Harley Davidson forays into entry-level 250-500cc class motorcycles

Harley Davidson Pan America Announce

First, the company announced that "a new modular 500cc to 1250cc middleweight platform" spanning three different segments and four displacements is on the way.

The company also plans an electric range by launching its first such motorcycle LiveWire next year.

The company said LiveWire will be followed by more "twist and go" electric two-wheelers over the next few years, with lighter and smaller models already planned. Harley-Davidson will also open smaller storefronts in urban areas.

Harley will develop motorcycles with smaller engines of 250cc to 500cc for Asia, including India, which the company said was one of its fastest growing markets in the world.

"The bold actions we are announcing today leverage Harley-Davidson's vast capabilities and competitive firepower - our excellence in product development and manufacturing, the global appeal of the brand and of course, our great dealer network", CEO Matt Levatich said in a statement.

Harley-Davidson's plans are expected to intensify competition for Eicher Motors Ltd's Royal Enfield, which is a segment leader and has nearly no competition as yet in the domestic market.

Harley-Davidson has some very big plans ahead.

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US-based firm Harley-Davidson plans to put a brake on Royal Enfield's plans with its strategic move to come out with motorcycles in the small and mid-sized segment. It will kick-start with the launch of its first electric motorcycle, LiveWire in 2019.

And Harley Davidson is scouting for an Asian partner for its mid-capacity motorcycle foray. "The company expects to fund strategic opportunities while maintaining its current investment and return profile and capital allocation strategy".

The announcement by Harley comes after three consecutive years of declining sales in India. But they're typically bought by older riders. There's also an e-bike and scooter concept, both of which reference Harley-Davidson's sensible commuter options (many of them rebadged Euro machines) which were common enough until the Japanese took over the market in force in the late '60s and early '70s, with cheaper, more reliable options.

Harley-Davidson has been in the media recently for its overseas production and battle with President Trump.

Invoking the "i" word, Levatich goes on to say, "Harley-Davidson is iconic because we've never been static".

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.

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