Harley Davidson plans smaller bike with eye on India

Harley Davidson Pan America 1250

Harley-Davidson has announced a new strategy to take on global markets and push forward with electric motorcycles.

The new designs include a new modular 500cc to 1250cc middleweight platform of motorcycles that spans three distinct product spaces and four displacements, starting with the company's first Adventure Touring motorcycle, the Harley-Davidson™ Pan America™ 1250, a 1250cc Custom model and a 975cc Streetfighter model, all of which are planned to launch beginning in 2020.

Coming in 2019 is the LiveWire, Harley-Davidson's first electric motorcycle. This means better dealership network, improved retail experience, smaller stores for urban areas and more. Harley-Davidson plans to develop a 250-500cc motorcycle through a strategic alliance in Asia that will be used to primarily fuel its growth in India, the world's biggest two-wheeler market.

Harley is scrambling to steer through a year-long slump in United States demand as it grapples with an aging customer base and it is aiming to boost sales of its motorcycles overseas.

The new adventure-touring and streetfighter/standard models are a recognition of the strong demand these segments have in Europe, and will be a key element of Harley-Davidson's plans to grow overseas.

With an eye on India, Harley-Davidson has chose to go small at a time when it is caught in a bitter trade war initiated by US President Donald Trump.

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"We expect this plan will result in an engaged, expanded Harley-Davidson community with a more diverse rider base, along with industry-leading margins and cash flow", Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said in a statement.

While details are sketchy as of now, 2020 is said to be the year when Harley Davidson will start launching its all-new range of motorcycles targeted at younger buyers.

The company says that its new models are a survival strategy.

And Harley Davidson is scouting for an Asian partner for its mid-capacity motorcycle foray. Could this bike pave the way for smaller bikes to join the line-up as well? Through the years, Harley-Davidson will consolidate lower cc segments amidst having its eye out for full size cruisers and tourers to satisfy traditional customers.

At the same time, riders are getting older.

USA sales slid 6.4 per cent in the most recent quarter, and they're down 8.7 per cent at the halfway point of the year. That will give the company more broad distribution in the largest and fastest-growing motorcycle markets.