Harley may ride with Hero Moto for India ops

  • 11 months ago
  • news
  • 1
NEW DELHI: It could be a Hero and Harley Davidson partnership in India as the American cult bike maker re-orients its India strategy and looks at a “strong, credible, local partner” to grow its business in a market where it expected high growth, but found the going tough on price-sensitivity of buyers and weak local component linkages.
Harley is also understood to be wooed by Mahindra & Mahindra and had some discussions with Bajaj Auto, though the two companies denied any such development.
Sources said Harley Davidson, which is in the process of scaling down its India operations and local factory as part of new CEO Jochen Zeitz’s ‘The Rewire’ strategy, may well join hands with Hero Moto, the development coming months after Hero chairman Pawan Munjal had told TOI that, “If they want to (enter into a partnership), then why not? Sure… I am open to the right kind of match.”
Sources also cautioned, “It is still some time away before a deal can be seen as concluding. It can still go in any direction, and last-minute changes and even new partnerships cannot be ruled out.”
Questions sent to Bajaj Auto and Mahindra & Mahindra on a possible deal did not evoke a response. Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj said, “No comments” on the matter, while spokespersons for Mahindra group and Hero Moto said, “We have no comments to offer on market speculation.” Harley Davidson India officials refused to make any comment on the matter.
“Hero group is a tremendous partner and had a near 26-year-old fruitful partnership with Japan’s Honda. This speaks volumes about their ability to continue successfully with a different company,” a source said, adding that Hero will also fulfil Harley’s desire to develop midsized engine premium motorcycles that can’t be sold in India and overseas.
In fact, Hero’s Munjal was very candid in his desire for a partnership with Harley in his previous interaction. “The sooner it happens, it’s good for everyone.”
Sources said that it is felt that Bajaj is “already laden” with premium partners such as Triumph and KTM, while Mahindra group is “still to mature as a two-wheeler company” and as a “credible long-term partner”. India’s troubles with China could also play a part in prompting a deal sooner. In June last year, the company had partnered China’s Qianjiang Motorcycle Co to build a new smaller motorcycle. “It’s better to firm up a deal with a stronger local partner,” the source said.

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