The new California factory will likely be operational later this year or in early 2019 with the scope of producing lighter and smaller electric bikes
Harley-Davidson recently announced huge global plans as the LiveWire range of motorcycles will lead the electric charge and a new line of street fighters is being developed right from 500 cc engine capacity. The Milwaukee-based brand will establish smaller urban retail stores to appeal for a wider band of customers, as a lower capacity motorcycle in the 250-500 cc segment is also in the pipeline.
The American manufacturer is investing a hefty sum of $825 million (over Rs. 5,600 crore) in the new strategic project till 2022 and beyond. With emerging markets like India being firmly targetted, we can expect the brand to use its cruiser-making expertise in the mid-size space to possibly bring up a Royal Enfield rival with accessible pricing.
Harley Davidson will soon be setting up a new research and development centre in California, as the Silicon Valley based facility will play a significant role in developing the upcoming EVs and batteries as well as their design. The company says it has sped up building the next generation Harley riders internationally and is planning to hire engineers in various fields for the new unit.
The factory will likely be operational later this year or in early 2019 with the scope of producing lighter and smaller electric vehicles right from 2022. With mainstream manufactures looking to introduce electric two-wheelers in India and cover the vast volume early next decade, Harley-Davidson cannot be ruled out from the equation.
The resilient brand is already seeking an Asian partner, most likely from India, for developing and locally manufacture the intended small capacity motorcycle in a similar fashion to the KTM and BMW entry-level models. KTM’s aggressive price strategy for 390 range has worked wonders while BMW’s G310 twins are making all the waves recently.
Since Royal Enfield eyes the spotlight of Street 750 and Street Rod with Interceptor and Continental 650s, Harley-Davidson could buck the trend and address entry-level premium cruiser segment for long term survival. It could use a single-cylinder powertrain with authentic Harley-Davidson styling, and standard safety and assistant features.