The Telegraph
Saturday , December 28 , 2013
CIMA Gallary

Harley-rival Indian gets set to vroom

New Delhi, Dec. 27: Iconic motorcycle brand Indian will soon be revving up its engines for a ride in the country, throwing the gauntlet at global rivals Harley-Davidson and Triumph.

Iowa-based Polaris Industries, which owns the Indian brand, will launch the bike in India on January 22.

Though the details have been kept under wraps, sources said the company would be bringing three models, including the Indian Chief Classic.

The Indian bikes were manufactured between 1901 and 1953 in Springfield, Massachusetts, by a company initially known as Hendee Manufacturing Company and later renamed Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company in 1928.

Its most popular range were the Scout, made from 1920 to 1946, and the Chief, made from 1922 to 1953.

Indian Motorcycle went bankrupt in 1953 after which a number of firms tried to revive the company.

In 2011, Polaris Industries purchased the company and relocated the operations from North Carolina to its facilities in Minnesota and Iowa.

Since August 2013, the company has built three models based on Indian’s traditional styling.

The Chief, which was first introduced by the company in 1922, has been the most iconic model.

In its present form, the motorcycle comes with cruise control, anti-lock braking system, keyless starting, and electronic fuel injection. It has a six-speed transmission and manually-adjustable single-shock swingarm (the rear shock-absorber).

The other two bike models to be introduced are Indian Chief Vintage and Indian Chieftain.

According to industry insiders, all the three bikes will be priced between Rs 10.55 lakh and Rs 22 lakh.

Though initially the bikes will be brought to India as completely built units, the company may later assemble the bike in India, depending on the demand.

Dealer network

At present, Polaris sells all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in India and will introduce the Indian bikes through these outlets.

In Auto Expo 2012, Polaris officials had said they would bring its Victory brand of bikes to India, but no decision had been taken.

Sources said Polaris would ultimately have a separate dealer network and outlets for its Indian and Victory bikes and directly compete with Harley-Davidson and Triumph in the niche segment.

Primarily recognised as 1000cc touring bikes in the US, the prices of the Victory and Indian models range from $13,000 to $35,000.

Foreign players are turning to India for their high-end premium bikes, either directly or through tie-ups with domestic partners.

Triumph has set up a wholly owned subsidiary and will start delivering its bikes from January, aiming to sell around 500 units in the first six months of launch.

BMW AG’s motorcycle division and TVS Motor recently announced a deal to jointly develop bikes.

The deal will give the Indian bike maker access to BMW’s technology and the international auto major an Indian partner to set up base in the country.