The much talked about 500cc Harley Davidson cruiser motorcycle has been confirmed by the American motorcycle giant's Chief Operating Officer, Mr Matthew Levatich. Mr Levatich was speaking at an event The motorcycle is likely to be built from ground up in Harley Davidson's mother plant at Bawal, Haryana. Notably, the Bawal factory is only the second mother plant that the American motorcycle giant has set up, outside its home base of Milwaukee, USA.
Note: The spy shots used in this report are that of an unnamed cruiser motorcycle purported to be a small capacity, 500 cc Harley Davidson.
Harley Davidson also has an assembly facility in India, apart from three other locations around the world, at Brazil, Singapore and Thailand. The 500 cc motorcycle is expected to retain the classic V-Twin engine layout, that has come to become standard on all Harley Davidson motorcycles. A mix of air and liquid cooling is also a possibility considering the fact that Harley Davidson seems keen on adopting new technologies, in keeping with the changing times.
The new 500 cc motorcycle will be aimed not only at Indian buyers, but also is likely to be sold in emerging markets across the globe. Local sourcing and manufacturing in India could give Harley Davidson cost advantages, similar to the cost synergies that KTM has gained through Bajaj Auto's contract manufacturing. Along with emerging markets, the developed world too is expected to play host to the latest, small capacity Harley as the motorcycle could be tweaked suitably to meet licensing requirements/restrictions in the developed world.
A 2014 Auto Expo unveil for the 500 cc Harley cannot be ruled out although Mr Levatich has hinted that the motorcycle might not make it to the market in 2014. Taking cue from that, a concept form unveil at the 2014 Auto Expo cannot be ruled out. Over the past few months, there have been numerous spottings of what seems to be a small capacity cruiser, testing in and around the National Capital Region (NCR).
An interesting marketing strategy could be in store for the small capacity, 500 cc Harley. An Apple-like approach might be adopted by the marketing mavens at Harley Davidson, with branding similar to what Apple products follow (Designed in Cupertino-Made in China). So, the small capacity Harley could use a variation of this strategy, something on the lines like Designed-in-America, Built-in-India.
Mr Levatich has confirmed that the made-in-India 500 cc Harley will come with parts that feel "American" enough, in order to retain the ethos of the brand. We've already seen this happen with Bajaj manufactured small-capacity KTMs. Therefore, such a possibility seems ripe with the low cost Harley as well. Another interesting possibility, as hinted by Mr Levatich, is an electric powered Harley Davidson. As the automotive industry is in a state of flux, especially when it comes to propulsion options, electrically propelled Harley Davidsons may not be too far away.