It’s no secret that Harley-Davidson (Harley) pulled the plug on its operations in India.  The MoCo discontinued its India sales and manufacturing in September 2020 after spending nearly a decade trying to break into the market.

Harley’s annual sales in India roughly halved to only 2,420 bikes in the fiscal year to March 31st.  According to industry data, five years earlier, Harley was able to sell 4,641 units.

But now, some Indian dealers say that Harley’s exit has left them holding the bag for hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenses they incurred setting up Harley dealerships.  According to India’s Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA), it generally costs between 50 million and 80 million rupees (~$675,000 to $1,000,000) to set up a Harley-Davidson dealership.


A Harley-Davidson dealership in Chennai, India.

Dealers want compensation

Although Harley has exited the Indian market, they did offer Indian dealers some compensation.  But the dealers say that Harley’s offer is only about 10% of the investment money they spent.

Arjun Bafna, a Harley dealer, is angry over the compensation amounts that he was offered.  He’s been a Harley dealer for 10 years and thinks Harley should have come up with more compensation:

“They have come back to us with some numbers but it is not even 10% of what we are looking for.  It is peanuts.”  – Arjun Bafna to Reuters

Apparently, Bafna isn’t alone in his anger, and several dealers are investigating whether they have a legal remedy.  They are hiring a leading Indian law firm (AZB & Partners) to review their paperwork and determine if there is a legal remedy.

At a press conference organized by FADA, Rishi Aggarwal, another Harley dealer, said:

“The way we have been treated is not fair. We never expected such an outcome from a big brand like Harley-Davidson. The compensation that they are offering us is miniscule. So we are evaluating all options, including legal recourse.” – Rishi Aggarwal to Indianexpress.

The fact that Harley has gone on to sign a distribution deal with Hero Moto Corp. may also be fueling their former dealers’ anger.

Court battle?

If the law firm finds that the Harley dealers have a legal remedy, it looks like there will be a court battle.  And as is with such battles, sometimes there are no winners.

What do you think about Harley’s offer of compensation to the Indian dealers?  Should they have offered anything?  Or, is their offer an insult to the dealers who committed a lot of money and effort into selling the MoCo’s machines?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.



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