It is not often when we see customers coming out in such a huge group to protest against manufacturers. Surely there are few people who have a minor issue with the brand or a particular product but not on this scale. But Harley Davidson had to face a serious dissent from its own customer’s community HOG (Harley Owners Group), as well as its dealers.
The decision of Harley Davidson leaving India left many customers in shock, but the decision was so abrupt that Harley Davidson did not even inform the dealers about it. This made the HOG group and dealers protest against the company with rallies named ‘Dark Rides’. Well, who thought that the HOG community will someday protest against the brand itself.?
The rides were held in 14 cities – Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Lucknow, Delhi, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Indore, Bhopal, Raipur, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, and Guwahati. Dealers also joined the protest as they were not informed about the exit of the brand, and still not sure what the future holds from them. The compensation provided by Harley Davidson is nowhere near to the losses they took.
According to some reports, Harley Davidson is offering a compensation package of ₹1,500 per sq. ft. with a 10% annual value-depreciated rate and a 6-month reimbursement of the margins of sale. While dealers complain that the compensation is not enough. As with customers they are struggling to get their bike serviced or any major repairs. Customers who recently purchased a Harley would be left with a sour taste for the brand, and trouble ownership.
Though Harley-Davidson has decided to come back to India by partnering with Hero MotoCorp, it is going to take time for the transition to happen. They wish to resume all the brand services by January 2021. Dealers are also looking to take some legal actions against the brand.
Till then we hope that Harley-Davidson and Hero partnership comes out much stronger with better planning and brings the trust back into the brand.
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