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Harley-Davidson’s new stand-alone electric motorcycle – LiveWire One

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President and CEO Jochen Zeitz with the original LiveWire

by Rich Kirchen from https://www.bizjournals.com

With Harley-Davidson Inc. chairman, president and CEO Jochen Zeitz repeating that the company’s electric LiveWire is “an extraordinary product,” details are emerging on a new model that will be called the LiveWire One.

Motorcycle.com reported the name of the first LiveWire-branded electric motorcycle since Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson announced establishing LiveWire as a stand-alone entity. The website said it deciphered the information from a Harley-Davidson filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The new LiveWire One will be revealed in July and will be considered a 2021 model, motorcycle.com said.

The Harley-Davidson filing shows the LiveWire One will claim a peak output of 101 brake horsepower (bhp), which is more than the 70 bhp existing LiveWire model, motorcycle.com said.

A Harley-Davidson spokesman did not immediately respond Thursday to a Milwaukee Business Journal request for comment.

Harley-Davidson delivered the original LiveWire to dealers in fall 2019. The company announced in May that LiveWire will get an official launch in July as a brand in its own right with its own laboratory and showrooms.

Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) initially planned to debut the new LiveWire at the International Motorcycle Show in Irvine, California. However, motorcycle.com reported that the show won’t be held there and Harley is looking to arrange an alternate date and site.

Zeitz, appearing on CNBC Wednesday, discussed the LiveWire strategy but not the specifics of the next phase. He said electrified motorcycles are the future for the industry.

“It might take longer in certain segments such as the traditional Harley-Davidson segment, simply because the technology is not there in terms of range and longevity of a ride that our touring customer wants,” Zeitz said.

The LiveWire product that Harley-Davidson launched in 2019 under the Harley-Davidson brand “was really a product that was more focused and geared towards the urban consumer,” Zeitz said.

“So I felt there was a huge opportunity as we are bridging into electric long term to use the LiveWire — which is the best product out there, the best electric product — but focusing more on an urban customer to actually segment that out and stand it up as its own brand.’’

Harley-Davidson announced in March hiring Ryan Morrissey as chief electric vehicle officer to lead the new electric-vehicle unit. Morrissey previously worked at consulting giant Bain & Company.

All electric brand separate from the Harley-Davidson brand

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Harley-Davidson launches new electric-only LiveWire brand. Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire is no longer just a model, it’s a whole brand.

The brand’s first dedicated model will debut on July 8.

by Kyle Hyatt from https://www.cnet.com

Pretend you’re Harley-Davidson for a minute. You’re the oldest continually operating American motorcycle manufacturer. You have legions of rabid fans acting as unpaid brand ambassadors. Your name is basically synonymous with motorcycling. Sounds good, right?

Now, as Harley-Davidson, try and do something completely and utterly different than what you’ve done in the past. Now that history is working against you, and those loyal customers think you’ve betrayed the ideals of the brand they love. It’s a real Catch-22. You need to innovate, or you’ll die, but if you innovate, you make your core customers angry, and then you die. While things weren’t actually quite that dire for H-D, it’s definitely been tough.

That’s pretty much what happened when Harley-Davidson launched the LiveWire electric motorcycle a few years ago. Now though, the folks in Milwaukee have decided to try a different route with the whole electric motorcycle thing, and that’s to spin LiveWire off into its own brand, according to an announcement Monday. New brand equals no baggage and that extra freedom to do new things could be just what Harley needs.

“One of the six pillars of The Hardwire Strategy is to lead in electric – by launching LiveWire as an all-electric brand, we are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV,” Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz said in a statement. “With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond. LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future.”

The LiveWire brand will have its own models and its network of showrooms, the first of which will be in California. It will be separate from Harley-Davidson in most respects, but it will share technology with the mothership as well as its manufacturing footprint and supply chain.

The first new model from the LiveWire brand is set to debut on July 8, 2021.

Harley-Davidson launches all-electric motorcycle brand ‘LiveWire’
by Reuters from https://www.saltwire.com

Harley-Davidson Inc on Monday launched an all-electric motorcycle brand “LiveWire,” the latest effort by the company to ramp up bets on the rapidly growing electric-vehicle market.

Named after Harley’s first electric motorbike, which was unveiled in 2019, the “LiveWire” division is slated to launch its first branded motorcycle in July.

The company had said in February it would create a separate electric vehicle-focused division, as it aims to attract the next generation of younger and more environmentally conscious riders.

“We are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV,” Chief Executive Officer Jochen Zeitz said in a statement on Monday.

“LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future.”

Ford CEO Jim Farley nominated to Harley-Davidson board of directors

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by Phoebe Wall Howard from https://www.freep.com

Ford CEO Jim Farley, owner of two classic Harley-Davidson motorcycles, has agreed to serve on the board of the Milwaukee-based company.

The director nomination was submitted Friday by the motorcycle manufacturer’s CEO Jochen Zeitz as part of the 2021 Notice of the Annual Meeting of Shareholders and Proxy Statement, released in advance of the May 20 vote.

Farley is the only new board nominee. If approved, he would join executives with diverse corporate backgrounds that include Levi Strauss, Ocean5, Starbucks, he Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ABB Robotics and the Cummins engine and technology company.

“Jochen’s vision to bring adventure to a wider audience in different forms resonates with me. I’m honored to be nominated for a seat on the Harley-Davidson board,” Farley told the Free Press on Saturday.

“It’s also good for Ford, another chance for us to learn from one of the best,” he said. “This is a legendary American brand with a proud global history and enduring values. Like Ford, they now want to transform how people move, including new customers —through always-on relationships, new technologies and must-have products and services.”

Zeitz and Farley, both 58, run iconic American manufacturing brands in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve had to cut jobs, restructure and redefine their legacies.

Zeitz is a turnaround expert who transformed Puma from near bankruptcy to a top athletic brand globally. He took the top job at Harley-Davidson in May. Farley assumed the top job at Ford in October.

Not only does Farley collect classic cars, but he also owns and rides Harley-Davidson bikes: a 1930 Knucklehead and a 1942 WLA Navy bike. He restored both bikes with a lot of help from his friends. Farley is known for working on classics himself.

“Jim Farley is cut from the cloth of Harley-Davidson. He is a working person’s CEO who likes to race cars,” said Marick Masters, a business professor at the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University in Detroit. “His adventurous spirit captures the essence of Harley-Davidson. … Farley brings a drive and energy to complement the Harley-Davidson brand.”

These days, Harley-Davidson is looking to find new consumers and shore up its financials. The brand thrived during World War II making motorcycles for the U.S. military. Later, the bikes evolved into a symbol of counterculture.

“The world’s youth were out on the road seeking freedom, and the motorcycle was as sure a vehicle as any to offer a quick hit of it,” said the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum website for its 1998 exhibition, “The Art of the Motorcycle.” “Rebellion became fashion, and Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the motorcycle industry capitalized as never before.”

The ad campaign for Peter Fonda’s 1969 film “Easy Rider” proclaimed, “A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere,” a sentiment that could be expanded to embrace the entire decade, the Guggenheim said.

By 2018, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle averaged $20,000 and the average buyer age hovered around 50, Business Insider reported.

“Seeing the trials of another classic American brand can help Farley better prepare for potential issues within Ford,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of AutoForecast Solutions based in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania.

“With Harley-Davidson at a very competitive juncture in its industry, having someone with corporate turnaround experience like Farley on the board can only benefit the legendary company,” Fiorani said.

“While automobiles and motorcycles are very different industries, navigating an established brand like Harley-Davidson would be akin to maintaining iconic brands like F-150 or Mustang through changing markets,” he said. “Ford has done an admirable job of securing their history to the present day.”

Harley-Davidson was reborn 40 years ago by concentrating on what made their bikes different, Fiorani said. “Finding a similar direction going forward is necessary for the brand’s long-term survival, and Farley has the history to help guide the company toward that future.”

The iconic nature of Ford and Harley-Davidson isn’t simply incidental, said Harley Shaiken, a labor economist who specializes in global production at the University of California, Berkeley. “Building on their past could be key to their future.”

The two companies have become a part of the American story, “from the Joads driving West in a Model T in ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ to Marlon Brando,” who purchased a 1970 Harley-Davidson FLH Electra-Glide after filming “The Wild One,” Shaiken said. “So it’s somehow fitting that the CEO of one is now sitting on the board of the other at a tough moment.”

Directors on the Harley-Davidson board earned an annual fee of $91,630 in fiscal year 2020, according to its proxy report. They have the option of receiving all or a portion of their fees in the form of stock.

Farley serves on no other corporate boards of directors except Ford. Farley does represent Ford on the U.S.-China Business Council board of directors and has been appointed co-chair of the Commission on the Future of Mobility.

It is not unusual for CEOs to serve on select boards and develop important business relationships outside their companies. General Motors CEO Mary Barra has served on the board of Walt Disney Co. since 2017.

Ford CEO is cousin of actor Chris Farley — but has another celebrity relative, too – Tripp Tracy a hockey goalie at Harvard University, was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers and later signed with the Hartford Whalers. For the past two decades, he has been the radio and TV color commentator for the Carolina Hurricanes, a Stanley Cup championship winner in 2006.

Sportster Futures

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Earlier this year we heard that Harley was going to cancel the Sportster line. We also started a suggestion box for the factory’s success. Of course, one of our first and most supported recommendations included retaining the Sportster line.

I went so far as to recommend the Sportster line become the builder’s line and make the models user and hands- on friendly. They could work with the aftermarket on custom and performance product lines and teach owners how to work on, service and customize their Sportsters.

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The Official Harley-Davidson Suggestion Box

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We Want the Freedom Machine to Succeed

The Future of Harley-Davidson – The Freedom Machine must live on into the Future.

We are reaching out to readers for their suggestions for the future success of Harley-Davidson. We will collect notes and suggestions from brothers and sisters until we build a solid list of suggestions. Then we can share them with the factory.

Let’s try to stay positive, no complaints about the factory or their newest models.

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Car and Motorcycle Companies Now Making Electric Bikes

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Lee Iacocca with his electric bike in 1998. It had a lead-acid battery with a 15-mile range and a top speed of 15 miles an hour.

by Roy Furchgott from https://www.nytimes.com

They see branding opportunities as the pandemic and a desire by cities to curb traffic propel e-bike sales to new heights.

The transportation industry has seen the future, and the future is 1895.

That was the year Ogden Bolton Jr. of Canton, Ohio, was awarded U.S. Patent 552,271 for an “electrical bicycle.” A century and change later, electric bikes have gained new currency as car and motorcycle companies like Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Yamaha have horned into the market with their own designs.

While the pandemic has accelerated bike sales, the overriding attraction is that cities worldwide are beginning to restrict motor traffic. These companies are betting that e-bikes are the urban vehicles of tomorrow — or at least vehicles for good publicity today.

“In the past 12 to 18 months, you have seen a lot of new brands come into the market,” said Andrew Engelmann, an e-bike sales and marketing manager at Yamaha, which has been in the electric bike business since 1993 and claims sales of two million worldwide. “We in the U.S. have not seen this new energy toward cycling since Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France.”

Credit the coronavirus pandemic, which has ignited bike sales of all stripes, but none so much as e-bikes. While retail unit sales of bicycles from January to October last year were up 46 percent from a year earlier, electric bikes were up 140 percent. Measured in dollars, regular bikes were up 67 percent and e-bikes 158 percent — so don’t expect a discount. Those numbers, from the market researchers at NPD, do not include online-only retailers such as Rad Power Bikes, so sales may actually be higher still.

Ogden Bolton aside, there is a historical connection between bicycles and motorcycles. Many early motorcycles came from bicycle makers that simply clapped a motor on a bike, often retaining the pedals in the style of a moped.

The automotive industry’s bicycle connection is more recent, with the likes of Malcolm Bricklin and Lee Iacocca introducing electric bikes in the ’90s. Both flopped. Mr. Iacocca’s design, typical for the time, was hampered by a lead-acid battery with a 15-mile range and a top speed of 15 miles an hour. Many car companies, including Ford, Audi, Maserati and BMW, have gotten into and out of e-bikes since.

“No car company has had any success selling an electric bicycle,” said Don DiCostanzo, chief executive of Pedego Electric Bikes, who in 2014 licensed a bike design to Ford. “It’s fool’s gold. It can never replace the profit on a car.”

Yet car and motorcycle makers are being drawn in. “I think they are seeing a lot of the same opportunity we see,” said Ian Kenny, who leads the e-bike effort at the bicycle company Specialized. “But I think there is a very big difference between demonstrating you can do something and doing something very well at scale.”

However, changes in the way people get about, especially in Europe and Asia, are enticing motor vehicle companies that operate internationally. Overseas, in cities that manage pollution and overcrowded streets by restricting motor traffic, e-bikes often fill a gap.

“In Europe, the e-bike is more of a fundamental transportation tool,” said Dirk Sorenson, an analyst for NPD. London, Madrid, Oslo and Paris are among the growing number of cities restricting downtown traffic.

The pandemic has American cities testing similar restrictions. Boston, Minneapolis and a number of California cities have instituted Slow Streets programs, restricting motor traffic on side streets in favor of cycling and walking. It even has UPS, Amazon and DHL trying out e-cargo bikes in New York.

“There is a huge opportunity for e-bikes in the U.S., which is a huge untapped market,” said Rasheq Zarif, a mobility technology expert for the consulting firm Deloitte.

Some companies are preparing now for the possibility that “micromobility,” as the buzzword has it, will catch on here.

“Let’s imagine Harley-Davison is not a motorcycle company but a mobility company,” said Aaron Frank, brand director for Serial 1, which builds an e-bike in partnership with Harley. “There is a strong argument we can do for urban commuters what Harley-Davison did for motorcycles.”

Other companies see e-bikes as a gateway to sell their primary products. Though best known for its motorcycles, Ducati North America wants e-bikes to “potentially turn people on to Ducati,” its chief executive, Jason Chinnock, said. “And we’ve seen that with people at some events and with the media reaching out.”

E-bikes may be more expensive than bicycles, but are cheaper than cars or motorcycles. And improved motor and battery technology is bringing prices down. Low-priced e-bikes with a motor in the wheel hub — similar to that 1895 design — can be had for about $1,000. Prices for versions with more complex, geared motors at the pedals can reach more than $10,000.

“Spending $1,000 on a bike seems out there,” Mr. Kenny said, “but when you don’t look at it as a toy — when it becomes transportation — it becomes a very different conversation.”

Price isn’t the only hurdle. E-bikes confront a crippling hodgepodge of laws. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed “low speed” e-bikes (with a motor equivalent to 1 horsepower or less) a bicycle, states still decide where that bike can be ridden.

“It’s up to 50 states to define the use, and that’s been a big problem in the past,” said Claudia Wasko, general manager of Bosch eBike, a prominent manufacturer of drive systems.

The PeopleForBikes coalition drafted model state legislation to allow most e-bikes in bike lanes and parks. It suggests three classes of e-bike, with a top speed between 20 and 28 m.p.h. Twenty-eight states have adopted some version of the legislation.

Some companies may be less concerned with the future of mobility and more interested in getting some attention now.

“I think it’s a halo thing,” said Mr. DiCostanzo, whose company has produced e-bikes for Tommy Bahama, Ford and others. Halo vehicles represent a brand’s aspirations, like concept cars.

“I think that’s what it is for Ford,” he added. “They wanted it for window dressing, and that’s what they got. I think they sold 500 in the five years it ran.”

Mercedes, which is taking orders for its top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team V11 e-bike at $12,000, said it was a chance to showcase its ability with high-tech materials from carbon fiber to paint.

“High-performance road bikes and e-bikes provide a great way to showcase such technologies into a range of consumer products,” said Damian Cook, a spokesman.

For some in the bicycle industry this all smacks of déjà vu. In the 1970s, a bike boom was thought to presage a new future for transportation in which cycling was central. But it failed. Though there were many contributing factors, roads weren’t made more bicycle-friendly and people didn’t want to arrive at work sweaty.

With the combination of Slow Streets programs, which address the first problem, electric bikes, which address the second, and a pandemic that has given people a chance to adjust to both, experts like Mr. Zarif find hope.

“When you give people a chance to try something, it reduces resistance to change,” he said. “As a society, the reality is we go forward — we don’t go backward.”

Piaggio, KTM, Honda and Yamaha to set up swappable batteries consortium

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

The consortium will define the standardised technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category, mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles.

Piaggio Group on Monday said it has signed a letter of intent with KTM AG, Honda Motor and Yamaha Motor to set up a Swappable Batteries Consortium for motorcycles and light electric vehicles.

The consortium will define the standardised technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category: mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles.

The companies will be working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardisation bodies. The founding members of the consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards. The Consortium will start its activities in May 2021.

In the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and the transition to electromobility, the founding members of the consortium believe that the availability of a standardised swappable battery system would both promote the widespread use of light electric vehicles and contribute to a more sustainable life-cycle management of batteries used in the transport sector, the companies said in a joint statement.

Also, by extending the range, shortening the charging time and lowering vehicle and infrastructure costs, the manufacturers will try to answer customers’ main concerns regarding the future of electromobility.

Michele Colaninno, Piaggio Group chief of strategy and product, commented, “With the signing of this letter of intent, the signatories show their proactiveness vis-à-vis the major concerns of their customers and the political priorities as regards the electrification of vehicles.”

An international standard for the swappable batteries system will make this technology efficient and at the disposal of the consumers, added Michele Colaninno.

Harley Davidson’s plan to take iconic motorcycle brand into transportation’s future

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by Joe D’Allegro from https://www.cnbc.com

  • Harley-Davidson unveiled a new 2021 lineup featuring several advances in engineering, electronics and styling, and its first rival to BMW and Honda “adventure” bikes.
  • Hog motorcycle sales peaked 15 years ago and have dropped 40% since.
  • But as it cuts costs, total number of models and geographies under a new CEO, and looks to electric motorcycles and e-bikes, Harley could be in for a smoother stock market ride.

As a tradition-minded 118-year-old motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson may not seem ideally situated to prosper in a rapidly changing world where vehicles are increasingly electrified, self-driving, and shared. But the iconic company could be better positioned than many stock market investors betting on transportation suspect.

The company’s U.S. bike sales peaked at more than 260,000 way back in 2006, and have since dropped about 40%. Demographics are part of the story, and it is a well-charted one, in the stock price and broader narrative about Harley’s consumer market. In 1985, the year before Harley went public, the median motorcycle owner was only 27, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. By 2018, the median age had risen to 50. But the iconic “HOG” brand is turning itself around under the leadership of president and CEO Jochen Zeitz, who took the helm last year after drawing praise for a turnaround engineered at European consumer brand Puma.

Zeitz, and other new executives pushed the “Rewire” initiative, which has driven the manufacturer to exit international markets with low potential to focus on 36 high-growth-potential areas in North America, Europe and Asia. The company also laid off 700 employees to trim costs. It closed out 2020 by entering into a distribution agreement with Indian motorcycle maker Hero and spinning off its electric bicycle operations to a new firm where it holds a minority stake.

“We think they are on the right track,” noted Garrett Nelson, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research. He praised Harley’s late-October agreement with Hero as beneficial to both parties. “Harley gets access to Hero’s existing distribution network in India and Hero benefits from the sale of additional motorcycles at its dealerships,” he said. “It’s a trade-off. Harley surrenders some of the margin for access to the distribution network in the fast-growing market.”

He added that Harley should pursue similar opportunities with other established players to widen its exposure in faster-growing Asian markets.

Harley in a Tesla world

With the new financial strategy in place, Harley’s is now looking ahead. On February 2, it will introduce its plan for 2021 to 2025. Called Hardwire, the new plan is “grounded in desirability,” according to the company, though it has not released details.

Next month Harley also is unveiling the Pan America, a large adventure-style motorcycle meant to be at home both on- and off-road. It is the company’s first foray into the adventure bike market in which competitors like BMW and Honda already have a large presence. The recreational market has become a more intense focus for consumer brands as a result of shifts driven by the pandemic.

Nelson also was cautiously optimistic about the manufacturer’s prospects in an increasingly electrified future. The LiveWire, Harley’s sole current electric motorcycle, shows promise, but the company has been somewhat slow bringing it to market since its release in late 2019, he said.

“More of a concrete strategy on the electric bike, the Livewire, will be necessary,” Citi analyst Shawn Collins said, but he added that EVs remain a longer-term rather than immediate financial priority. “EV cycles are a rounding error at the moment,” he said of the sales.

The LiveWire retails for nearly $30,000, making it one of Harley’s more expensive motorcycle offerings for the 2021 model year, which range from $9,500 to $49,000.

“Over time, we are bullish on the opportunity, given that we think lithium-ion battery costs are going to continue falling in the coming years and electric vehicles are going to be heavily subsidized by the new administration,” Nelson said. “We expect the cost of electric vehicles to reach parity with internal combustion engine vehicles by the middle of this decade, as battery costs continue to decline.”

Harley-Davidson’s share price is at a 52-week high — like many companies in this extended bull market — but remains well below its all-time peak.

The company’s iconic brand remains attractive, even as its financial fortunes have fluctuated.

“Harley-Davidson is the most valuable motorcycle brand on the planet,” wrote Craig Kennison, a senior research analyst and director of research operations at Baird, in a recent research note. Harley’s strong brand, scale, and loyal customers give it an advantage over competitors, in his view. Meanwhile, Harley’s new leadership has put in place operational changes that should drive growth in 2021, Kennison said, including streamlining its product portfolio, reducing dealer inventory 30%, and instituting ongoing annual costs savings of $115 million. “We increasingly like the investment case for Harley-Davidson,” he wrote.

There may be more cost-cutting to come, according to Nelson. He said Harley should look to further shrink its global footprint to focus on markets that are the most profitable with the greatest long-term growth potential. But shrinking the overall footprint does not mean less focus on overseas consumers.

Revving up profits

“Right now, they are spread too wide,” Nelson said. “Between 2006-2019, the company grew its non-U.S. exposure from 22% of total unit sales volumes to 42%. We think they need to continue growing this percentage out of necessity because we believe its North American market is in secular decline.”

Harley’s issue is about the top line, or revenue from motorcycle sales, and Citi’s Collins said into its earnings and February investor day how management talks about increasing the top line will be a key to continued investor confidence. “Lots of people have faith in Zeitz, but he has a high bar,” Collins said. “There is no simple answer. … The top line has been horrible.”

The biggest problem for Harley is well known: the brand has had trouble appealing to younger riders.

Younger consumers have shown an aversion to purchasing motorcycles for safety reasons, and vehicles in general due to the rise of ridesharing, as well as financial and urbanization trends, according to Nelson, and Harley’s domestic demand has been waning for well over a decade.

“Harley at one point was unstoppable, in the 80s and 90s and even through most of the 2000s,” Collins said.

The Citi analyst noted Harley competitor Indian Motorcycle, owned by Polaris, has had success bringing in a new audience, and Zeitz has shown his ability to work “marketing magic” when he oversaw the turnaround at Puma, which had lost consumers to Nike and Adidas. “His job is to try and insert the magic back into Harley so a younger person wants to buy one. That’s what he has his eye focused on for the next three year to five years,” Collins said.

“Harley-Davidson has known for a while that it needs to reach younger customers,” said Dennis Chung, the production editor at Motorcycle.com. “The problem is that demographic doesn’t necessarily want the same things in a motorcycle that Harley-Davidson’s older base values.”

A lot will hinge on the next generation of Harley-Davidson’s popular Sportster lineup of mid-sized cruisers, according to Chung. “There is definitely value in the classic Harley styling, but it needs to be balanced with modern design and modern technology,” he said.

The Sportster lineup has been in continuous production since 1957, and is one of Harley’s oldest model lines.

One way Harley-Davidson is responding to a more tricky consumer market is by shifting its focus from growing market share on an absolute basis to increasing brand exclusivity. The Rewire plan was an acknowledgment from management that blanketing the globe in a search for new sales wasn’t the way to go.

“Instead of trying to increase its sales volume, Harley-Davidson is now trying to earn more profit from each sale, even if it means selling fewer bikes,” Chung said.

Harley-Davidson recently reported a 39% increase in net income in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, even though its global retail motorcycle sales in the third quarter of 2020 were down 8% compared to the prior year.

North American sales did grow in the third quarter for the first time in a long time, Collins noted, and there are broader trends in place that could benefit Harley. Sports and recreational vehicles sales are growing as a result of Covid and that tailwind could cross over to the motorcycle market as well.

“They do have the No. 1 brand in the market with 40% market share and the brand is unlike any other,” Collins said.

The European market, meanwhile, is growing and the new adventure bike Pan America should do well in that region.

The decision to reduce its product line by roughly 30% seems like a smart and necessary move because of overlap.

“A lot of Harley’s products are very similar. Eliminating some of the lower-performing products creates a more streamlined product portfolio, which helps reduce costs,” Chung said.

The company dropped a handful of models from its 2021 U.S. lineup – the FXDR 114, Low Rider, Breakout, Street Bob 107, Deluxe, Street 750, Street Rod, and Roadster.

As the company offers fewer models, it sells a range of accessories and customization options. This way, buyers can individualize their bikes in details such as paint, luggage, seats, stereo systems, brake upgrades, and other areas.

Collins said Zeitz understands the opportunity in bike parts and Harley lifestyle accessories, and while these are not strategies that can turn the business around at the top line level, they are important pieces in a more comprehensive plan to maximize revenue while keeping costs down and generating higher profits. He recently pegged as much as 15% upside in Harley’s stock ahead of next month’s earnings and investor day, writing in a note to investors that he continues to be encouraged by new management’s decision-making.

Even with a trimmed portfolio, the manufacturer still offers two dozen different motorcycles, mostly concentrated in the cruiser and touring market segments, as well as a trio of three-wheeled bikes.

“We believe Covid-19 has given Harley the opportunity to press the reset button on its strategy and refocus effort back on its core consumer, one which we believe holds the key to higher profit margins,” stated Morningstar senior equity analyst Jaime Katz in a November report. She praised the Rewire initiative as a means of balancing restoration of the firm’s core business and entry into new markets. Prioritizing profitability over scale should also refocus Harley on the success of high-margin parts and accessories and general merchandise segments.

“It’s okay to be in a shrinking market, if you’re improving the profitability of the products you sell,” Katz told CNBC.

Harley Virtually Confirms Custom 1250 On Company Website

By General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

The Harley website’s Future Models section has been a revolving door since the brand announced its ambitious plans in July 2018. Since that momentous Annual Dealer Meeting, the Motor Company intermittently teased the Pan America, Bronx, and Custom 1250, keeping customers curious as they further developed the platforms.

With Jochen Zeits taking the reins from Matt Levatich in 2020, many believed the Bar and Shield would scrap its future models and fully return to cruiser-style motorcycles. Like most speculation, half was true (Harley shelved the Bronx indefinitely) and half wasn’t (the Pan America is moving forward). Most recently, the brand added its Custom 1250 prototype back to the Future Models page, paving the way for the concept to finally become a production model.

While Harley officially labels the bike as its Future High-Performance Custom Model, most believe the custom could fill the Sportster’s slot in the company’s lineup. With the long-in-the-tooth model failing to meet Euro5 emissions standards, the MoCo isn’t able to serve a sizeable portion of its customer base. Though the Sportster’s throwback style contributes to its popularity, performance-oriented models like the Indian Scout, Yamaha Bolt, and the new Honda Rebel 1100 are pushing the segment forward.

To meet its competitors, the Custom 1250 would share the same 1250cc 60-degree Revolution Max V-twin powering the new Pan America. Whether the cruiser-styled model will also achieve the Pan America’s claimed 145 horsepower and 90 lb-ft of torque is yet to be confirmed. What looks more certain, however, is that the Sportster’s broad customization possibilities will make it to the new platform.

Of course, the website adds a caveat in fine print: All future models shown may not be available in all markets. Thanks to Harley’s new distribution deal with Hero MotoCorp, we doubt the Custom 1250 will ever see Indian shores. In all honesty, we’ll have to wait for an official Harley release to confirm that the Custom 1250 will even make it to dealer showrooms in 2021, but it’s nice to see it out of the concept waste bin for now.

Triple-Engined Trident Is How the Future of Triumph Motorcycles Looks Like

By General Posts

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

When it comes to the number of modifications made to models year-over-year, the motorcycle industry is by far more dynamic than the auto one. Almost every bike model of any maker suffers changes year-on-year, and that means that regardless of the size and scope of these changes, motorcycles always look fresh.

On the other side of the spectrum, the number of new models born into the industry is far lower compared to their four-wheeled counterparts. New bikes come to be at a much slower pace, and that means excitement is very high when they do.

Last week the Brits from Triumph got us all hyped as they previewed the future Trident, (a model wearing this name started being made by Triumph back in the 1990s), one that should usher in the new design era over in Hinckley.

Show in a pure-white design prototype form at the London Design Museum, the new Trident is supposed to be according to the bike maker “an all new contemporary take on Triumph style & attitude,” featuring a minimalistic form over a proven triple engine, a type of powerplant that powers, among others, the Street Triple.

What you see in the gallery above is just a prototype, completed at the end of four years of hard work. The actual production version Trident will surface in early 2021.

For now, the bike maker did not go into the technical specifics of the motorcycle, leaving us guessing as to what exactly it will be all about. But even with this complete lack of information (all that’s been said on the Trident can be found in the press release section below), we’re guessing the engineers working in the Japanese motorcycle industry are pretty troubled by this.

‘’The Trident design prototype marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Triumph, where the brief was all about fun, from the look to the ride,” said in a statement Steve Sargent. Triumph Chief Product Officer.

“With its pure minimalist form, clean lines, Triumph design DNA and more than a hint of our Speed Triple’s muscular poise, this gives the first exciting glimpse at the full Trident story to come. Ultimately our aim was to bring a new take on character and style, alongside the accessible easy handling and quality Triumph is known for – at a price that’s really competitive.”