With all of the talk about Harley Davidson moving into the Indian motorcycle market, everyone overlooked the fact that all of the other motorcycle companies began eyeing India for possible sales of their high displacement bikes, too. When India opened up their market to Harley by allowing the Euro III emission standards to regulate high displacement (above 500cc) engines, everyone else started thinking about their lineup. Although there are many small bikes already on the streets, you don’t see the big GSX-Rs or R1s blasting down the roads, but that may soon change.
Exactly which bikes will appear first has not been decided for sure but Suzuki’s GSX-R 750 and GSX-R 1000 should be there as well as the Yamaha R1 and MT-01.
The major obstacle to selling these bikes in higher numbers is still the high tariff applied to imported motorcycles assembled elsewhere which is why Honda is considering assembling their bigger bikes in country through Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda. The high tariff is why Royal Enfield began assembling their bikes in India back in the 1950s. When the home company went belly up, Royal Enfield kept selling the bikes from their Indian manufacturing facility and that’s why Royal Enfield is available today as a new bike.
Not everyone is bullish on the new bikes since tariffs will keep most models at a very high price point. Some think Harley Davidson and possibly Ducati will sell due to their name, BMW on the other hand, has no immediate plans to enter India.
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. On the one hand there are a lot of potential customers but at ridiculous prices like you’ll see after tariffs are applied, those customers disappear. But if many companies follow Honda and begin to assemble their bikes in India, the market may grow rapidly.