Harley Davidson in partnership with Hero Motocorp in India have just announced that they plan to raise the price of the newly launched X440 motorcycle in India. But will this affect sales or any appetite for interest in the bike or brand.
Just last week H-D CEO was jubilant at the reaction to the single cylinder engined X440 in India and the more than expected pre orders. However the price has now been deemed as an introductory offer and plainly this is a similar strategy to that of Triumph motorcycles who also had a pre order price for their 400cc bikes launched at the same time, but will slightly increase the price as the bikes go on general release.
However, whilst India is not immune from inflationary pressures, it’s population is less elastic when it comes to non essential purchases. Any increase in price will surely have an impact on demand, and reports would suggest the Harley Davidson is already falling short of Triumph sales numbers.
Add insult to injury, the company have also announced that the online pre orders will temporarily close as of tomorrow but without specific reason. Perhaps that order book was over subscribed or that the company simply could not match supply with demand to deliver the bikes in October.
Perhaps this has little to do with high demand and failing supply lines but more a disguise for lukewarm sales and public reception? Triumph have already posted over 14000 unit pre orders with H-D and Hero failing to disclose their pre orders.
The price increase will now bring the purchase price in line with rivals Triumph and Royal Enfield, but it hardly likely to boost sales going forward.
This 10500 rupees ($127) increase does not seem a lot to western audiences, but the Indian customer base may see this in a different light, albeit their is a growing middle class in the region.
Whilst H-D and Hero must assume the premium brand status in the country, they must also not forget they are in competition with very capable and competitively priced motorcycles from other brands too. They must be careful not to price themselves out of the market they are just hoping to enter for the first time.