An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Harley Davidson on Indian Roads?

In 1995 when I was doing some analysis of how much would be the steel consumption in India. At that time two major consulting firms (McKinsey and KPMG) had come out with predictions and forecasts of that magical figure based on some assumptions. One of the assumptions or criteria was the size of the Indian car market – which is a big consumer of steel in a country.

What amused me the most was that the biggest segments amongst the cars will be the family sedans – like Camry or Corolla. Until then, Maruti 800 the small car was the King of the road. As I was reading the report, I looked outside my window at the road below and burst into laughter!! I thoughts these analysts were either smoking pot or had dug up tunnels to the airport which they used to travel in and out of India. To understand the “future” and dominance of the bigger cars ALL one had to do was go out to the road.. and no matter how sophisticated your predictive model, you would get a good reality check!! It took sometime for Hyundai to realize this mistake and come out with Santro – and only then it could sell enough cars to remain viable!!

It now seems that Harley Davidson wants to get into the Indian market. It is looking at the almost legendry 500 million youth with so many with money!! Great basis of analysis.. but have their consultants gone out on Indian roads with an Enfield?? It is tough to ride on those slow guys on our roads – then how will something that is several times more powerful be able to handle that road? And by the way, you would be VERY lucky if your TOP speed on Indian roads hits 30 MPH! So basically, it might be a good vehicle for the highways where you could possibly go at 60 MPH, but as far as city roads are concerned, I cant help getting that same feeling that I had in 1995!!

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