Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson reveals bold expansion plans, previews new models

Harley-Davidson reveals bold e...
Harley-Davidson will launch its first adventure bike in 2020, the Pan America 1250
Harley-Davidson will launch its first adventure bike in 2020, the Pan America 1250
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Harley-Davidson  is looking into a whole series of electric motorcycles, including the possibility of a city scooter
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Harley-Davidson  is looking into a whole series of electric motorcycles, including the possibility of a city scooter
The electric Harley-Davidson Livewire will finally go into production in 2019
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The electric Harley-Davidson Livewire will finally go into production in 2019
Harley-Davidson will launch its first adventure bike in 2020, the Pan America 1250
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Harley-Davidson will launch its first adventure bike in 2020, the Pan America 1250
The Harley-Davidson Custom 1250 will come in 2020
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The Harley-Davidson Custom 1250 will come in 2020
The Harley-Davidson Custom 1250 will be developed on the power-cruiser theme
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The Harley-Davidson Custom 1250 will be developed on the power-cruiser theme
Harley-Davidson's Streetfighter 975 will be launched in 2020
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Harley-Davidson's Streetfighter 975 will be launched in 2020
The last time Harley-Davidson produced a sporty motorcycle like the Streetfighter 975, it was the XR1200X
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The last time Harley-Davidson produced a sporty motorcycle like the Streetfighter 975, it was the XR1200X

Under the title "More Roads to Harley-Davidson," the American motorcycle manufacturer revealed its strategy to broaden its customer base. A series of new models in the next three years will include an adventure bike, a streetfighter, a custom, a small-displacement series and, finally, electric motorcycles.

When Harley-Davidson released its Q2 2018 results, it also announced that on July 30 it would share its plans to accelerate a strategy to attract customers from a wider base.

Facing slumping sales, especially in its domestic market, Harley-Davidson realizes the need to appeal to new riders, both in age and style. In this sense, it is no surprise that the latest press release from Milwaukee highlights the upcoming development of a series of new motorcycles, venturing in market segments previously unexplored by the US company.

Unsurprisingly, Harley-Davidson showcases an adventure bike first. The Pan America will be powered by a 1,250-cc V-twin and will attempt to tap into one of the most popular market segments, as evidenced by the growing number of huge motorcycles that emulate the SUV vibe.

The Harley-Davidson Custom 1250 will come in 2020
The Harley-Davidson Custom 1250 will come in 2020

Along with the Pan America, the same V-twin engine will also power a new Custom, apparently modeled after the power-cruiser styling of motorcycles like the Ducati Diavel.

Finally, the new model barrage will include a 975-cc Streetfighter, also going for a piece of the pie in one of the most popular market sectors, at least in Europe.

Harley-Davidson's Streetfighter 975 will be launched in 2020
Harley-Davidson's Streetfighter 975 will be launched in 2020

All three new motorcycles are scheduled to launch in 2020, with several spin-off models coming in the two following years to cover a broader spectrum in each segment.

For Asia, Harley-Davidson revealed that a whole new breed of small-capacity bikes are on the way, with displacements from 250 to 500 cc. These will be built in Asia by strategic partners, in order to keep prices as low as possible and thus make them accessible to large parts of the local customer base.

The electric Harley-Davidson Livewire will finally go into production in 2019
The electric Harley-Davidson Livewire will finally go into production in 2019

Finally, the electric prototype, Livewire, is going into production in 2019. As the automotive world gears up for the unavoidable shift from fossil fuels to electric power, Harley-Davidson gets on board and does so with ambitious plans that foresee a broad lineup of twist-and-go electric motorcycles, aimed at securing a commanding position for the brand in this new, rising market.

Judging from the sketches accompanying the announcement, Harley-Davidson is looking into a wide variety of electric models, including what appears to be a scooter.

For the time being there is no technical information on any of these new models; no word on the engines' pedigree, little more than intentions and a couple of photographs to support them.

Harley-Davidson  is looking into a whole series of electric motorcycles, including the possibility of a city scooter
Harley-Davidson  is looking into a whole series of electric motorcycles, including the possibility of a city scooter

Harley-Davidson's work isn't limited to designing new models; the company will also develop its market approach with new strategic alliances in the e-commerce sector, as well as explore its digital capabilities in order to enhance customer experience.

A lot of work will go into its dealer network, as it examines setting up smaller urban stores around the world to increase its reach.

There's no question that Harley-Davidson is about to change considerably. Facing stiff competition from Indian Motorcycles in its home market, a volatile political climate that almost burdened its most promising market – the European Union – with a sudden 25 percent tax, and a rising front of competition from countries like India and China, it has no other option than to diversify.

Create new products, stretch to several segments, streamline the dealer network and strive to adapt to constantly changing conditions; this is more or less the road ahead for Harley-Davidson.

"Harley-Davidson is iconic because we've never been static," said Harley-Davidson CEO, Matt Levatich. "In moving forward, we are tapping into the spirit that drove our founders back in 1903 and every one of the employees and dealers who rose to the challenges faced along the way. Our plan will redefine existing boundaries of our brand – reaching more customers in a way that reinforces all we stand for as a brand and as a company and we can't wait to kick it into gear."

Source: Harley-Davidson

9 comments
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Kudos to H-D for finally stepping into the 1990's! Too little, too late is likely to be the scenario here, tho. The competition in non-cruiser segments is just too entrenched, not to mention that which H-D considers its forte - name recog - is actually spat upon by most outside that specific demographic. Scoffed as fat, flashy, heavy, guzzling posers and wanna-be's, buyers will more likely go out of their way to avoid the H-D name (just as Buell experienced first hand among the crotch-rocket crowd.) Electrics? Maybe, if they play their cards right, but would be better off to just buy Zero outright and leverage their dealers to pawn 'em. As to the Asian market, their considering 250cc-500cc as "small" shows just how out of touch they are with that market. In India, for example, the 500cc Royal is considered an extravagant beast of a bike. When I showed my old Ninja 500 to Asian friends state-side, and described it as "small" (which its considered here by most), they chuckled a bit at my American bias. Good luck with it - change is good - but it'll be a hard road ahead until you hack off those blinders, boys!
nick101
"Harley-Davidson is iconic because we've never been static." Well, making the same bike for over 60 years is pretty static. Hope these new bikes sell or you'll be back making the old ones out of a single plant in Milwaukee
anthony88
Harley Davidson can please us non-customers by producing a silent bike that plays the big-bike sound through headphones mounted in the rider's helmet. I say get stuffed Harley Davidson. I don't give a damn about your bikes and their sound except to deride the self-indulgent man-children who ride them.
Stonewall321
They had literally all of these things when they had the Buell brand. The idiots shut down their best option to compete with the other brands back in 2008 because Buell wasn't making enough because they did no advertising for them. I own an older one and have ridden the XB12s they were all fantastic.
MikeRyanc95317ae2315443b
I see that the "Livewire" will be the first of a twist-and-go electric line up. My how things change, I never thought a brand like HD would be selling scooters.
Gregg Eshelman
What kind of motorcycle racing gets the most coverage on TV in the USA? 250cc and 500cc air cooled dirt bikes. What does Harley Davidson NOT make? Air cooled 250cc and 500cc dirt bikes. The engine for their V-Rod was developed from a racing engine, but *nobody* in the USA (or anywhere else?) ever gets to see those races. HD just isn't bothering to try to compete with KTM, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Husqvarna. Harleys jumping over the finish line for the win in AMA Motocross ought to boost their sales, but there are no HDs on those tracks. For the past 44+ years HD has stuck to paved flat track / road course racing, but the 'big bikes' get no TV coverage. All I ever see are the smaller displacement air cooled bikes that are all brands from other countries. Last year HD showed a dirt flat track bike, but it's also a 750cc, liquid cooled beast. https://jalopnik.com/harley-davidson-is-building-fierce-little-race-bikes-ag-1779160139 Have these even entered competition? If the public at large don't see it over and over, it may as well not exist!
Wolf0579
Harley can make whatever they want, but until they quit pricing their motorcycles higher than most starter homes, they will only be selling them to the small slice of the affluent who wish to pretend they're bad-asses.
Daishi
There were a decent number of people who liked Buell motorcycles and it seems like HD could have retained the brand even at a marginal loss because they could have expanded Buell into things like Supermoto or sport touring easier than HD positioning it more as a competitor to large manufacturers and BMW. I feel like HD is a very specific niche premium brand that will be difficult to diversify without alienating the existing user-base. I would have let Buell chase other popular models and released an HD Y config trike (like a Harley Can Am Spyder) that offers an option of a hugely powerful motor and oversized rear wheel that would destroy drag strips. I think an electric Y config trike with a huge battery would be interesting too and since Can Am never built one HD could have stolen their thunder. Some of the concepts are interesting but I'd expect HD market share to continue to decline.
possum1
Electric - yes, possibilities. Pan American - styled by LEGO. Streetfighter - go look at a 10 year old Yamaha MT-01, its the same ! Good try at diversification, but stop getting your clues from the Sturgis crowd. The best engine HD had in the last 30 years was in the V-Rod - unfortunately. If it had been in a sport/tourer configuration it may have been their best seller, in my uninformed opinion.