The cheese stands alone.
The September, 2020, news that Harley-Davidson was exiting India likely disappointed fans of big V-twin cruisers in the country. That change left Indian Motorcycle—the Motor Company’s chief American rival in the space—as the only brand continuing to fill that niche. What would Indian do in response?
It turns out that Polaris—which is Indian’s parent company—has some big plans for India. It’s not planning to exit the country any time soon. In fact, Lalit Sharma, Country Manager for Polaris, told Autocar India that Indian will be launching its BS6-updated range across India in December, 2020. That includes the Scout, Scout Bobber, Chieftain, Springfield, and Roadmaster models. The BS6-compliant Challenger will make its debut in January, 2021.
While Indian Motorcycle may be smaller than Harley, Polaris manufactures ATVs, UTVs, and other non-two-wheeled utility vehicles—some of which it supplies to India’s military. That added range may make it more feasible for the company to expand its foothold.
There’s additional speculation that Indian Motorcycle may be working on a smaller, less expensive, volume-selling model for the Indian market—but at this point, it’s just speculation. While Sharma confirmed that Indian Motorcycle isn’t going anywhere, he also said that Polaris has no plans at the moment to expand beyond Indian’s current eight dealerships across the country.
It’s worth noting here that while many manufacturers have plants in India to build their bikes for that market, Indian Motorcycle is not one of them. While the company does make some of its bikes in Poland for the European market, as yet, there’s no such corresponding news about India. Polaris was reportedly looking into the feasibility of opening a new manufacturing plant there in 2015, but eventually decided against it. For the foreseeable future, Indian Motorcycles sold in India continue to be imported as completely built units (CBUs).