Polaris India to capitalise on Harley-Davidson exit

Polaris India to capitalise on Harley-Davidson exit

16th Oct 2020 7:00 am

The company that owns Indian Motorcycles, confirms its commitment to India.

Harley-Davidson recently announced the closure of its wholly-owned subsidiary in India, but its chief rival that also comes from the United States of America, says that it has no intentions to do the same. 

  • Indian Motorcycles is the only rival to Harley Davidson when it comes to American V-twin cruisers

  • BS6 Indian Motorcycle line-up to go on sale in December

  • New Indian Challenger to launch, early next year

While Harley-Davidson’s ongoing financial woes have most recently resulted in the announcement of the closure of its wholly-owned subsidiary in India, its other rival from America is doing much better for itself. While much smaller than Harley, Indian Motorcycles is the iconic American brand’s closest competitor, and its parent company Polaris just announced record sales worldwide. Polaris’ success is thanks to a massive surge in people looking for recreational vehicles in the COVID era and the company currently finds itself struggling to meet the demand.

Polaris in India

Lalit Sharma, Country Manager, Polaris India, tells us that the company remains committed to the Indian market. Sharma pointed out that the company already employees around 150 IT engineers in its Bengaluru premises that service Polaris’ businesses across the globe. In addition, the company has a sourcing office based in Coimbatore that serves the global business as well. Polaris also supplies the Indian armed forces with a number of vehicles like its ATV, Side-by-Side and snowmobile ranges. 

Harley’s loss is Indian’s gain

As for motorcycles, Sharma tells us that what has happened with the Harley-Davidson India business is unfortunate, but it is undoubtedly an opportunity for Polaris. He added that the company has seen an uptick in bookings since the Harley news broke, which isn’t surprising given that Indian Motorcycles is the only other option for authentic Americana-style, big V-twin cruisers. Strangely though, Polaris will not be expanding the Indian Motorcycle dealer network next year and the company believes its current 8 dealers spread across state capitals is enough to serve the current premium motorcycle range. 

It is worth noting that while Harley-Davidson has formally closed its India business, there is still a possibility that the bikes may continue to be sold here as CBUs via an as of yet unannounced Indian partner. Whether this will happen is presently unclear, but all of the company’s dealerships will remain open for the duration of their contracts and many have BS6 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in stock.

BS6 Indian motorcycles launching in December

Indian Motorcycles has thus far had no BS6 compliant motorcycles for sale, but the company plans to have its BS6-compliant range in showrooms by mid-December 2020. This includes the likes of the Scout, Scout Bobber, Chieftain, Springfield and Roadmaster models, among others. We recently reported that Indian would also bring its brand new Challenger to India as well, but that has been delayed by a month or so and will arrive by January 2021. The Challenger features an all-new liquid-cooled motor that is considerably more powerful than the air-cooled V-twins in either Harley or Indian’s line up.

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