Anoop Prakash didn't know how to ride a bike until he joined the famous motorcycle company Harley-Davidson in 2010. That was the first thing he learnt on the job. Since then he has not only put Harley-Davidson ahead in India, he also developed the leisure biking market, a segment that hardly existed when Harley entered India.
His connection with Harley goes back to his childhood days in Minnesota in the US, which shares its borders with Wisconsin - Harley-Davidson's headquarters. As a child he was fascinated with Harley riders who came over on weekends. He grew up to become a US Marine Corps officer, where he served for four years. After quitting, he got a business degree from Harvard and started working for consultancy firm McKinsey.
At Harley, Prakash's biggest challenge was to bring down prices in India as the bikes cost more than a premium sedan. In January 2011, Prakash started Harley's manufacturing unit in India. The ex-showroom price of Sportster went down 17 per cent to Rs 5.5 lakh and Fat Boy, 25 per cent.
Under Prakash, Harley has launched four families of motorcycles in India - Sporsters, Dyna, Softail and V-Rod - spanning 10 variants. The total number of bikes sold has gone up to 4,000 from just 100 in 2010. The fifth family, Street, which will cost around Rs 5 lakh, will soon be launched in India. Nine of the 10 motorcycles that Harley sells in India are assembled at its Haryana factory. So too will be the Street Glide.