Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tattooing their Brand on Americans:
Who Next?

For the business strategy class, we had an assignment on Harley Davidson. We were asked to compare Honda and Harley and then identify what factors resulted in Harley's success. The baby boomers were the target market for Harley. It became a brand for America and gained a special reputation in the heavy bikes segment. Harley focused its strengths and efforts into one niche market in the heavyweight segment; the super-heavyweight. Harley’s brand, an intangible resource, was a key competitive advantage that differentiated their product from Honda’s

To stay competitive, Harley was now going in for a geographical expansion. They sell in Japan and Europe. I received an email from a friend today that Harley plans to enter the Indian Market. I googled and found this news piece.

So, as I sit and type this, I wonder if an Indian entry would make sense for them?

The Pluses:
Booming Economy
Incresased disposable income
Attractoion of India to American brands ( Pizza Hut, McDonalds are a hit)

The Minuses
Where are the roads?
Indians to decide between style and performance.
Is there a market?

The article states that “The company is betting on the increasing attraction for high-end bikes, as seen in the interest in Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawazaki Ninja. Harley Davidson hopes that increasing disposable incomes in India powered by a booming economy will help it make the cult bike do well in India."

The bikes would be imported to India and would attract a 60% import duty. The price of Harley Davidson bikes in India then would be in the range of Rs 4 lakh to Rs 14 lakh. So, will it sell?

I think there will takers for that in the Metros. ( This will be a class, esteem product!)
But what concerns me is that are there roads in India good enough for these bikes. Perhaps they are in the metros.

We all know that the Honda bikes are technologically more advanced than Harley.
So will India select style over performance? I'll wait and watch. The lady in our team asked the guyz if we had the money which bike would we buy - A heavy engine Honda with power and superior technology or a Harley with power and style that cannot be matched.

I chose the former option but the team had mixed reactions! It’ll be interesting to know how Harley fares in India.


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