Your dream Harley-Davidson may soon be available to you at a more accessible price tag. As per a new report from LiveMint, the Indian government may reduce the import duty to “a single-digit” for imported motorcycles which have an engine displacement above 1,600 cc. However, right now it is not clear if the government will reduce the tariffs on all imported motorcycles or only on products from the USA. If it is not just a US-exclusive deal, motorcycles from the UK (Triumph), Germany (BMW Motorrad) and Japan (Honda) will also benefit from the tariff cut.
The US President Donald Trump has been known for his eccentric demands and rather vocal personal views. Trump’s “good friend” had reduced the import duty on CBU (completely built units) from 100% to 50% in February 2019. In response, Trump called India a tariff king and had said the recent cut was “unacceptable” and that the rate was still “too high”. He had also threatened to increase tariffs on India-made motorcycles.
Incidentally, while reducing the import duty on CBUs, the Indian government had increased import duties on CKD (completely knocked down) motorcycles from 10% to 15%. Most of Harley-Davidson motorcycles retailed in India are brought via the CKD route. Hence, if the changes are made only to CBU products, it won’t impact most customers.
At present, Harley-Davidson manufactures two motorcycles in India (three if you consider the Street 500), assembles 11 motorcycles as CKD and imports four products as in CBU form.
Global sales for Harley-Davidson in 2019 continued its downward trend for the third year in a row. Last year it sold 2,28,424 units, down by 4.6%. In India volumes dropped by over 25%, while the US market saw the numbers drop by 5.2%.
Several media reports also suggest that Harley-Davidson is in talks with Hero MotoCorp for a partnership to locally manufacture products.