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Friggin’ Economies of Scale

In Harley-Davidson's desperate search for volume sales, Will there be a smaller Harley-Davidson X210 in India?

by Ujjwal Dey with images & illustrations by Wayfarer

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Hero MotoCorp boss with the Harley-Davidson boss
Hero MotoCorp boss with the Harley-Davidson boss is rumored to be powered by the same 210cc single-cylinder engine found in the Hero Karizma XMR.

Harley-Davidson made waves in Indian market recently, with launch of the X440. It’s the only single-cylinder-powered motorcycle in Harley-Davidson's modern lineup. It’s aimed at entry level riders, those on a tighter budget, and bite into Royal Enfield's market share for middle-weight motorcycles.

X440 is priced at Rs 239,000, or about $2,871 USD approx., and considered to be a premium model but beyond the financial reach of most Indian motorcyclists.

It's already the smallest engine – perhaps too small of an engine – to be considered a ‘real’ Harley for those who can actually afford to buy it.

Also, Indian market is dominated by commuter motorcycles with engines smaller than 250cc. So, machines such as H-D X440 are ‘premium motorcycles’ with a premium price tag for the middle-class masses of India.

X440 technically wears a Harley-Davidson badge, but is produced by Hero MotoCorp, the exclusive India partner and distributor for all Harley-Davidson motorcycles in India. Though Hero handles the manufacturing of X440, their industry reputation is in small displacement bikes.

In Harley-Davidson's desperate search for volume sales—is a smaller Harley-Davidson X210 going to break-cover in India? As such, given the success of X440, it is not too much of a surprise that an even smaller Harley-Davidson would be the greedy outlook of the two partners.

A rumoured Harley X210 may share the same design elements as the current X440. The smaller H-D is rumoured to be powered by the same 210cc single-cylinder engine found in the Hero Karizma XMR.

For those in love with the brand-image of Harley-Davidson, the culture, it may be surprising that a smaller Harley-Davidson of the same nature as that of the X440 would be in the works.

If true, would anyone buy the V-Twin motorcycles of Harley-Davidson in India?

Imagine this-- you have a luxury sedan from Mercedes. You drive it to office, to events, vacations and park it in the driveway of your home. Then your neighbour drives in his brand new mini-Mercedes of 800cc engine. What would be the brand-worth of your luxury car standing next to the same brand's badge on a smaller 'cheap' car?

No, Mercedes hasn't launched a brand killer of that sort, but Harley-Daivdson and its top management seem determined to destroy their brand and all its value in international markets.

Refer below articles regarding luxury goods sales in India and how Harley-Davidson’s primary V-Twin engines may become pariah in one of the strongest new emerging economies in the world:

A boot up your working-class ass and money in the bank
A boot up your working-class ass and money in the bank

Many buyers of Lamborghini in Indian Diaspora: CEO Stephan Winkelmann

"There are more (Indian) owners than we sell cars in India. What is a bit of a challenge today for the Indian market, for sure, is the high taxation we have for our type of products, and then, the infrastructure," Stephan Winkelmann told ET.

full story at:

Foreign luxury brands flock to India ahead of festive season; big labels look to tap into growing affluence of Indians

Hero had announced its intentions of entering the premium segment in the past, and Harley-Davidson imagines 440X and maybe a smaller engine as their entry into 'premium' segment in India.

Multiple Indian motoring publications suggest a smaller Harley-Davidson made by Hero is indeed in the works. They speculate that it’ll share the same powertrain as the re-launched Hero Karizma XMR, a sporty looking motorcycle revived by Hero to capitalize on X440 'premium segment' success.

While Hero MotoCorp may be correct in its outlook of tasting blood in 'premium' or 'middle-weight' segment market for motorcycles -- is this what Harley-Davidson wants to build its second-coming in India?

Royal Enfield's roadster branded as "Hunter"
Royal Enfield's roadster branded as "Hunter"

H-D had closed its office and forsaken all their authorised distributors of India in 2020.


Royal Enfield Hunter 350 crosses 200,000 units sales figures In less than 12 Months since launch.

'Most popular' product launched in mid-size motorcycle segment, says company

Hero Karizma XMR
Hero Karizma XMR

Hero ‘owns’ the commuter segment, and probably hopes to end the dominance of Royal Enfield in ‘premium bikes’ segment and battle the other mid-weight competitors such as TVS-BMW motorcycles and newly-launched Bajaj-Triumph motorcycles.

Hero Karizma XMR has a 210cc engine, and it's imagined to metamorphose into a Harley-Davidson X210 to compete against local big dogs such as Royal Enfield’s Hunter 350 and the Husqvarna 250 duo.

A 210cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine is expected to offer a maximum of 25 horsepower and 14 pound-feet of torque. Whereas the X440 at present pumps out 27 horsepower and 26 pound-feet of torque. Of course, the 210cc engine would most likely be tweaked and tuned and adapted for getting more torque at lower revs -- converting it into something suitable for a light-weight 'cruiser' if you can call it that.

In USA, Harley-Davidsons were known as a working-class man's motorcycles and old-timers there also complain of the ridiculous prices of its models at present and restrictions on repair and customizations -- especially during warranty period or during retro-fitting it with parts which will require technology exclusively available with H-D dealerships.

If Hero and Harley-Davidson release such a miniature model carrying the iconic American badge, the entry-level Harley-Davidson motorcycles of India could be priced at much below the Rs 200,000 mark (approx. $2,400 USD) -- maybe thus fulfilling the dream of the founders of Harley-Davidson company--- making a commuter bicycle that 'pedals' itself (no pun intended).

Riding High On The Hog

Two boyhood friends, 21-year-old draftsman William S. Harley and 20-year-old pattern-maker Arthur Davidson, in 1901, embarked on a quest to "take the work out of bicycling." Their dream was to build a motorized bicycle that would enable people to travel reliably and as fast as the technology of the time would allow.

Thus making Harley-Davidson motorcycles more accessible to a wider audience (in India) and boosting the sales for those at Wall Street and at Board of H-D and Hero, an old dream may satisfy the sea of commuters across the ‘ponds’ at India, as if it was 1901 all over again. Sadly or gladly, all of this is occurring in 120th year anniversary of Harley-Davidson. If anything, the funds that will flow toward the American company and through its ‘franchising’ of the iconic badge, the interim survival of the company is assured.

Refer Relevant previous article:

Invasion of the Small Capacity Engines
Small is Big: Motorcycles with less power, more styling, high sales volumes

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Reader Comments

Harley could sell more in the US if they sold bright shiny colors with chrome in addition to the drab flat colors they offer along with flat black, little chrome. Flat black is touted as fashionable but since when have Harley riders been fashionable?

Lots of us like bright and shiny but you don't offer shiny colors at all on many/most models, just drab dull "colors". I would never buy dull. Wake up.

On engine size, Harley should offer a US V-Twin identical to the 883 that weighs 400 pounds, bright and shiny, colors and chrome, $9,000, they'll sell a ton, and those buyers will trade up to a Sportster. Look like a Harley not bent over like a butt-up sportbike, rear fender over the tire not up in the air, somebody buying a Harley wants a Harley, they're not evaluating, comparing to Yamaha Honda Kawasaki & ADV. The 883 is perfect shape, look, design, it's physically too big, it's weight intimidating regardless of power.

But shiny color on all bikes, Harley must put shiny bright colors on the showroom floor all bikes, not dull flat black and not that awful gray which if people are buying it's the only shiny color you have.

Bud Roberts
Northern Virginia, VA
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Editor Response Got it, thanks.

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