Harley-Davidson finally launches the long-awaited X440 entry-level motorcycle in India price range $2.29-269,000 (ex-showroom). Motorcycles are unique in many ways. The X440 is the most affordable motorcycle from the iconic American brand. It also marks a comeback for Harley-Davidson in the country. Plus, it was designed, developed and manufactured in India by Hero MotoCorp, which helped Harley-Davidson finally cross the country’s tariff hurdle.
Back in 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Harley decided to end its manufacturing operations in India, which was considered the end of the American car dream in India. The reason the country shut down manufacturing operations is that even for entry-level models like the Street 750, $534k (ex-showroom), Harley couldn’t build a supplier base for itself.
Also read: Harley-Davidson X440 launched: 5 things to know
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The level of localization of the entire Harley range sold in the country is rather low. Imported components lead to import tariffs that lead to higher overall costs. This ultimately hurt the company’s sales in the country, at a time when other premium motorcycle brands are ramping up localization efforts to achieve lower pricing. Low sales in India and high import duties have long plagued Harley.
Former US President Donald Trump said in 2019 that a 50% tariff on Indian Harley-Davidson motorcycles was unacceptable. Then, as part of the Rewire program, Harley-Davidson decided to partner with Hero MotoCorp to sell and distribute its motorcycles in India. Now, after more than three years of collaboration between the two companies, Harley-Davidson and Hero MotoCorp have launched the X440, marking the beginning of a new journey for the American brand in India. Harley hopes to overcome India’s high tariff hurdle with the new X440.
Not only for Harley-Davidton, but for Hero MotoCorp, the X440 is also a milestone product. The Indian two-wheeler brand has long been keen to enter the premium segment. It has been the undisputed leader in the commuting segment with its range of 100-125 cc motorcycles. Over the past few years it has tried to come up with a premium product by launching 160 cc and 200 cc models. However, these were not enough to place the brand in the elite league of high-end motorcycle manufacturers. The cooperation with Harley brought dawn to the company, and the X440 became a key product in the brand’s premiumization strategy. It will directly challenge the Royal Enfield Classic 350, which has long been one of the best-selling cars in India.
As Hero MotoCorp executive chairman Pawan Munjal said at the launch of the X440, the partnership with Harley is the company’s third chapter after partnering with Honda and renaming it Hero MotoCorp. Regardless, it’s clear that the X440 has a lot to offer both Harley-Davidson and Hero MotoCorp.
First published date: Jul 4, 2023 at 10:23 AM CST