INDIAN Motorcycles are to begin officially importing bikes to Japan and is looking to take an overall market share of 10% by 2025.
This won’t be the first time Indians have been seen on the Japanese streets though, as the marque used to be the motorcycle of choice for the Japanese police force, back when Indian and Harley-Davidson ruled the two-wheeled roost.
Now though, it is Harley-Davidson’s demise that Indian is looking to tap into, as H-D’s sales in the country have dropped from nearly 15k bikes a year to around 5k.
For those wondering if the move will mean a change in tack from the custom and cruiser manufacturer, it’s a no: There will be no sports motorcycle rolling out the Indian factory gates any time soon, as Steve Menneto explained to Bloomberg. ‘They [Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki] are really strong brands, but we don’t really want to go head-to-head. For a small island, it’s amazing how much appreciation there is for motorcycles in Japan, and premium motorcycles at that,’
It may seem strange for Polaris (Indian’s parent company) to begin spending so much on the deal at this time, as Japan’s economy is not at its strongest and the population is widely reported to be shrinking. But moves like this are rarely even spoken about without going through considerable means-testing.
Premium motorcycles have also been favourable option for the well-heeled Japanese motorcycle fan, with Harley’s previous market share in the mid-2000s making up nearly half of all imported motorcycle sold nationally.