Whilst still in its infancy, Harley-Davidson’s journey into the small displacement engine market for India and China may pay dividends in more ways than one.
Whilst no specific data was released in their Q2 results, there was a 24% increase in Asia Pacific sales which some of which could be attributed to the X350 and X500 launching in China. The X440 has just been launched in India with first deliveries coming in October, so we will have to wait until Q3 and Q4 results to gauge the success of these partnerships with the local motorcycle manufacturers being QJ Motor in China and Hero MotoCorp in India.
Early orders for the X440 in India are reportedly higher than expected, so could this mean that this will lead to more bikes being launched in the future?
Well, actually Yes! This was always the plan according to early reports and statements from the parties involved. H-D and Hero have intimated in the past that a further nine motorcycles are in design and productions phases to be released over the next couple of years.
But what for the rest of the world? Well the likely market for these smaller machines will be Europe but not limited to. As for the USA and Canada, it would be less likely as the enthusiasm for smaller engines is more muted.
However, in their domestic market, Harley Davidson could launch more models using the Revolution Max engine and potentially smaller displacement versions too. In other markets there are already reports of 400-500cc Revolution Max engines being used in future models too, so could this be where Harley Davidson plant their feet for the coming years?
Of course the company is still committed to EVs with LiveWire but the Revolution Max engined bikes is where the company would supposed to be hitting the market with a punch in their Hardwire program, but that really hasn’t captured the imagination as yet.
This could be a situation where the Harley Davidson we have known for years is and will become a different animal and perceived subjectively according to whichever market the brand has a presence. In China, India and neighbouring countries…H-D could stand for small premium branded bikes, whilst USA and Canada it sticks with traditions and Europe shows the variety of the full company catalogue.
For sure, more motorcycles are coming from Harley Davidson in the coming months and years, but how big, what style and where will they land…is still up for debate.