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Royal Enfield will have the highest number of new models

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by Swaraj Baggonkar from https://www.moneycontrol.com

Royal Enfield will have the highest number of launches this year: CEO Vinod Dasari

This year, Royal Enfield is ready to introduce more models annually than ever before as the niche bike maker looks to further strengthen its iron grip on the middleweight motorcycle segment

The Eicher Motors-controlled company that specialises in building bikes with engine sizes of 350cc to 650cc, currently, has its order backlog full. This can keep its factories running for the next 2-3 months without any new bookings.

Speaking to analysts, Vinod Dasari, CEO, Royal Enfield, said: “We have a very exciting (product) pipeline. This year will probably see the highest number of new models that is ever seen from Royal Enfield in a year. And that is just the beginning of the pipeline.”

Over the last few months, Royal Enfield launched the Meteor 350 and the new Himalayan, besides offering new colours on the 650 twins – Continental GT and Interceptor. Dasari did not provide details on the models that can be expected from Royal Enfield.

“We will continue to have one new model every quarter. Because there is a delay due to COVID right now, I don’t think we will squeeze everything in but there are some very big models coming in. We are very excited about it. We will have to do all the marketing and market preparedness for that,” Dasari added.

While sales of the 650 twins in India nearly halved to 10,256 units in FY21, largely due to COVID-19 disruption, Royal Enfield believes that there is space for more 650cc products.

“Yes, there is a need to think about every platform. Not just the Twins, but Himalayan, Meteor and Classic. So we should think about every platform on how we can meet other kinds of customer requirements,” Dasari added.

The pandemic disrupted the supply chain network of the automotive industry, leading to shortages and delay of critical parts with parts manufacturers dealing with high absenteeism on the shop floor. Shortage of semiconductors, which started in Q3FY21, is still impacting output.

Royal Enfield production has also taken a hit, dropping to half of its peak output during the first two months of FY22. From 80,000 units a month, Royal Enfield sold an average of 40,000 units a month between April and May. The company, however, has an order backlog of 2-3 months.

“New model launch development takes 3-5 years depending on the complexity of the vehicle. So, the models are ready, I want to be able to have a clear visibility of the supply chain so I can launch it in enough quantity and not be short of supply. So, we may delay the launch by a month or so but I don’t see any massive changes because of that,” Dasari added.

Royal Enfield New Motorcycle Launches Will Be Highest This Year – CEO
by Arun Prakash from https://www.rushlane.com

In Dasari’s own words, “This year will probably see the highest number of new models that are ever seen from Royal Enfield in a year”.

Although Covid-19 has led to disruptions of operations at many levels, Royal Enfield is still confident to launch multiple new models in FY2022

Even if the company does not receive any new bookings, it has enough backlog orders to clear which will keep the assembly line moving for at least the next 2-3 months.

Late last year, the Chennai-based bikemaker announced that henceforth it will be launching as many four models (new and upgraded) every year which meant one new launch every quarter.

Future RE models
Since November last year, Royal Enfield has launched one brand new model in the form of Meteor 350 and updated three others including Himalayan, Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650. The brand’s next big-ticket launch is expected to be the new-gen Classic 350 which will be based on the J architecture as Meteor. Along with this, the company has planned a couple of 650cc models including a cruiser and a classic roadster.

The manufacturer is also reportedly developing a new scrambler based on the same 650cc parallel-twin chassis. The company recently filed a trademark for the same called ‘Scram’.

Another crucial new model slated to launch in the coming few months is the new roadster which goes by the name ‘Hunter’ and is expected to take on Honda CB350 H’Ness. According to Dasari, all these models are ready to be launched as they have already been in development for 3-5 years.

New Pan America motorcycle drawing national attention

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by Sarah Hauer from https://www.jsonline.com

Harley-Davidson Inc.’s newest bike — a less expensive and lighter motorcycle — is drawing national attention as the company tries to lure new riders.

Harley-Davidson’s Pan America is arriving at hundreds of dealerships now.

“(The Pan America) is definitely not your dad’s Harley-Davidson cruiser,” New York Times reporter Mark Gardiner wrote.

The Pan America is about $2,000 cheaper and 200 pounds lighter than Harley-Davidson’s most popular touring bikes. The base model of the Pan America is around 530 pounds and starts at $17,319.

Pan America’s launch was delayed a year. The company held a virtual launch event in February.

Kevin Duke, who writes about motorcycles, was impressed by his test ride of the new bike.

“The news about Harley for the past couple of years has been quite pessimistic,” said Duke, the editor in chief at Thunder Press in the New York Times article. “With the older demographic aging out, there was no real hint at what the company could do to gain market share, but this really changes it. The new motor is that good.”

The Milwaukee-based company has been trying to expand its customer base for years.

The company experienced a steep decline in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Motorcycle sales were up 9% worldwide for the company during its most recent fiscal quarter. That bump was driven by a 30% increase in North America motorcycle sales over the same three-month time period last year.

Harley-Davidson launched its all-electric motorcycle brand LiveWire in May. The first motorcycle branded as a LiveWire bike is scheduled to premiere at the International Motorcycle Show on July 9.

Ducati Multistrada V4: Zero to 5,000 in just six months

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

Germany Becomes Home of the 5,000th Ducati Multistrada V4

Zero to 5,000 in just six months. It is the achievement of Italian bike maker Ducati’s Multistrada V4, which in just half a year managed to convince 5,000 riders it is the right choice for them.

Ducati announced the milestone this week, with the 5,000th two-wheeler ever made in the family ordered by a German rider from Ingolstadt. The bike is a fully-loaded V4 S Sport and was accompanied in the rider’s garage by a “sculptural reproduction” of the bike and a “personal letter certifying the motorcycle’s serial number.”

The V4 was presented by the Italians in November last year, and it is currently available in three versions, the V4, V4S, and V4 S Sport, all described as the most advanced of their kind ever. The most potent of them all can easily go in the high $20,000s (exact pricing is available upon request at dealers).

At the core of the bikes sits the so-called Granturismo engine, a 1,158cc piece of hardware rated at a massive 170 hp at 10,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 125 Nm (92 lb-ft) at 8,750 rpm. The engine is lighter than the one that preceded it and tips the scale at 66.7 kg (147 pounds).

But it is not only the engine that makes the bike special. The V4 is presently the first production motorcycle equipped with both a front and a rear radar, working together with the Adaptive Cruise Control (AAC) technology.

Only a limited range of colors is available for the bike, going from the Ducati Red of the entry-level to the “particularly aggressive dedicated livery“ of the S Sport. This one also gets an Akrapovic exhaust and carbon front mudguard.

The exhaust system is made of stainless steel and was designed to bring the motorcycle’s weight down by 5 kg (11 pounds) and increase the engine’s power output to 174 hp and 133 Nm (98 lb-ft) of torque.

Harley’s shares hit 3-year high on EU-US trade truce

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by Michael Taylor from https://www.forbes.com

Harley-Davidson Stock Soars As EU Decides Against 56% Tariff Surge

The Harley-Davidson stock price surged this morning after the European Union deferred a tariff plan that would have seen the classic American motorcycle maker face a 56% entry ticket into the European market.

Harley-Davidson Inc would have been one of the biggest losers if the tariff increase from the current 31% had gone through, though whiskey distillers and boat makers would also have taken a hit.

“We are encouraged by today’s announcement that tariffs affecting our products will not escalate from 31% to 56%,” Harley-Davidson Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz said.

“Harley-Davidson employees, dealers, stakeholders and motorcycles have no place in this trade war. These tariffs provide other motorcycle manufacturers with an unfair competitive advantage in the EU.

“European motorcycles only pay up to 2.4% to be imported into the US. We want free and fair trade,” he said.

The tariff hike was set to come into effect on June 1, but it has been shelved as both the US and the EU set about negotiations on steel and aluminum tariffs.

It is estimated that the tariff would have impacted US$4 billion in exports from the US.

The tariffs were initially imposed in 2018 in retaliation to a Trump administration tariff on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%), with further tariff retaliation slated to begin in June.

“We did not want to be in this position,” European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in June 2018. “However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S. to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice.”

The company may have dodged the tariff bullet, but it is still fighting on another front in Europe after having its Binding Origin Information (BOI) revoked, hurling its import tariff up from 6% to beyond 30%.

Its BOI credentials allowed Harley to operate at the lower tariff rate with bikes from its international plants, but their removal created a crisis.

“The company will continue to pursue its legal challenge to the Binding Origin Information (BOI) revocation, and its application for extended reliance.”

Tariff truce may spare iconic US products from huge price hikes

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by Jenny Leonard from https://financialpost.com

U.S. and EU Set to Reach Temporary Tariff Truce Over Metals

Iconic American products affected by EU countertariffs include Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, Levi Strauss & Co. jeans and bourbon whiskey. Business associations and lawmakers have asked that the U.S. lift the duties, saying they do more harm than good.

The Biden administration is set to announce it’s reached a truce in a dispute with the European Union over metal tariffs, sparing iconic products such as U.S. bourbon whiskey from a doubling of EU duties next month, people familiar with the matter said.

A resolution could be announced as soon as Monday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

At issue is a high-profile dispute that started in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, in which the U.S. imposed duties on steel and aluminum from Europe, Asia and elsewhere over risks to American national security. The EU has since retaliated and on June 1 was set to double tariffs on a list of American products to 50%.

Under the agreement with the Biden administration, the EU will refrain from increasing those tariffs and both sides will engage in a dialog on steel overcapacity, according to the people.

The European Union had previously proposed to suspend all duties on each other’s products for six months while negotiations on a long-term solution continue.

“We can only reiterate that the EU remains committed to finding a solution with the U.S. to the unduly justified tariffs on steel and aluminium and to working with the U.S. in tackling the root cause of the problem, which is the global steel overcapacity,” a spokesperson for the European Commission said on Saturday.

Negotiators on both sides of the Atlantic are working to eventually remove the tariffs but are not yet ready to do so, the people said.

Spokespeople for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce Department didn’t respond to requests for comment.

President Joe Biden will participate in a U.S.-EU summit in Brussels next month during his first foreign trip as the nation’s leader. Biden and his European counterparts are set to discuss trade cooperation, the White House said.

Trump imposed the 25% steel tariff, along with a 10% duty on aluminum imports, in March 2018, using an arcane national-security provision in a 1962 trade law to justify the move. Some countries, including Brazil and South Korea, negotiated deals to avoid the tariff, and Trump dropped the duty for imports from Canada and Mexico. But the tariffs still apply for much of world.

The tariffs in place “have already exacted a heavy toll from U.S. businesses and the workers they employ,” John Murphy, the senior vice president for international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement Friday. He noted an almost 40% drop in U.S. spirits exports to the EU since the duties came into place.

In a Senate Finance Committee hearing Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai defended Trump’s metals tariffs. They “have really roiled our economy, but were necessary to address a global overcapacity problem driven largely but not solely by China,” she said.

The U.S. has achieved its goal of blocking subsidized Chinese steel from the American market through other tools such as anti-dumping and countervailing duties, Murphy said. Separate tariffs imposed via section 301 of the Trade Act, under which Beijing’s practices were deemed unfair, have also deterred shipments, he said.

Chinese steel imports now account for less than 1% of U.S. steel consumption, Murphy said.

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.”

Honda aims to have only electric vehicles sales by 2040

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

New Honda CEO aims for 100% electric vehicles by 2040

Speaking at his first news conference since taking the chief executive position at the beginning of April, Toshihiro Mibe said the company expects EVs and FCVs to account for 40% of sales by 2030 and 80% by 2035 in all major markets.

TOKYO: Honda Motor Co’s new chief executive said on Friday the company was aiming to increase its ratio of electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) to 100% of all sales by 2040.

Speaking at his first news conference since taking the chief executive position at the beginning of April, Toshihiro Mibe said the company expects EVs and FCVs to account for 40% of sales by 2030 and 80% by 2035 in all major markets.

Mibe began his leadership amid a growing shift in automobile technology to electric vehicles and autonomous driving. Traditionally known for its fuel-efficient internal combustion engines, Honda launched its first mass-produced all-battery vehicle last August.

Mibe said the company also aimed to include advanced driver-assistance systems in all of its models in major markets by 2030.

Harley-Davidson’s renewed focus on touring bikes drives upbeat forecast

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by Reuters from https://www.investing.com

U.S. motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) on Monday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecast for sales growth, as its focus on bigger and profitable touring bikes boost demand, sending its shares up more than 8%.

Since the middle of last year, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company, which has struggled to grow sales for the past several years, shifted its focus to big bikes, traditional markets such as the United States and Europe, and older and wealthier customers.

In February, the motorcycle maker unveiled a new turnaround plan that targets low double-digit earnings growth through 2025.

The company said its retail sales, a measure of demand at its dealerships, surged 30% to 32,800 motorcycles in North America in its first quarter.

Retail sales in Europe, Harley’s second biggest market outside the United States, slumped 36% to 4,900 motorcycles, due to the company’s decision to stop selling its smaller and less profitable Street or Sportster motorcycles and shipping delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said lower sales incentives and a cut in its selling, general and administrative expense lifted its motorcycle business operating margin by over 10 points to 18.5%.

It now expects motorcycles business revenue to grow in the range of 30% to 35% in 2021, up from its prior estimate of between 20% and 25%.

Harley’s net income jumped over threefold to $259 million in the quarter ended March 28, from $70 million a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.68 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of 88 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s revenue rose to $1.42 billion from about $1.30 billion.

Harley-Davidson hit with 56% EU tariff effectively blocking it from the EU market

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by Rick Barrett from https://www.jsonline.com

Harley-Davidson hit with 56% EU tariff, an ‘unprecedented situation’ that will block the motorcycle maker from the market, CEO says

Harley-Davidson Inc. has been slapped with a 56% European Union tariff on all its motorcycles, the company said Monday, effectively blocking it from the EU market.

Harley said it would appeal the ruling scheduled to go into effect in June.

“This is an unprecedented situation and underscores the very real harm of an escalating trade war to our stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic. The potential impact of this decision on our manufacturing operations and overall ability to compete in Europe is significant,” Jochen Zeitz, Harley chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

Europe is Harley’s second largest market after the United States.

“Imposing an import tariff on all Harley-Davidson motorcycles goes against all notions of free trade and, if implemented, these increased tariffs will pose a targeted competitive disadvantage for our products, against those of our European competitors,” Zeitz added.

In 2018, the European Union placed a 25% incremental tariff (31% total tariff) on motorcycles imported into the EU from the United States.

Under the latest proposal, the EU would place a 50% incremental tariff on U.S. motorcycles for a total tariff of 56%. The ruling would even apply to Harleys manufactured in Thailand, where the company had set up operations to get around the 2018 EU tariff.

Monday, Harley posted a quarterly profit of $259 million, or $1.68 a share, up from $70 million, or 45 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Revenue rose to $1.4 billion from $1.3 billion a year earlier.

“The actions we have taken to reshape the business are having a positive impact on our results, especially for our most important North American region,” Zeitz said.

Harley-Davidson shares closed Monday up $3.91 a share, or nearly 10%, on Monday to $44.29.

Harley-Davidson To Vigorously Defend Itself Following Aggressive EU Tariff Ruling – Quick Facts
from https://www.rttnews.com

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (HOG) announced Monday that it has received notification from the Economic Ministry of Belgium that it would be subject to the revocation of Binding Origin Information (BOI) credentials, effective April 19, 2021, following a request from the European Union (EU).

Harley-Davidson said it will be lodging an immediate legal challenge to this decision.

Since 2019, the company has operated with BOI regulatory credentials, allowing it to supply its EU markets with certain motorcycles produced at its international manufacturing facilities at tariff rates of 6%.

The EU’s new ruling will apply to the entire Harley-Davidson product portfolio and will effectively prohibit the company from functioning competitively in Europe.

From June 2021, all Harley-Davidson products, regardless of origin, will be subject to a 56% import tariff within the EU.

In 2018, the European Union placed a 25% incremental tariff (31% total tariff) on motorcycles imported into the EU from the U.S., effective June 22, 2018. The tariff is scheduled to increase to a 50% incremental tariff (56% total tariff) effective June 1, 2021.

European OEMs, including motorcycle manufacturers, will continue operations with significantly lower import tariffs to the U.S. ranging from 1.2% for up to 800cc products to 2.4% for over 800cc products, and with automobiles at 2.5%.

Harley-Davidson Hit With EU Tariff Ruling
by Alistair MacDonald from https://www.wsj.com

Motorcycle maker says ruling would subject its products to 56% import tariff within the EU.

Harley-Davidson Inc. has been hit with a European Union import ruling that the motorcycle maker says would impose an import tariff of 56% on its products and keep it from functioning competitively in Europe.

The Milwaukee-based company announced the ruling along with better-than-expected sales and profit for the first quarter, news of which lifted the stock to a new multiyear high.

Harley-Davidson has been one of the highest-profile U.S. casualties of recent trade disputes, after the EU put a 25% duty on its bikes and other U.S. goods in 2018. Those levies were a response to tariffs the Trump administration imposed on steel and aluminum from producers in Europe and elsewhere.

On Monday, Harley-Davidson said Belgium’s Economic Ministry, on behalf of the EU, had notified the company that it was revoking an agreement that allowed the business to supply Europe with certain motorcycles produced at its international manufacturing facilities at tariff rates of 6%.

Harley-Davidson said the EU ruling would apply to its entire lineup and subject all products—regardless of origin—to a 56% import tariff within the trade bloc beginning June 1.

Harley-Davidson Has Missed the Mark in Electric Transportation

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by Travis Hoium from https://www.fool.com

The company can’t get over its past success.

The iconic Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) brand is in trouble. The company has seen revenue fall for a half-decade, and earnings have evaporated. Strategies to get into electric motorcycles have largely failed, and the core business doesn’t show any signs of a turnaround.

Despite all of these challenges, Harley-Davidson stock is up 82% over the past year, and investors seem optimistic about a turnaround. But there’s good reason to think that won’t happen for this leisure stock.

Harley-Davidson’s motorcycle market is shrinking

One thing is clear: Harley-Davidson’s market is getting smaller as the culture that brought the company to industry dominance diminishes. The customer base is aging, younger consumers are no longer interested in the look or sound of Harley-Davidsons, and growing markets adjacent to the motorcycle market have been difficult for the brand to enter.

The biggest challenge is that Harley-Davidson was always a culture brand, and that’s what made it so powerful for decades. It wasn’t just motorcycles — it was people’s apparel, the sound the bikes made, and long rides on the open road. As more people move to urban markets and look for less disruptive means of transportation, the culture looks out of date.

Going electric isn’t enough

Harley-Davidson hasn’t been completely surprised by the industry’s changes — it saw the electric vehicle market coming to motorcycles. But it miscalculated what kind of products consumers want and where its brand can connect. The current LiveWire products are a similar form factor to traditional motorcycles, but that’s not where consumers are trending.

Electric scooters are really where the growth has been, with Statista estimating that about 50 million electric scooters and bicycles were sold in 2020. Grand View Research estimates the electric scooter market will grow from $20 billion in 2020 to $42 billion in 2030. This is where the growth is, and Harley-Davidson is essentially absent. If it’s looking to attract younger customers, scooters would have been a great way to grow the business.

Just getting into electric mobility isn’t enough — companies have to make the right products and have the right brands. Harley-Davidson is neither, meaning it is missing out on a huge growth market that’s adjacent to its core products.

No easy answers

Management has tried to lay out a turnaround strategy. They want to get into used motorcycle sales, and expand the lineup of electric motorcycles and bicycles. But used bikes are just an easy revenue grab, and there’s no indication that Harley-Davidson will build significant market share in smaller electric mobility products.

The future is looking dimmer by the day for Harley-Davidson. Sometimes an iconic brand like this simply sees the world pass it by.