**Milwaukee, Nov. 2, 2010 **- Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) is moving forward with the launch of operations in India to assemble motorcycles for the Indian market from component kits supplied by its U.S. plants, the Company announced today. The Company expects the CKD (complete knock-down) assembly facility to be operational in the first half of 2011.
The announcement comes as President Barack Obama prepares to travel to India on a state visit focused on trade and business opportunities between the two countries.
"CKD assembly operations in India are a natural next step for Harley-Davidson as we build our brand presence around the world," said Harley-Davidson Motor Company President and Chief Operating Officer Matthew S. Levatich. "This investment will allow us to improve our market responsiveness and production flexibility while reducing the tariff burden, which we expect will drive growth over time by making our bikes more accessible to India's consumers. Given the strong response we have received in the initial months of retail operations, we believe this is the right investment for this important market," Levatich said.
To date, Harley-Davidson India has been importing completely assembled motorcycles from the Company's U.S. final assembly plants. Once the Indian CKD assembly facility in the Indian State of Haryana is operational, Harley-Davidson India will import CKD kits for select current models, consisting of components produced by Harley-Davidson's U.S. plants in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Missouri and by the company's suppliers. Indian employees at the Haryana facility will then assemble the components into finished motorcycles. Other models will continue to be imported as completely built motorcycles for now.
India will be the second country in which Harley-Davidson has CKD assembly operations outside the U.S., after Brazil where the Company began assembly operations in 1999.
"We are committed to global growth and growth in India for the long term," said Levatich. "India's rapidly growing economy, rising middle class and significant investment in construction of new roads and highways are paving the way for leisure motorcycle riding."
"We are building a strong foundation for our business in India, first by establishing a world-class dealer network, and now by commencing CKD assembly operations" said Anoop Prakash, Managing Director for Harley-Davidson India. "It is important for us to continue to invest in strategies that make our products and experiences accessible to an increasingly broader set of customers across India".
Harley-Davidson India commenced operations in August 2009 and opened its first dealership in July 2010. The Company currently offers 12 models in its 2010 line-up in India, available through authorized dealerships in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad. For more information, visit the Harley-Davidson India web site at www.harley-davidson.in
Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company for the group of companies doing business as Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC) Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS), and Buell Motorcycle Company (Buell). Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces custom, touring and cruiser motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel. For further information, visit Harley-Davidson's web site at www.harley-davidson.com