The partnership will allow the American brand to build and sell small-capacity bikes for the Asian market
- The first bike to come from this partnership would reportedly be a 338cc motorcycle.
- Scheduled to be launched in China first, by the end of 2020.
- India launch of the small-capacity Harley expected in 2021.
Harley-Davidson had earlier announced that it will partner with an Asian manufacturer to make low-capacity bikes for the Asian market. Now it has been revealed that the brand has tied up with China-based Qianjiang Motorcycle and the first product to come out of this partnership will be a 338cc bike. The maiden product under this partnership is scheduled to go on sale in the Chinese market first, by the end of next year. It will then be followed by other Asian markets, including India.
The American brand has teamed up with Qianjiang Motorcycle reportedly because of the latter’s expertise in developing small-capacity premium motorcycles, command in supply chain and know-how of developing markets. Chinese auto major Geely owns a majority stake in the motorcycle brand. Qianjiang Motorcycle is also the owner of Italian motorcycle brand Benelli. Benelli has tied up with Hyderabad-based Mahavir Group for its bikes in the Indian market.
Expect Harley to bring its small-capacity motorcycle to India by 2021. This would be the most affordable Harley next to the Street 750. We believe it could either be a roadster like the Royal Enfield Classic 350 or a small cruiser like the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X. Since it will be competitively priced, we wouldn’t be surprised if it packed a single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine.
That being said, if Harley wanted to maintain the premium quotient of a quintessential twin-cylinder motorcycle, a bored-out version of the Benelli TNT 300’s parallel engine does make good business sense for the brand. That’s because this engine is already being manufactured by the Qianjiang Group. In both cases, the engines are likely to come from China and the motorcycle could be brought into the country via the CKD (Completely Knocked Down) route. However, considering Harley already has a good vendor base and there’s still two year’s time, it is possible that Harley will heavily localise the motorcycle in India, just like how Kawasaki has done with the Ninja 300. If it’s a single-cylinder motorcycle, it is likely to be priced between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh; and if Harley takes the twin-cylinder route, a price point of about Rs 3 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh (all ex-showroom) seems reasonable.
Consistently dwindling global sales in the recent past has forced Harley to venture far away from the traditional cruiser genre into other uncharted waters. The tie-up will help it grab a piece of the highly lucrative small-capacity premium segment pie, improving the overall sales of the brand. Stay tuned to BikeDekho for more updates!
Image Credit: Newmotor.com.cn