The Telegraph
Thursday , February 6 , 2014
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Global bikers go local

- Auto giants vroom in with NEW models
Harley’s Anoop Prakash in Greater Noida on Wednesday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 5: Global bike majors are aggressively pursuing local assembly options of their big machines, buoyed by a 35 per cent growth in the premium segment.

America’s Harley-Davidson, which in the last two-and-a-half years sold around 4,000 motorcycles, today launched its locally assembled Street 750 at a very reasonable price of Rs 4.1 lakh. The bike is more than Rs 2.5 lakh cheaper than its next offering — Iron 883.

“With a price tag kept low, thanks to the localisation of the Street 750, we hope to make huge sales in smaller cities as well,” said Anoop Prakash, managing director, Harley-Davidson India.

Harley-Davidson’s first all-new platform in 13 years will come out with the Street 750 and Street 500. For the first time, the Street will be manufactured outside the US. So far, Harleys are assembled in only two countries outside the US — in India and Brazil.

The Indian plant in Bawal, Haryana, will also supply to Europe. The number of export markets will be gradually scaled up over 2-3 years.

Harley is not alone. Honda, which is a mass player in India and the biggest seller of scooters, has also decided to start manufacturing its CBR 650F in the country by 2015.

“Customer needs in India are evolving and we are all set to grab the opportunity with our new product line-up, which will include soon-to-be-launched CBR 650F — Honda’s largest displacement motorcycle for India, made in India,” Keita Muramatsu, president and CEO of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, said.

Others such as British motorcycle major Triumph, which recently entered India, are rethinking their strategies. “We will be expanding our manufacturing and we are going to make our smaller bikes in Karnataka,” said Vimal Sumbly, managing director of Triumph Motorcycles India. The company hopes to sell as many as 1,000 bikes in 2014. Triumph will open its Calcutta outlet in May.

Japan’s Yamaha, which has set a target to sell six lakh two-wheelers, said there were no immediate plans for local assembly. “However, we are not averse to the idea,” said Roy Kurian, vice-president, sales and marketing.

Two Italian marques, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi motorcycles, part of Piaggio Vehicles, made their debut at the Delhi Auto Expo.