Harley-Davidson’s New Strategy ― Smaller Bikes, Electric Engines, Online Sales
MILWAUKEE, WI – July 31, 2018
Harley-Davidson will start production of electric motorcycles in 2019 as part of a major overhaul to boost slumping sales.
The American motorcycle company, facing dwindling sales in its home market, said Monday that it will roll out some new products and stores to broaden its audience and invigorate sales. This is part of Harley-Davidson’s plan to attract new riders — smaller bikes, smaller stores, and quieter engines.
The company, which has been headquartered in Milwaukee since 1903, is hoping to reverse a sales slump by rolling out some big changes.
There’s a new route on the road ahead for Harley-Davidson including a line of smaller bikes, online sales, small urban storefronts, and even some electric engines. Livewire, Harley's first electric bike prototype, was rolled out in 2014 and the company says it will start production in 2019.
“Harley is doing what it has always done, responding to customer wants and needs,” said Al Currie, Sales at House of Harley-Davidson.
The Milwaukee motorcycle maker is battling slumping sales, and facing backlash over its plans to move some production overseas to combat high tariffs.
“We have to do what we have to do based on the facts and circumstances before us, and we are doing that”, the company’s CEO Matt Levatich said on a national CNBC talk show.
Levatich said the latest moves are an effort to reach a new generation of riders, without hurting the Harley brand.
“I don’t want anyone to think that we’re running away from our core customer and the strength that the company has today”, Levatich said.
But it’s the electric engine that may be both the most talked about, and quietest, part of that new plan.
But convincing long-time riders may be tough — they like the sound of a motorcycle, and there’s no sound from the electric bike, it just whirls.
Still, even those locked into Harley tradition trust that the company is following the right path.
The company stressed that the new plan is in addition to its current operation.
The CEO says there are no plans to scale back any of its current production, and that all motorcycles sold here in the U.S. will continue to be made in the U.S.