Hardly Harley

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Now that Harley Davidson has announced its intention to exploit the growing market for motorbikes in India, a reasonable question to ask is: who will buy these bikes? The entry of premium bikes into India has usually invited disappointment. BMW brought in bikes and priced them at a point they thought reasonable. The astounding lack of demand ended in a closing sale where the entire lot of bikes sold for roughly Rs 2 lakh each—so low that in 2008, people who snapped one up in the fire sale, recovered their costs if they chose to sell their bike. Then came Ducati, priced from Rs 25 lakh for lower-end bikes to Rs 50 lakh for the most loaded. It, too, had trouble with sales. The son of a famous car designer—who drives an Italian sports car—said he thought the price of a Ducati insane.  However, Harley Davidson has priced its bikes between Rs 6.95 lakh and Rs 35.95 lakh, which isn’t too bad. But it is a bike meant for open roads, not squeezing between cars at a signal.