Harley-Davidson is taking a big risk by launching new smaller motorcycles by 2020 to grow its business — but it could pay off
The news just keeps on coming from the embattled — yet still iconic — American motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson.
On Monday, the Milwaukee-based company announced a substantial overhaul of its global strategy. Notably, the move wasn't in response to President Donald Trump's recent attacks on the brand. Trump complained when Harley announced in June that it would shift production to non-US markets to build bikes for Europe, dodging potential tariffs.
Harley said it would bring to market three new bikes — based in a smaller, "modular" architecture — in 2020. They'll be what the company called its first Adventure Touring motorcycle, the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250, as well as a 1250cc custom model and a 975cc Streetfighter model.
The much-anticipated all-electric Harley, the LiveWire, was announced in third place. Old news, to be sure, and couched in the terminology of ongoing market leadership for Harley. But electric motorcycles are a very niche area, so it's unclear whether Harley will be able to use the technology to reverse its fortunes. (The stock has slid 15% in the year to date.)
The LiveWire is still on schedule for a 2019 launch and could bring some new riders into the fold, as it will be simpler to operate than a gas-powered bike.
|Harley-Davidson is taking a big risk by launching new motorcycles by 2020 to grow its business — but it could pay off
Harley-Davidson has announced a new strategy to take on global markets and push forward with electric motorcycles. The iconic company has been reeling from attacks by President Donald Trump and a structurally declining US market.