The Journal Sentential is reporting that Harley-Davidson has given serious thought to building a manufacturing plant or rather a motorcycle assembly plant somewhere in India for the purpose of lowering the almost 100% tariff on imported heavyweight motorcycles. Currently the HOG has 3 dealerships in India with plans to open 2 more in the fall.
The high import tariff prices Harley-Davidson's out of reach of most of the market in India. A Sportster, the lowest priced HD in the states is currently $!4,000 in India, double that of a similar model in the USA.
Harley-Davidson has said that with shrinking domestic sales, it must look overseas to markets like China and India for growth, which rank number 1 and number 2 respectively in the two wheel consumer market.
Heavyweight bikes, however, make up less than 1% of two wheel sales in those developing markets.
Harley-Davidson expects that assembling the bikes in India would result in lower tariff's on the brand but could not say by how much. Rod Copes, Harley-Davidson's senior vice president of international sales, marketing and business development was quoted in the story as saying, "There isn't a generic rule on this. The Indian government would decide how much the tariff would be reduced if Harleys were assembled using local labor."