Harley-Davidson is planning to enter the small displacement segment through a partnership with Zhejiang Qianjiang brand from China. The brand is planning two different motorcycles and first of them could be named Harley-Davidson Street 350.
It will carry a 338cc engine, most probably using a single cylinder layout to keep the cost under check. However, if Harley wishes to keep the legacy of twin cylinder motors alive, the 338cc twin-cylinder motor could be an indirect rival to products like Benelli Imperiale 400 and Royal Enfield Classic 350. As both the rivals are single-cylinder, it makes sense to keep the motorcycle engine single cylinder.
The Chinese market is yet to witness any considerable growth in the small displacement motorcycle segment and launch of compact cruiser from Harley-Davidson could help them score more profits and numbers like the other brands are planning with Indian collaborations.
Triumph is expected to launch a motorcycle by partnering Bajaj Auto while KTM is already using extensive production facilities offered by the Bajaj group. Harley-Davidson Street 350 will be the most compact, lightweight, and agile motorcycle from the lineup, helping attract first-time premium motorcycle buyers in the Asian countries.
Zhejiang Qianjiang already owns Benelli globally while the launch of the Harley Street 350 is expected to happen in China by late 2020. This would mean an interesting product for India by early 2021, that too with production taking place in the country to keep costs lower than usual.
The Chinese brand will assemble parts and other services for Harley-Davidson while it seems like the branding and retail part would be left for the American manufacturer. As the JV between Benelli’s Chinese parent group and Indian partner is already in effect, this will not be considered a violation by the brand. The Harley-Davidson Street 350 is expected to get a price tag of around INR 3.00-3.50 lakh.