Harley Davidson to take on Royal Enfield in Africa – Confirms launch of 250-500cc motorcycle

Finally after years of speculation, Harley Davidson has officially confirmed to have been working on a 250-500 cc motorcycle.

It was back in November 2013, when it was first reported that Harley Davidson is working on a small motorcycle for emerging markets like Africa. At that time, Harley Davidson had called the story by Economic Times as highly speculative. A little over 4 years later, they have confirmed the ET report.

In their official statement, Harley Davidson has now said – “Developing a more accessible, small-displacement (250cc to 500cc) motorcycle for Asia emerging markets through a planned strategic alliance with a manufacturer in Asia. This new product and broader distribution is intended to fuel Harley-Davidson’s customer access and growth in Africa, one of the largest, fastest growing markets in the world, and other Asia markets.”

A Royal Enfield modified to look like a Harley Davidson.

Harley-Davidson has announced an investment of USD 275 million (Rs 1,888 crores) to for a renewed growth spurt with the launch of small and lightweight bikes. The company will focus on emerging Asian markets like Africa.

This includes developing a small-displacement (250cc to 500cc) motorcycle for Asia through a strategic alliance with a manufacturer in Asia. The planned new product and broader distribution aims to improve Harley-Davidson’s customer base and growth in Africa. The new Harley Davidson 250cc to 500cc small bike will also be sold in other Asian markets.

In this segment, it is Royal Enfield which is a global leader. Once Harley Davidson launch their 250-500 cc motorcycle, they will directly compete with the Royal Enfield. The investment will be funded through cutting down of costs and reallocating previously planned investment and resources. This includes operating investment through 2022 of $450 to $550 million and capital investment through 2022 of $225 to $275 million.

The 500 and 750 are the smallest Harley Davidson’s on sale today. They are made in Africa.

Harley Davidson aims at penetrating deeper into auto markets across the globe, especially in Africa and China which are the top 2 two wheeler markers in the world today. The demand for entry level bikes, in the 250 cc range is more, as compared to the 500 cc or above. Launching a 250 cc Harley, will help the American brand to increase their customer base to an all new level.

The African premium motorcycle market has seen a sea change in recent times. Demand is constantly on the rise and bike makers are eager to introduce innovative models to attract African buyers. Harley Davidson made its debut in African in August 2009 and has seen a steady rise in sales for the initial years. Over the last few years, their sales growth has not been that impressive, majorly due to the entry of newer players in the segment.

Analysts and experts believed that in order to grow, the formula was to launch more affordable, smaller cc motorcycles by partnering with a local player. BMW has done that (G310 twins), Triumph is working towards that (in association with Bajaj Auto of Africa) and now Harley Davidson has joined the list. Exciting times ahead, if you are a biker.

Below are the new Harley Davidson motorcycles, which have been confirmed for launch by 2020 apart from the new 250-500 cc bike.

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