The CEO of Harley-Davidson reports that pre-orders for the India model are surpassing expectations.

Harley-Davidson announced on Thursday that pre-orders for a new model, launched this month in India through a local partnership, are "exceeding expectations." Both Harley-Davidson and British competitor Triumph have introduced their most affordable models globally in India, targeting the country's lucrative premium segment market across various categories, mirroring trends seen in mobile phones and cars.

CEO Jochen Zeitz expressed satisfaction with the reception of the X440 since its launch, noting that pre-orders have surpassed initial projections. However, he refrained from disclosing further details during an earnings call with analysts.

Despite their ambitious plans, both motorcycle manufacturers face competition from Royal Enfield, a venerable Indian brand with a devoted fan base, extensive showroom presence, and robust after-sales service network.

For Harley-Davidson, the X440 signifies a return to the Indian market, this time in collaboration with Hero Motor Co, the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer. The bikes are priced below 233,000 rupees ($2,841).

After a decade of primarily importing ultra-premium motorcycles, Harley-Davidson withdrew from the Indian market in 2020, shutting down most of its dealer network. Zeitz views India as a significant long-term opportunity, recognizing its vast market potential.

This renewed focus on India coincides with challenges in the U.S. market, where tighter credit conditions are impacting consumers' ability to make large leisure purchases. Harley-Davidson reported an 18% decline in second-quarter profit, attributing it to production disruptions earlier in