Harley-Davidson Exits India Market

As part of a restructuring, the company said it was closing its plant in Bawal, Haryana.
Lauren MuskettSeptember 24, 2020
Harley-Davidson Exits India Market

Harley-Davidson is discontinuing sales and manufacturing in India after more than a decade trying to break in to the world’s largest motorcycle market.

In a statement, the company said it was changing its business model and evaluating options to serve customers as part of a previously announced “rewire” of its operating model and business structure.

In July, chief executive officer Jochen Zeitz announced Harley-Davidson was reducing its product portfolio by 30% and investing in 50 markets with growth potential in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia Pacific.

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India had been one of the markets that the company was committed to. The company said the decision to discontinue was pushed through after August 6.

Harley has not grown its retail sales in the United States in 14 quarters.

As part of the restructuring, the company said it was closing its plant in Bawal, Haryana. It is also significantly reducing the size of its sales office in Gurgaon, south of New Deli. It recently laid off 70 employees.

Harley said expects restructuring costs of $75 million connected to the India exit. It said it expects total restructuring costs of about $169 million in 2020; however, the company has warned that the restructuring program is likely to incur more charges.

Zeitz has said the rewire would be followed in 2021 by a new strategic plan, “The Hardwire,” designed to build the Harley brand.

Harley entered the India market in 2009, but its sales there accounted for just 5% of its sales globally.

The company’s stock has fallen more than 37% year-to-date.

Last year, Ford Motor announced it was entering into a joint venture with Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra as part of an effort to scale back its operations there. General Motors announced it would stop manufacturing and imports from India by the end of 2020. It stopped domestic sales there in 2017.

Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images