Chinese motorcycle brand QJMotor is owned by the Qianjiang Group, the parent company of Benelli, and Harley-Davidson has joined hands with the group to build a new 350 cc motorcycle, targeted at Asian markets. Now, latest patent images reveal what could be Qianjiang’s latest 350 cc motorcycle, and it could form the base for Harley-Davidson’s upcoming 350 cc motorcycle. The patent images reveal the QJMotor QJ350-13, which is the QJMotor-branded version of the bike. And it’s likely to have Benelli and Harley-Davidson branded derivatives as well, with the same mechanical parts but with different styling.
The basic chassis and engine are based on the existing Benelli 302S, but the new bike will have some technical changes. The HD350 is expected to be Harley-Davidson’s dedicated model for emerging markets in Asia, and Harley-Davidson had even shared styling sketches of its own version of the new motorcycle. The images of the QJMotor version of the bike also reveal something very interesting. The left side of the engine cases, of the bottom end reveal the words “Harley-Davidson Motor Company” cast into the cover. And that should be reason enough to indicate that the Harley-Davidson HD350 is certainly in the plans.
The only spanner in the works is Harley-Davidson’s new Rewire plan, which has been outlined by new CEO Zochen Zeitz. Harley-Davidson has been reeling under a severe sales decline over the past few years, which saw the exit of former CEO Matt Levatich. The Rewire strategy intends to return Harley-Davidson to its brand values, such as heavyweight all-American cruisers and premium products. If the Rewire plan is followed to the T, then the HD350 doesn’t seem to make any sense in the new strategic vision. More so, when the new CEO has candidly said that Harley-Davidson will not be venturing into new segments or markets which are outside the iconic brand’s traditional strengths. But if Harley-Davidson does go ahead with the HD350, then it will almost certainly have styling which will be very different from the QJMotor version.