The world’s second-largest motorcycle market is being besieged by brands.
Latest to announce an assault on India is, ironically, Indian Motorcycles.
In recent years, brands as diverse as BMW, BRP (Can-Am Spyder), Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, MV Agusta, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha and Indian Motorcycles’ Polaris stablemate, Victory, have entered the world’s second-largest bike market after China.
Now Indian Motorcycles wants a crack with plans to sell their Indian Chief Classic, Vintage and Chieftain models.
While more than 12 million bikes are sold annually in India, most are small-capacity machines.
However, India’s growing middle class is yearning for bigger machines and snapping up machines such as the Harley Fat Boy, despite costing up to 40% more than in the US where they are made.
Sales growth in India for motorcycles with engine capacities of more than 300cc are up nearly 60% to the end of October, while the whole market is growing at a moderate 3.6%.
Some manufacturers have decided to either build complete bikes or assemble them in India to avoid punishingly high import duties.
Harley has now joined the fray with plans to build their new Street 500 and 750 in India.
However, Indian Motorcycles will export their three models as completed bikes.
Prices in India will be about $33,000 which is not much more than the $28,995 ride-away price for the Indian Chief in Australia.
Meanwhile, deliveries of Indian bikes to the first 111 Australians who paid $1000 deposits have begun.
They include Ken Hager, 65, of Attwood, Victoria, who drew “number 1” at an official preview function for the launch of the Indian Chief in Sydney in August.
His number 1 is stamped on his blue Vintage model, one of only 111 bikes in the world to have the special numbered plates.