Recently, Bajaj Auto filed a trademark for ‘Excelsior-Henderson’, sparking rumors about the resurgence of the American motorcycle brand.
Indian two-wheeler major Bajaj Auto filed a trademark in India for the name ‘Excelsior-Henderson’ on 4e December 2020, and another in Europe on the 15the December 2020. The latter is, interestingly, filed by Bajaj in the category of products and clothing, ie for motorcycle equipment and clothing.
Excelsior-Henderson began life as two different companies – Excelsior and Henderson – which were acquired and merged by Schwinn in 1912 and 1917, respectively. In 1931, Schwinn closed this merged acquisition. In 1993, Hanlon Manufacturing Company decided to develop a new V-twin cruiser motorcycle for the United States, which would later become the Excelsior-Henderson Super X in 1998, but in 1999 the company filed for bankruptcy.
In 2018, the brand was auctioned and Bajaj appeared to have acquired at least partial rights to it. With its second commercial filing, we anticipate the company intends to make it a lifestyle brand, like Harley-Davidson and Royal Enfield. In theory, the motorcycle clothing market is larger than the motorcycle market itself.
Concretely, a brand must either establish itself, first among enthusiasts, then among general buyers, in order to really benefit from sales of motorcycle clothing. That said, motorcycle sales usually push clothing sales to the side, so the company might not have to worry about that. That said, there is no confirmation yet regarding the relaunch of Excelsior-Henderson, so we’ll have to wait a bit before Bajaj makes an official announcement.
The motorcycle market has been growing in recent times, not only in India but across the world. High-end motorcycles, in particular, have seen an increase in the number of buyers, and we all know how active Bajaj has been in the two-wheeler business lately. The Indian manufacturer is also engaged in the manufacture of small capacity bikes from KTM and Husqvarna for the Indian and international markets, alongside its own.
Interestingly, Bajaj is not the only Indian two-wheeler manufacturer intending to breathe new life into international motorcycle brands. Car company TVS had acquired UK company Norton some time ago, and Classic Legends (backed by Mahindra & Mahindra) will soon be showcasing new Yezdi bikes (and it already has Jawa under its belt).