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Will 2020 mark a turnaround for motorcycle powerhouse Harley-Davidson?

By | General Posts

Matt Levatich is CEO of Harley-Davidson.

by Margaret Naczek from https://www.bizjournals.com

For 117 years Harley-Davidson Inc. has led the market in motorcycles and continues to hold a dominant market share in the U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market.

Despite its dominance in motorcycles, fewer people are buying bikes, and the number of U.S. riders are growing at a slow pace. For several consecutive quarters, the company faced declining sales, lower revenue and flat stock prices.

With falling sales numbers, 2020 is becoming a pivotal year for the company founded in 1903. Harley has plans to grow riders to 4 million by 2027, from 3.1 million now, and invest in new markets with its More Roads to Harley-Davidson initiative, which launched in 2018. Some analysts, however, are uncertain of Harley’s ability to achieve such goals.

“We are becoming a company that excels and exists to not only build great bikes, but to build riders,” Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said in the company’s fourth-quarter conference call.

During the call, Levatich listed four target areas that the Harley plans to hit in 2020 to retain early riders, a category segment that the manufacturer has struggled with. The company plans using riders to recruit and coach new riders, allow early riders to experience riding opportunities on their own turn and on their own terms and solidifying rider commitment through experimental opportunities like overnight rides.

New motorcycles such as Harley’s first electric motorcycle LiveWire, released in September 2019, or the new Pan America adventure touring bike and Bronx Streetfighter bike, which are expected to release late in 2020, are also part of the company’s efforts to turn U.S. motorcycle sales around and build a strong ridership base.

At least one dealer is hopeful about the strategy.

“It’s brave if you think about it,” said Goran Zadrima, regional manager at Milwaukee and West Bend Harley-Davidson. “A lot of companies in the past have attempted to go after the Harley touring market, and everybody fell on their face trying to take Harley in the touring market. The fact that Harley is getting into the adventure and the streetfighter market, that’s a huge market. There’s a lot of good brands out there, but the one thing that Harley has that nobody has anywhere is the dealer network.”

Kawasaki Announces New Agreement with Roadrunner Financial to Offer Financing for Credit Builders and First-Time Buyers

By | General Posts

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. is pleased to announce a new financing agreement with Roadrunner Financial to offer competitive near-prime loans to Credit Builders with 550-660+ FICO scores. Roadrunner delivers a revolutionary lender experience through digital applications with instant decisions, comprehensive credit coverage, and unbeatable dealer and customer support.

Kawasaki joins a group of Powersports and Outdoor Power Equipment partners that utilize Roadrunner Financial to bring great finance offers to their customers. The relationship with Kawasaki allows Roadrunner to offer an enhanced program with improved near-prime rates with no fees for dealers.

“Roadrunner Financial is a key addition for Kawasaki and our dealers” said Kawasaki Senior Vice President, Sales and Operations Bill Jenkins. “The focus on a near-prime credit program will offer dealers new opportunities for financing customers on Kawasaki powersports products.”

“Roadrunner will give Kawasaki dealers a new tool to close deals that would usually walk out the door.” When asked about the new financing agreement, Jon Vestal, VP of Sales at Roadrunner Financial said, “We’re very excited to strengthen our relationship with Kawasaki. By targeting near-prime, we plan to deliver significant incremental sales for Kawasaki in 2020 and beyond.”

This new Kawasaki program from Roadrunner Financial will be available to Kawasaki dealers starting March 1st, 2020.

About Roadrunner Financial:
Roadrunner Financial offers financing for customers across the entire credit spectrum. Roadrunner’s credit program suite includes ‘Roadrunner Prime’, ‘Roadrunner Credit Builder’ for customers down to 550 FICO, a first-time buyer program, ‘Roadrunner Lease’, and a pre-owned vehicle program.

Founded in 2016 and based in New York, Roadrunner helps dealers finance more customers by taking the traditional hassles of lending and replacing them with one seamless process that can take as little as a few minutes. Roadrunner’s unique financing experience offers instant decisions, electronic contracting, and financing for more than 10,000 vehicles across 40+ Powersports & Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) OEMs. For more information, please visit www.roadrunnerfinancial.com.

ABOUT KAWASAKI
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) started full-scale production of motorcycles over a half century ago. The first Kawasaki motorcycle engine was designed based on technical know-how garnered from the development and production of aircraft engines, and Kawasaki’s entry into the motorcycle industry was driven by the company’s constant effort to develop new technologies. Numerous new Kawasaki models introduced over the years have helped shape the market, and in the process have created enduring legends based on their unique engineering, power, design and riding pleasure. In the future, Kawasaki’s commitment to maintaining and furthering these strengths will surely give birth to new legends.
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, side x sides, and Jet Ski® watercraft through a network of almost 1,100 independent retailers, with close to an additional 7,400 retailers specializing in general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 3,100 people in the United States, with approximately 250 of them located at KMC’s Foothill Ranch, California headquarters.
Kawasaki’s tagline, “Let the good times roll.®”, is recognized worldwide. The Kawasaki brand is synonymous with powerful, stylish and category-leading vehicles. Information about Kawasaki’s complete line of powersports products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com.

Facing financial crunch, UK based Norton Motorcycle goes into administration; India roll out hit

By | General Posts

by Ketan Thakkar from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Norton had set up an equally owned joint venture with Pune-based Kinetic Motoroyale in 2017 to start making mid-size motorcycles for India and Southeast Asian Markets by 2018. The project got delayed due to financial crunch at the UK-based entity.

UK-based premium bike maker Norton Motorcycle’s India roll out may be hit, as the company has gone into administration after failing to pay outstanding dues to the UK authorities.

According to a news report, the company is struggling to pay a tax bill and faces a winding-up order under the UK’s insolvency law.

Norton had set up an equally owned joint venture with Pune-based Kinetic Motoroyale in 2017 to start making mid-size motorcycles for India and Southeast Asian Markets by 2018. The project got delayed due to financial crunch at the UK-based entity.

When contacted, Kinetic Motoroyale managing director Ajinkya Firodia told ET that Norton was looking to raise funds. Firodia said he would be travelling shortly to the UK to understand the situation better and seek clarity.

“Norton Motoroyale (the joint venture) is a separate company and continues to exist and hold its rights in its territories of India and Asean countries. After our visit, we shall understand the extent of impact, if any. The India-side development of all parts is nearly complete for the 650 Atlas. For some parts developed in the UK or Europe for Norton, I shall seek clarity from the administrator,” Firodia added.

When queried if the 650cc bike would get further delayed, he said it was “difficult to predict” now.

Kinetic Motoroyale had set up a 30,000-unit capacity plant in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. A range of Norton bikes were expected to be made at this plant for Indian and Southeast Asian markets.

According to media reports, Norton, which was rescued by property developer Stuart Garner in 2008, said the company owed tax authorities 300,000 pounds and could be liquidated if it was not given more time to pay.

The report added that two of Garner’s other companies were also in administration.

Founded in Birmingham, Norton began making motorbikes in 1902 and soon became associated with races such as the Isle of Man TT.

Models like the Dominator and the Commando are well renowned and some of the bikes have even been featured in films including the Bond movies. The Norton Interpol was used by the UK Police in the 1980s for patrolling.

Enfield to glam up, slim down bikes for women, GenX

By | General Posts

New bikes from Royal Enfield are likely to be the most affordable ones.

Royal Enfield is slimming down to conquer. It plans to make far lighter bikes, offering lower and more comfortable seating positions, to draw youngsters and women to a brand that has hitherto been associated with men who had truly arrived. And these will likely be the most affordable bikes as well from the maker of the iconic Bullet.

These bikes will weigh significantly less than the Bullet and be seated lower, styled after the roadster. Due for launch in the first quarter of 2020, these are internally codenamed J1C, and may sell under the Explorer brand.

The model has been developed after taking critical feedback from women and youngsters to offer them a bike with comfortable ingress/egress and steer away from the traditional perception of Royal Enfield ‘bulk’, said several industry executives aware of the plans.

“While we cannot comment about future product line-ups, we can confirm that at Royal Enfield, we assign huge focus on keeping our motorcycles accessible and approachable to all, in an endeavour to bring more people to experience pure leisure motorcycling,” a spokesperson told ET.

The company declined to discuss its product pipeline, features and pricing strategies.

Royal Enfield was losing a significant chunk of upgraders to competition as rivals launched several sports bikes. The Explorer is an attempt to wrest back the initiative, industry experts believe.

The launch of J1C is part of a new product onslaught, and the plan envisages launching at least one new product every quarter from 2020. After J1C, the company will be launching the new generation Thunderbird, which may be re-christened as Meteor, before the BS-VI versions of Classic and Bullet hit the road in 2020.

Royal Enfield has upgraded the existing UCE or Unit Construction Engine for BS VI emission norms to ensure adequate availability.

Struggling to arrest volume declines, Royal Enfield has undertaken a series of accessibility measures that include product enhancements, geographic expansions, and establishment of small-format retail stores.

To be sure, the total number of driving licences issued in India is 161.1 million, of which about a tenth is issued to women drivers. Women buyers account for about 7-8% of the existing Royal Enfield volumes. Although the numbers are still small, more women are buying bikes such as the Himalayan or Thunderbird X.

The new platform for women motorbike enthusiasts would open a vast opportunity for the company, which has seen untapped potential in Goa, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka.

Goa has the highest proportion of women drivers, with 23% of the total number of licences issued to women. For Chandigarh and Maharashtra, the comparable figures are 18.47% and 18.28%, according to the Road Transport Year book of 2016.

In the second quarter of FY20, sales volumes from Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka accounted for a quarter of the total at Royal Enfield.

The monthly run-rate of Royal Enfield dropped 15% to 60,334 in the first eight months of the current fiscal year. The Street expects sales volume of 7.25-7.30 lakh units in the current fiscal year, which implies a decline of about 12%, the first in at least a decade.

Royal Enfield may pull 500cc motorcycles out of production by 1 April next year

By | General Posts

from https://www.financialexpress.com

According to the report, upgrading Royal Enfield’s 500cc engine to BS-VI compliance will make the production of these motorcycles ‘unviable for the domestic market’.

As the deadline for India’s BS-VI transition closes in, Royal Enfield may be in the process of taking a drastic decision regarding its 500cc engine. According to a LiveMint report, Royal Enfield plans to discontinue its 500cc range of motorcycles from 1 April next year when BS-VI emission norms become a mandate in the country. The report further states that upgrading RE’s 500cc engine to BS-VI compliance will make the production of these motorcycles ‘unviable for the domestic market’. The sources close to the development also told LiveMint that the 500cc motorcycles would not be produced for international markets either.

The pushrod architecture of the existing 350cc and 500cc engines do not meet the stringent emission norms. As a result, the existing model lineup will be phased out… Royal Enfield plans to restore the 350cc segment with an all-new powertrain as that accounts for the bulk of sales. Meanwhile, it would quit the 500cc displacement – the report quotes the source.

The report goes on to quote the source that said that the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 were primarily developed for international markets and refresh the manufacturer’s rider followership in the domestic market as well. “As the 500cc line-up will be discontinued, the 650cc Twins will become the company’s export volume drivers.”

Royal Enfield has registered a drop in year-on-year sales in India over the past 11 months. However, exports have been going strong with the Interceptor 650 becoming a best-selling naked roadster in the UK recently.

As was speculated, Royal Enfield did not showcase new products at the EICMA motorcycle show this year and instead lined up its existing portfolio and custom-built motorcycles. BS-VI emission norms will be out in effect starting 1 April 2020 when we’ll know more about the subject.

Piaggio Group unveils products for 2020

By | General Posts

from https://timesofmalta.com

The Piaggio Group has presented a number of exceptional new motorcycles and scooters from its exclusive brands. The highly anticipated new Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Vespa and Piaggio models were unveiled in preparation for next year.

It’s a new era for Aprilia. Created around a totally new technical base, defined by the 660 parallel twin, comes a new generation of lightweight, high-performance bikes that are sophisticated in design. A return to the mid-sized engine, supported by the electronics and technology of the Aprilia Racing department, to rediscover the pleasure and joy of everyday riding.

The first born in this brand-new generation is RS 660 – premium technical content and advanced but unvarnished performance to rediscover the pleasure of dynamic riding on the road. A sportbike to suit all motorcyclists and that requires no particular experience level or ability. The innovative concept behind the RS 660 project can be summed up by its excellent weight/power ratio that makes for enjoyable riding, whether relaxed or more sports-orientated: 169 kg plus 100hp is the perfect formula for enjoyment on the road.

The Tuono 660 Concept best expresses the new concept of sports versatility introduced by Aprilia with the new family of motorcycles designed around the new 660 cc twin-cylinder that, with the Tuono 660 Concept, is able to deliver 95hp. Thanks to highly sophisticated semi-active suspension, the fastest, most powerful and lightweight RSV4 becomes even more efficient on track and enjoyable on the road. The control unit that governs the Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension has access to all the bike’s electronic systems, meaning it is able to recognise all riding phases and therefore adapt calibration of the fork, shock absorber and steering damper hydraulics thanks to the development of an algorithm, the fruit of collaboration between Öhlins and Aprilia.

Tuono V4 1100 Factory is the most exclusive version in the Tuono range, dedicated to an extremely demanding public and equipped with components that largely derive from the Aprilia RSV4 superbike. The front mudguard, engine cover and side panels of the Factory are now in carbon fibre, a prestigious material that, as well as being lightweight and resistant, is able to boost the level of construction quality, now at a peak. The Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory offers, as standard, the most advanced and efficient electronic suspension system currently available.

Following the critical and public acclaim achieved by the V85 TT, Moto Guzzi presents the Travel version, ready to take to the road with its complete dedicated range of equipment. Featuring, as standard, a higher Touring windshield, a pair of very spacious panniers, a set of heated hand grips, a pair of additional LED lights, and the Moto Guzzi MIA multimedia platform that allows a smartphone to be connected to the vehicle, extending the instrument cluster functions. The Sabbia Namib colour is exclusively dedicated to V85 TT Travel. Making its debut is Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone S, a sportier and more sophisticated interpretation of the Mandello best-seller.

There are also various new models from Piaggio. Piaggio Medley combines the agility of an urban vehicle with the dynamic performance of a high wheel model and the comfort and loading capacity of a big GT scooter. The new design puts the emphasis on sportiness, with a totally redesigned front end, at the centre of which the new vertical element stands out, characterised by a 3D honeycomb grille. Making its debut on the Piaggio Medley is the latest evolution in the family of Piaggio i-get engines, with 125 and 150 cc engine capacity: both are liquid-cooled, with four-valve distribution and electronic injection, and deliver 11 and 12.1kW respectively.

Piaggio Beverly, a leader in the high wheel scooter segment, presents its new 2020 range, available with 300 and 350 cc engines. The latter is the innovative engine with record performance introduced for the first time in 2011 with the top-of-range SportTouring version and now extended to the entire Beverly family, composed of Beverly, Beverly S and the brand-new Beverly Tourer.

Vespa Primavera Sean Wotherspoon is a special edition that expresses all the creative energy linking Vespa and Sean Wotherspoon, one of the most creative and influential designers on the American landscape. Sean takes the steel body of Vespa Primavera and creates a new style dedicated to young urban tribes, but one that can also appeal to a wider audience.

Norton Motorcycles the 121 Year Old Iconic British Motorcycle is Crowdfunding on Crowdcube

By | General Posts

by JD Alois from https://www.crowdfundinsider.com

Norton Motorcycles the 121-year-old legendary British motorcycle company, is planning to raise capital on Crowdcube.

Norton Motorcycles UK Ltd is seeking £1 million to help fill product pipeline orders and to continue to innovate and develop its bikes. Additionally, the company states that the offering’s objective is to give global customers and bike enthusiasts a chance to become part of the heritage company, “profiting from its continued success.” While the offering page is not yet live, you may register your interest in participating in the securities offering here.

Earlier this month, Norton gave £1 million worth of shares to its employees.

Norton’s current CEO Stuart Garner bought the company in 2008 with little experience in bike manufacturing but a passion from the brand, and has since kept it going expanding its line and exporting bikes around the world.

Norton shares the following data points:

  • Cumulative sales of £43m with profitable and growing revenue
  • Year on Year EBITDA growth of 55% with forecast EBITDA growth of 65%
  • £15 million invested into R&D to deliver a fully developed model range
  • Successful new model launches giving a £30m order book
  • 15,000Sq ft new production facility to increase current production
  • Only British motorcycle manufacturer to design, engineer and fabricate all of its chassis’ in its UK

The details of the securities offering are not yet available along with the valuation and current year financials but these should be made available once the offering is live on Crowdcube.

You can review the most recent financials on its Companies House page including year-end financials from 2018 that are an interesting read.

The motorcycles are beautiful bikes – you cannot argue with that. If you saw the James Bond film Spectre you would have seen a Norton blessing the screen.

Garner says Norton has a proud history of engineering exclusive British motorcycles:

“… it’s thanks to our skilled workforce and experienced management team which has allowed the brand to thrive and continue to build globally recognised bikes. It is thanks to our deep connection with our riders, owners and the motorcycle community that we are following our gift of £1m share to our staff with looking to build a successful long term shareholder base from the wider community itself.”

Garner adds that during the past 10 years they have developed a niche in the motorcycle industry designing stunning bikes and producing them in low volume – all hand-built in Great Britain.

Garner claims that new models, the V4 and 650 range, have generated a £30 million order book. Look for the offering to go live on Crowdcube in the coming weeks.

 

Ducati Streetfighter V4 Declared Most Beautiful Bike At EICMA 2019

By | General Posts

by Janaki Jitchotvisut from https://www.rideapart.com

Ducati does it again!

Which of the many bikes unveiled at EICMA 2019 has haunted your dreams?? If you said “Ducati Streetfighter V4, obviously,” you’re not alone. Venerable Italian motorcycle publication Motociclismo conducted its fifteenth annual poll, both of EICMA attendees and its readers at home. Guess which bike won?

According to both EICMA attendees and readers who sadly couldn’t attend the show in person, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 was voted the most beautiful motorcycle of EICMA 2019. Motociclismo took to the MotoLive stage at EICMA to present the awards. Ducati design director Andrea Ferraresi and Streetfighter V4 designer Jeremy Faraud were both on hand to accept the official award.

When all the numbers were tallied, the winner stood out by a mile. Not only did the Ducati Streetfighter V4 top the charts; it commanded a solid 36.7 percent of the vote. Second place went to the Aprilia RS 660 which received less than half the votes of the Streetfighter V4— just 14.9 percent.

Third place was the MV Agusta Superveloce 800, with 11.23 percent of the vote. Fourth was the Honda CBR1000RR-R SP, with 9.43 percent, and fifth was the Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel, with just 4.76 percent of the vote. That makes Honda the only non-Italian manufacturer to crack the top five.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Motociclismo also reported that there was a difference in rankings for some bikes between voters who saw them in person, and voters who participated from home.

The top four bikes among both groups of voters were the same, but from number five down, results are markedly different between those who saw these models only on screens, vs. those who saw them live. For example, a lot more people who saw the BMW F 900 R in person seemed to appreciate it than those who simply saw it at home.

You can check out the full results of the poll—including the EICMA/home voter breakdown—over at Motociclismo.

Harley-Davidson has three models of electric bike going on sale next year

By | General Posts

by Robin-Leigh Chetty from https://www.htxt.co.za/

While Harley-Davidson is not the first name that springs to mind when it comes to electric vehicles, every time we’ve written about the company, it’s had to do with one of its EVs.

This time around is no different, as the company offered up the first looks at its new trio of pedal-assisted electric bikes at 2019 EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan earlier this week.

Electrek was on hand to take a closer look at the bikes, and you can check out a full gallery of images on its site.

https://www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/motorcycles/future-vehicles/e-bicycles.html

With the trio of electric bikes yet to have official names, we’re more interested in what Harley-Davidson’s plans are moving forward, and luckily the firm has offered up some insight in that regard.

An unnamed spokesperson has noted that Harley-Davidson will be gauging the interest and demand for pedal-assisted electric bikes in coming months, with a view to launch them some time in 2020.

Based on the concept models shown in Milan, it looks the company is targeting a more premium customer, with The Verge believing that a price tag around the $1000 mark is not out of the question. This makes sense considering the electric LiveWire motorbike goes for a cool $30 000 on pre-order.

These bikes are not the only EVs that Harley-Davidson is working on, with the company also revealing an interesting looking e-bike concept last year, but sadly no word on whether that will go into production.

It’s also unclear which regions outside of the US the firm plans to launch these upcoming electric bikes, or indeed its LiveWire. With a number of dealerships locally, there is certainly a demand for the brand, and perhaps some of its future EVs too.

2020 Triumph Bobber TFC unveiled at EICMA 2019

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Limited Edition with more power, less weight

Triumph Bobber TFC is powered by an updated version of the liquid-cooled 1200cc parallel twin which now makes 87 hp at 6,250 rpm and 110 Nm of torque, which is a 13 percent increase in power compared to the standard Bobber.

by Express Drives Desk from https://www.financialexpress.com

Triumph Motorcycles custom bike wing called Triumph Factory Customs has rolled out yet another gorgeous-looking TFC edition after the Thruxton TFC and Rocket 3 TFC earlier this year. Unveiled at the ongoing 2019 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, Triumph Bobber TFC boasts of more power, is lighter than the standard bike and will be limited to 750 units across the world.

Triumph Bobber TFC is powered by an updated version of the liquid-cooled 1200cc parallel twin which now makes 87 hp at 6,250 rpm and 110 Nm of torque. The TFC has received a 13 percent increase in power compared to the standard Bobber and Bobber Black which produce about 77 hp. The exhaust system has also been updated with Arrow titanium pipes and carbon fibre end caps.

The second most notable change is the styling of the Triumph Bobber TFC. While the design is largely the same, it gets a new paint scheme, carbon fibre bodywork, and a short mudguard. Frame and swingarm have been black powder-coated, it gets black anodised wheels, knurled handlebar grips and billet-machined aluminium oil filler cap. The black theme continues to the Öhlins RSU spring, Öhlins forks and engine covers.

The use of lighter components has led to a weight saving of about 5 kg on the 2020 Bobber TFC. It features fully adjustable Ohlins upside-down forks and rear suspension. Braking components include twin floating discs up front with Brembo four-piston M50 radial monobloc callipers. The Bobber TFC features three ride modes – Raid, Road and Sport.

The Bobber TFC is Euro V compliant and is priced at GBP 15,500 in the UK.