/supplements/va-va-vroom/173918.html