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After an extended journey, Harley-Davidson is leaving India

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By Karan Deep Singh

NEW DELHI — Harley-Davidson, the proudly American firm, is giving up on India due to weak gross sales, after greater than a decade of pursuing an enormous however in the end irritating place to do enterprise.

The closure has dealt a blow to India’s ambitions to lure producers, a marketing campaign modeled on China’s success known as “Make in India.” It has set again Harley-Davidson’s efforts to develop its reputation abroad. And it strands a small however devoted group of Harley devotees who’re questioning how they’ll preserve their prized rides rumbling.

“It’s like losing someone in your family,” mentioned Sandeep Bharadwaj, chief govt of a bus manufacturing agency, who spent greater than $40,000 on his Fat Boy motorbike. “We had a mental assurance that they were physically present and they could help us with spare parts.”

Any international producer fascinated about India has to discover organising store right here. The nation has a few of the steepest commerce limitations among the many world’s giant nations. President Donald Trump has repeatedly cited the excessive duties on Harley-Davidson bikes in his commerce negotiations with New Delhi.

India dropped the tariffs on Harley bikes from 75% to 50% in 2018. Still, the federal government prices an extra 31% tax on two-wheelers, one of many highest on the planet.

Harley-Davidson determined to place bikes collectively contained in the nation.

But gross sales dropped after an preliminary surge, and the India operation suffered from govt turnover. Harley-Davidson bought a complete of two,470 bikes in India within the 12 months that led to March, nearly half the quantity it reached 5 years in the past, in response to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, a nonprofit representing automotive producers.

The firm’s bikes additionally remained out of attain for a lot of. Harley’s high mannequin exceeds $88,000 in Delhi after taxes and licensing charges. That is 41 instances India’s common yearly earnings, in response to the World Bank.

Harley mentioned final month that it struck a deal to “sell and service” its bikes by Hero MotoCorp, a neighborhood firm, which it mentioned would additionally “develop and sell” bikes below the Harley model. With the closure of its personal manufacturing unit, the destiny of the Street 750, Harley’s most-popular bike in India, will not be clear. Harley can be shedding about 70 employees.

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