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Dip in Superbike sales ; Harley Davidson hit hard [Nov 28, 2015]


Buyers for superbikes above 500 cubic centimetres (cc) have hit a pause button as volumes have remained flat on the back of subdued market sentiments and fewer launches.

After posting a robust growth in the last financial year, this segment costing Rs 5 lakh and above recorded sales of 4,089 units during the same period, a fall of nearly two per cent against 4,158 units sold in the corresponding period last year, according to data by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam). Superbike makers, who sell everything from race-oriented performance bikes to street bikes to tourers to intercity cruisers, witnessed their first slowdown this year in the past many years as consumers shunned high-ticket items.

Sales of Harley-Davidson, India’s biggest superbike maker, have slipped into the negative territory for the first time since the American cruise bike maker set foot in India.

Sales of Harley-Davidson have slipped into the negative territory for the first time since the American cruise bike maker set foot in India. The sales fell to 2,625 units in the April-October 2015 period against 2,739 units in the year-ago period, according to Siam data

Harley's Street 750, was a disappointment in the Apr-Oct 2015 period as sales fell 25 per cent to 1,433 units, compared with 1,904 units a year ago

The fall of four per cent this year was despite the company bringing refreshed products. However, Harley did not launch any new products this year; it launched Road King but that was a re-launch. Harley’s sales fell to 2,625 units in the April-October 2015 period against 2,739 units in the year-ago period, according to Siam data. The iconic company, which assembles its bikes in Haryana, commands a share of 64 per cent of the domestic motorcycle market costing Rs 5 lakh and above.

“Larger socio-economic factors have led to a dampening of market sentiment. We have faced a challenging period in the past few months, but these are some short-term blips. We expect the demand to pick up with the festive and riding season,” said a spokesperson of Harley-Davidson India.

Street 750, Harley’s volume driver that accounts for about half its total domestic volumes, turned out to be a big disappointment in the April-October 2015 period with sales falling 25 per cent to 1,433 units, compared with 1,904 units a year ago. The company, however, said there was no fall in volumes. “The Street 750 has not seen a drop. It continues to grow. We recently launched the updated MY16 (model year 2016) Street 750, which is receiving a positive response from customers. We are very optimistic about Street 750’s sales performance next year.”

Besides Harley, there are players such as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Triumph in this segment. Some such as DSK Hyosung, DSK Beneli, Ducati, Indian, BMW and Aprilia are also a part of this segment, but they do not share their sales data with Siam.

Although buyers have shunned affordable superbikes (below 800-cc), the demand for bigger superbikes has been rising. The above 800-cc segment, where bikes are priced at Rs 7 lakh onwards, has recorded a 16 per cent growth to 1,919 units in the period under review against 1,659 units.

The above 1,600-cc segment witnessed the biggest growth of 30 per cent during the reporting period. Bikes in this segment are priced between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh. Harley has a share of 68 per cent in this segment.


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