As Harley-Davidson (HOG) continues to lose market share, the company has embarked on another pivot. This pivot is a pretty substantial change for HD, who has often been known for their loud-piped “hogs.” Harley “is a victim of it’s own success,” states Motley Fool - “today’s motorcycle buyer doesn’t fit the image of the traditional Harley customer.” People are less interested in the outlaw rebel biker image that has been the focus of Harley’s marketing pitch for a very long time, and they’re less inclined to foot the bill when it comes to the high price tag of the traditional hog.
For the most recent change du jour, Harley revealed 2019 plans for an all-electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, at EICMA in Milan, Italy this last Tuesday.
The question that remains is: “Is this too little, too late?” For a long time, Harley has struggled with change from the days of the constant line-up of push-rod V-twins in the flavor of N-Head to Evolution engines, to Erik Buell, to the Porsche-assisted overhead-cam VRSCA V-Rod, and up to today’s market where the public seems to be clamoring more and more for high performing environmentally-conscious Electric Vehicles. With a continually aging demographic, Harley is looking to get new audiences excited again about motorcycles for different reasons than they have traditionally. Does the company have enough marketing clout and engineering muscle to pull this venture off in a profitable way?
The new LiveWire motorcycle’s price should be revealed in January, with select US and European dealerships offering the bike through the end of 2019.