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Harley-Davidson’s stock tanks as motorcycle sales continue to slide

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by Paul R. La Monica from https://edition.cnn.com/

New York (CNN Business)Harley-Davidson has a big problem. Americans aren’t riding its trademark hogs nearly as much as they used to do.

Shares of Harley-Davidson (HOG) fell 3% in early trading Tuesday after the company reported sales and earnings that missed Wall Street’s forecasts. The stock is now down more than 10% this year.

Most alarming: Demand for Harley’s bikes continued to fall in the United States — even as they rebounded overseas.

Harley’s retail sales in America were down 3% in the fourth quarter. That’s the 12th consecutive decline. US sales fell more than 5% for the full year.

Sales were up slightly internationally, led by a more-than 6% jump in Asia. But that wasn’t enough to lift Harley’s worldwide motorcycle sales, which fell 1.4%.

The weakness in Harley’s home market is particularly disappointing given that the United States and China have now reached a “phase one” trade truce. Harley has been complaining about tariffs put into place by the Trump administration for the past few years.

President Donald Trump has also been critical of the fact that Harley — based in Milwaukee — had shifted some of its production outside of America to avoid tariffs in Europe that were put into place on the company in response to US tariffs on steel and aluminum. Trump even supported a boycott of Harley by US consumers in 2018.

But Harley clearly has bigger problems than global trade policy. The company is trying to revitalize its sales with the launch of its LiveWire electric motorcycle.

Harley CEO and president Matt Levatich struck a hopeful tone in the company’s earnings release.

“We see 2020 as the pivotal year in the transformation of Harley-Davidson. This year we will broaden the reach of our brand and build more committed riders as we enter new and growing segments in motorcycling and eBicycles,” Levatich said. “More and easier access to two-wheeled freedom on a Harley is well underway.”

Rod Copes quits as Royal Enfield North America President

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Before joining Royal Enfield in 2014, Copes worked with Harley Davidson for 20 years.

Former Harley executive Rod Copes has quit from his role of President of Royal Enfield North America, where he was heading the North and Latin America for last 5 years, reveals a LiveMint report.

Copes has previously worked with Harley Davidson for 20 years till August 2014, before joining Royal Enfield.

An alumni of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Copes was a key figure in setting up Royal Enfield’s operations in the USA and Canada. Later in May 2019, he also took over the responsibility of the Latin American market, including Brazil, Colombia and Argentina.

The report claims that Rod Copes will continue his work until the end of February. It quotes a person from the company who said that Copes’ exit could be a blow to Royal Enfield in terms of further expansion of the brand’s presence in North American market.

This is the second big exit among the key persons of the company, after Pierre Terblanche resigned in July 2016. Pierre Terblanche is a famous motorcycle designer, who joined Royal Enfield in November 2014.

In North America, RE has around 100 dealers. The company is aiming to scale up the sales volumes to around 10,000-15,000 units by mid-2020. It is banking on the 650cc models for that goal.

Chinese Startup NIU Reveals U.S-Bound Electric Motorcycle, Three-Wheeled Scooter

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by Mircea Panait from https://www.autoevolution.com

Harley-Davidson isn’t trailblazing the industry with the LiveWire electric motorcycle. Two-wheeled vehicles with e-propulsion are huge in China and a few other places around the world, but the Middle Kingdom takes the lion’s share in terms of volume.

More than 30 million units are sold in the People’s Republic each year, and this causes a little bit of chaos in the urban jungle. Major cities such as Beijing and Taiwan have banned e-scooters in 2016 along with segways, but nevertheless, business is good.

So good in fact, a startup called NIU decided to showcase two models at the CES 2020 for the U.S. market. Not to be confused with Chinese automaker NIO, the company plans to roll out the RQi-GT electric motorcycle and TQi-GT covered three-wheeler to places like San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and even Honolulu.

NIU first landed in the United States with a fleet of 1,000 mopeds in Brooklyn as part of a partnership with Revel. The mopeds in question feature 60 and 80 miles or range, respectively, Panasonic batteries, and up to 3,800 watts of get-up-and-go from the e-motor.

Billed as an urban performance motorcycle, the RQi-GT is capable of 160 km/h (100 miles per hour) from 30 kW and two removable batteries with a total capacity of 6.5 kWh. In other words, riders can expect up to 130 kilometers (80 miles) in one go. Thanks to that kind of range, the RQi-GT has the makings of an interesting commuter mobile.

Next up, the TQi-GT is a little more special because it’s the manufacturer’s first self-balancing electric three-wheeler. As if that kind of technological wizardry wasn’t enough, look forward to autonomous driving (or riding?) functionalities such as self parking.

The TQi-GT comes in second in terms of top speed (80 km/h or 50 miles per hour) but it features a similar range as the electric motorcycle. Last, but certainly not least, 5G connectivity translates to real-time vehicle diagnostics, remote start, and over-the-air updates for the two- and three-wheeler.

NIU plans to start production of the RQi-GT and TQi-GT for the U.S. sometime in the second half of 2020, and the first deliveries are scheduled a few months after that.

E-bikes to rule the US EV market in next decade

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In the last couple of years, e-bike sales have been growing steadily in the US, but they still represent a small part of the overall segment in the country.

Electric vehicle market in the US in the next decade will be dominated by e-bikes, claims a media report. It forecasts a total of 113 million e-bikes will be sold in the country between 2020-2023.

Sales of the electric bikes in the US have grown more than eight-fold since 2014, claims the report further.

In the last couple of years, sales of e-bikes have been growing steadily in the US, but they still represent a small part of the overall bike segment in the country. As the report claims, e-bike sales jumped by an incredible 91 per cent from 2016 to 2017. Also, it grew 72 per cent from 2017 to 2018 to reach $143.4 million, as revealed by market research firm NPD Group.

Between 2006 and 2012, e-bikes represented less than 1 per cent of total annual bike sales. In 2013, US customers bought 1.85 lakh e-bikes, while across all of Europe, 1.8 million units were retailed.

The media report quotes Jeff Loucks, executive director of Deloitte’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications centre, who said that e-bike sales will not increase evenly across the US. He forecasts cities, in particular, will see the biggest adoption rates.

As he said, “We’re seeing more people move into the urban core of cities throughout the United States. And it’s just going to put a huge load on the roadways and on public transportation systems if some of that isn’t taking place by bike.”

from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com/

Harley Davidson bikers enjoy Jaber Causeway morning ride

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by Ben Garcia from https://news.kuwaittimes.net

As part of US Embassy’s ‘Discover America’ activities

KUWAIT: US Charge d’Affairs and Deputy Chief of Mission Larry L Memmott flagged off on Friday a Harley Davidson motorcycle ride on one of the longest bridges in the world – Sheikh Jaber Causeway. It was part of the activities of 11-day Discover America 2019 event being held in Kuwait.

“I am happy to be here to inaugurate this event. It’s a 10-day demonstration of our culture, tradition, musical, food, restaurants, business, cars, education and today, motorbikes,” said Memmott. “Harley Davidson is a proudly American brand; in fact, it’s very iconic. It’s part of our cultural heritage and we are very proud of their achievements. If we talk about Harley Davidson, it’s about tradition and history, because they are in existence for the last 116 years and counting and will be there perhaps forever,” he said.

Riders from various nationalities participated in the event, which started from the Harley Davidson showroom in the Free Trade Zone in Shuwaikh down to Subiya via Jaber Causeway and back. “We are happy to host this major as event part of Discover America. We have participants from all over Kuwait; they hail from various nationalities and backgrounds. I think we have more than 100 bikers. They are here to support us,” Memmott said.

Prior to the motorcycle ride, bikers gathered at the Harley Davidson showroom for breakfast and a briefing. Harley Davidson is also offering a 25 percent discount on all its merchandise displayed at the showroom. “Please visit and be there in the remaining days of event as we want to demonstrate mostly American brands; participating outlets normally give major discounts to everyone. Just like Sultan Center – they have more than 4,000 products on display and they are all from America. Most of the items will be offered at a discounted price. Also, we have seminars and business opportunities for everyone – we have movies and concerts too,” Memmott added.

Discover America is an annual event organized by the US Embassy in partnership with the American Business Council of Kuwait to promote US products and services. This year’s event is being sponsored by Ali Al-Mutawa Commercial Company, McDonalds, Cadillac by Alghanim, Del Monte, Francorp and IFA Travel and Tourism.

Hadin Panther Brings American Cruiser Look to Electric Motorcycles

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

In the past few years, the electrification bug has spread to the motorcycle industry. A great deal of startups have come and went, presenting the weirdest of concepts and, at times, bikes that would actually (probably) make it into production. But, so far, nothing truly extraordinary great has made it our way.

Some could argue that Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire motorcycle is the breakthrough they’ve been waiting for. Technologically speaking, that may be true, but as far as design goes, the LiveWire is far from the look some were anticipating.

To date, very few, if none, cruiser-shaped electric bikes have been shown. But that could change as soon as next week’s EICMA 2019 show in Milan, Italy.

We’re expecting to see a wealth of high profile bikes on the floor of the Rho Fairgrounds, but few will probably be as exciting as the Hadin Panther.

Little is known at the moment about both the bike and the company that supposedly makes it. Hadin is said to be a California-based enterprise that took it upon itself to create a more Harley-like electric motorcycle that Harley itself is capable of. A bike that is „smart, comfy, clean, safe and steady.”

Officially, nothing was revealed yet about the bike’s technical capabilities, but there are rumors about the so called Hadin Panther providing 100 miles of range (160 km), a top speed of 80 mph (130 kph), and an electric motor capable of churning out a shameful 60 hp of power.

There are a few images of the bike circulating online, showing a very American-looking bike, but we’ll have to wait for the official unveiling to see some more.

If you plan on finding more about the bike and the company, you could head over to the official website, but you’d only be greeted by a landing page meant to build anticipation for the official presentation.

Australian Forcite MK1 smart motorcycle helmet is coming to the U.S.

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by Bruce Brown from https://www.digitaltrends.com

Australian smart motorcycle helmet maker Forcite broke through the barriers that prevented several earlier smart helmet makers from going to production with heavily hyped designs. The initial run of 1,000 MK1 Founders Edition helmets sold out quickly, according to founder and CEO Alfred Boyadgis, 700 of which sold in the first 48 hours. Next on the horizon, Forcite intends to bring the MK1 to the U.S. in 2020.

Forcite’s MK1 patented helmet tech Raydar system includes LED technology currently used in Formula 1 race cars, a Sony HD video camera, dual microphones and ultra-thin 8mm speakers, and a fingertip handlebar controller. Data streams to the helmet via Forcite’s cloud-based server system, with information that includes directions, hazards, and alerts.

The MK1’s LED system uses visual cues on the visor for directions, weather, and other alerts with a combination of a flashing band of colored light just below the visor and audio messages. A green light indicates a turn coming up, blue is for the weather, orange is a caution signal, and flashing red and blue indicates police nearby. The whole point of the integrated components is to communicate to the rider without requiring eyes off the road.

The Sony military-grade camera has near-infrared sensors, an extra-wide 166-degree diagonal field of vision. The camera records continuous video for up to five hours. The camera is on the helmet front, just below the integrated visor.

According to Forcite, the MK1 audio system blocks road noise for phone calls, streaming music, or inter-helmet communication with other MK1 users. An onboard computer located in the lower front section manages the helmet’s sensors and audio and camera controls.

The MK1 helmet is designed to be both strong and lightweight, which means it’s made out of carbon fiber; the shell is a T-400 carbon fiber composite. The helmet weighs just 3.4 pounds, and Forcite claims it meets both ECE 22.05 and Department of Transportation certifications. There are eight ventilation ports, four in front, two on top, and two in the rear, all designed for maximum airflow with minimum noise.

The MKI has a UV400-rated visor and free anti-fog inserts. Interchangeable visors are available with clear, smoke, and iridium tints. There’s also an internal pull-down UV400 sun visor. To keep the helmet sanitary inside, Forcite uses an antibacterial and anti-odor inner liner riders can remove for washing.

You don’t need to touch the helmet to turn functions on or off, take calls, repeat instructions, or operate the MK1’s tech in any way. The Forcite handlebar control manages all operations so you can keep both hands on the bars while you ride.

Boyadgis and key members of the Forcite management staff are in the U.S. this month meeting with dealerships, establishing relationships, and holding events where prospective buyers can experience the MK1 on a closed track.

Forcite has not yet announced a date for the U.S. availability of the MK1, but the plan is to begin selling the helmet in the U.S. in 2020. Boyadgis expect the MK1 price will be less than $1,000 when it is available.

Only 2 Weeks Till Raffle Day

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November 9th is only two weeks away, and we’re gearing up for one of the best days of the year. One lucky winner will be taking home this beautiful 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, not to mention a second prize winner taking home $10,000 and a third prize winner $5,000. Now is the time to get your last minute tickets for the 2019 Raffle Bike.

https://wheelsthroughtime.com/win-this-bike/

Now until raffle day, we’re giving away 2 separate prizes to two separate winners for everyone who enters the annual raffle at the “Better Deal” Package or higher. We’re offering a chance to win a 3-day 2-night stay at Elk Ridge Cabin and a chance to win our Vintage Racing Jersey! That means you have 2 chances to win one of these prizes from this special!

The 2019 Raffle Bike

The 2019 Wheels Through Time Raffle Bike is a stunning 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead Bobber, painstakingly rebuilt in the WTT Restoration shop by museum founder and curator Dale Walksler and his team. The bike features a first year 61 c.i. OHV engine based around a genuine pair of new old stock replacement knucklehead engine cases mated to a 4-speed transmission in Harley-Davidson’s classic black and vermilion red with gold striping. This marks the second year in a row that Wheels Through Time will be raffling off the Holy-Grail of all American motorcycles. Many of the motorcycle industry’s top vendors collaborated with their parts, service, and expertise.
The raffle takes place in front of a live audience on Saturday, Nov 9th, 2019 at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC. Second prize is $10k, and 3rd prize is $5k — you do not have to be present to win.

We wish you the greatest luck in the Wheels Through Time Annual Motorcycle Raffle!

UM halts India operations

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The American bike maker has halted production at its Kashipur plant in Uttarakhand and the joint venture with Lohia Auto looks to be strained.

Following reports of several UM motorcycle showrooms shutting down in India, it is learnt that American bike maker United Motors has stopped its operations in India and that the joint venture with Lohia Auto looks to be strained. With this, it joins the list of automakers to exit India which includes General Motors and MAN Truck & Bus AG.

The last UM product launched was the Renegade Commando Classic, priced at Rs 1.89 lakh in September 2017. The long-drawn slowdown in the two-wheeler industry seems to have hit the company hard and production at its Kashipur plant in Uttarakhand seems to have stopped.

Understandably, UM motorcycle dealers of are getting furtive, given that there are no new product launches expected any time soon. Also, it appears that UM is facing a financial crisis globally and reports say that the company has shut its operations in China.

In an interaction with our sister publication, Autocar Professional, Ayush Lohia, CEO, Lohia Auto Industries, explained, “Our JV with UM Motorcycles was of a 50:50 nature. UM Motorcycles is currently not able to invest any money in India and thus the Kashipur plant in Uttarakhand is not manufacturing any of the UM motorcycles.”

UM motorcycles were built with 40 percent localised parts and 60 percent imported bits. While most of the local suppliers are based in North India, the imported parts were being sourced from Indonesia, Thailand and a few other countries. Ayush Lohia confirmed that all the supplies for the last UM motorcycles produced have been paid for and no new parts are to arrive at the plant. However, Lohia says not all hope is lost in the JV and he does not plan to dissolve it any time soon.

Not too long ago, till April 2019, United Motors was retailing around 200 motorcycles a month in India. At present, most of its dealers have pulled down shutters while a few are open just for the servicing process. Acknowledging the Indian dealers’ plight, Lohia said, “We are awaiting clarity from our partner as regards addressing our dealers’ condition. For the time being though, since UM is showing no intention of going ahead with its India operations, I am not able to give a confirmed status of the current scenario of the brand in India.”

It may be noted that after April 2019, reports began coming in of UM discontinuing its operations temporarily in India as none of its products had ABS. Around the same time, official reports from the company stated that new launches could be expected during the festive season.

United Motors’ product portfolio in India includes the Renegade Commando, Renegade Sport S, Renegade Mojave and Renegade Classic – all American-styled cruiser motorcycles powered by the same 300cc liquid-cooled engines. It was speculated that UM was supposed to come out with a 150cc scooter this year, called the ‘Chill 150 ABS’. In the current scenario, that project seems to be in the pigeonhole.

Cleveland motorcycles shutdown India operations

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by Satya from https://www.rushlane.com

Cleveland is the 2nd American motorcycle brand, after UM, to leave India in recent time.

Amidst persistent downturn in auto sector and a slowing economy, Cleveland Cyclewerks has discontinued India operations. While an official confirmation is yet to be provided, a report from Express Drives said that the company’s assembly plant in Pune has not been operational for last eight months.

Several factors seem to be responsible for Cleveland Cyclewerks’ exit from Indian market. Primary among them include the relatively high cost of its motorcycles and the company’s inability to comply with new safety norms such as mandatory ABS. The company was also not able to deal with negative perceptions related to its use of Chinese parts.

Unlike other brands in this segment such as Royal Enfield, which have a rich history dating back to several decades, Cleveland Cyclewerks was a relatively unknown brand in the Indian market. The company was launched in 2009 in United States and its business model is quite simple. Most of its motorcycles use chassis from other motorcycle makers and low cost components from Taiwan and China. The choice of engine is usually Honda.

Cleveland Cyclewerks had made its debut in India at 2018 Auto Expo and had subsequently launched two motorcycles, Ace and Misfit. While Ace was positioned as a retro-modern scrambler, Misfit derived inspiration from a cafe racer. Both these bikes were imported in India as CKDs and assembled at the company’s facility in Pune.

Both bikes utilized a 229 cc, air-cooled engine that generated max power of 15.4 hp and max torque of 16 Nm. This was less than even lower capacity motorcycles. Ace and Misfit were launched at a starting price of 2.23 lakh. This is more expensive than Royal Enfield Classic 350, their main rival.

These factors worked against the company and sales of Ace and Misfit never really took off. The company had opened its first dealership in Mumbai and had plans to open 100 more dealerships by 2019. However, with meagre sales, the plans failed to materialize. The report says that employees of the company were asked to resign at short notice.

If you own an Ace or Misfit, it would be difficult to say how you will get your bike serviced. You will probably have to rely on the expertise of your local mechanic or branded garage shops.