The US manufacturer is in talks with a company to open the world's second Harley-Davidson Cafe in Pune, said a person with knowledge of the development. The only existing Harley-Davidson Cafe, on the Las Vegas strip, is hugely popular among Harley enthusiasts the world over. In Pune, Harley-Davidson is expected to license the cafe to a local builder that is also building a luxury hotel and offices, the person said, adding the iconic motorcycle maker plans to open similar cafes in other cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai, where the popularity of the brand is on the rise.
Anoop Prakash, managing director at Harley-Davidson India, declined comment. "We will not comment on rumours and speculation," he said in response to an email questionnaire. Besides fast food and beverages, the cafe is expected to sell branded gear, accessories and Harley memorabilia, and will become an alternative source of revenue for the company besides being a marketing tool in a country where Harley expects 25-30% annual growth over the next five years.
It could not be ascertained if the Pune cafe would be similar in size and style to the one in Vegas, which can host up to 1,400 guests at a time, and even has a wedding chapel inside. A $500,000 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail burst through the front of the cafe, and over 15 custom motorcycles - including those of Elvis Presley and Billy Joel - are on display throughout the cafe. The retail store stocks Harley t-shirts, hats, jackets, bandanas and the likes.
Harley-Davidson attracts a loyal brand community, with licensing of the HD logo accounting for around 5% of the company's net revenue globally. Since it set up operations in India in 2009, the motorcycle maker has sold over 2,000 bikes through 10 dealerships in cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. It sells 13 models in the country, priced at Rs 5 lakh onwards.
The company has an assembly plant for completely knocked down kits at Bawal in Haryana, its second such plant after the one in Brazil. Harley is now targeting smaller cities and towns such as Raipur, Bhubaneswar, Nagpur, Indore, Bhopal, Kochi, Lucknow and Jaipur. It has already opened dealerships in Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. Pune, with a huge two-wheeler population and a big pool of rich IT industry executives, is seen as an ideal location for Harley.
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