Harley Confirms Asian 338 cc Model Deal with Benelli and Volvo Manufacturer Qianjiang/Geely
Harley-Davidson has announced "another step" in its strategy to build more riders globally and expand access into Asia through a collaboration with Qianjiang Motorcycle Company Limited to launch a "smaller, more accessible" Harley branded motorcycle for sale in Harley-Davidson dealerships in China by the end of 2020.
"This collaboration joins Harley-Davidson's global motorcycle leadership with the capabilities of Qianjiang to co-develop a premium 338 cc displacement Harley-Davidson motorcycle for sale first in the China market, with additional Asian markets to follow."
Harley says it selected Qianjiang based on its experience developing "premium small displacement motorcycles, its established supply base, proven capabilities in emerging markets, and ability to meet consumer requirements.
"Harley-Davidson has always been about inspiring riders around the world. Our More Roads plan is all about bringing our brand of freedom to more people, in more places, in more ways," said Matt Levatich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Harley-Davidson.
"We're excited about this opportunity to build more Harley riders in China, one of the world's largest motorcycle markets, by creating new pathways to our brand."
Harley says that "this collaboration marks significant progress toward another major milestone in the 'More Roads to Harley-Davidson' accelerated plan for growth. It is intended to expand access to the Harley-Davidson brand to more riders to drive incremental sales – both of the new small displacement motorcycle and also of traditional Harley-Davidson products currently offered in Asia" and that "continuing to capitalize on growth opportunities in Asia is key to the company achieving its 2027 objective to grow its international business to 50 percent of annual volume." Harley-Davidson retail sales in China grew +27 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
2018 Harley retail +27% in China
The new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and engine will be produced in a Qianjiang facility in China and "adhere to the rigorous quality standards and testing processes followed for all Harley-Davidson products."
"We are pleased to collaborate with Harley-Davidson," said Mr. Dongshao Guo, General Manager, Qianjiang. "We have proven manufacturing capability and experience in China, and we are committed to improving the experience of motorcycling for riders in Asia."
Harley commented: "With its expanding middle class and increased consumer spending on discretionary, premium products, China is a key growth market for Harley-Davidson. Since it announced its More Roads plan in July 2018, Harley-Davidson has continued to advance its efforts to grow riders in China by expanding its dealer network in China and investing in marketing, eCommerce and product availability."
Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Co., Ltd, was founded in 1985 as a refrigerator manufacturer by Li Shufu, who went on to transform the company into a success selling inexpensive products to Chinese consumers. As Geely (Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd) it sells passenger vehicles under the Geely Auto name.
Geely acquired Benelli, the 100 year old Italian motorcycle manufacturer, in 2005; acquired the Volvo car, truck and bus business from Ford in 2010 and breathed new life into The London Electric Vehicle Company in 2013 - the famous London Black Cab manufacturing business.
In 2017 Geely acquired a majority stake in legendary British sportscar maker Lotus and a 49.9% stake in Malaysian national car maker Proton in 2017. The group sold over 1.5 million cars in 2018.
Qianjiang's products include all styles of motorcycles from 50 cc to 1130 cc, exporting to more than 130 countries and regions globally. Harley says the company is one of the few enterprises in the Chinese motorcycle industry that can manufacture high-end, large-displacement motorcycles, has led the market in China for seven consecutive years and continues to lead the trend to large-displacement motorcycles in China.