Harley-Davidson Inc. plans to launch motorcycles in the small and mid-sized segment as it unveiled a major change in its strategy to target young buyers in emerging markets such as India and China.
"This new product and broader distribution is meant to fuel Harley-Davidson " s customer access and growth in India, one of the largest, fastest growing markets in the world, and other Asia markets", the company said in a statement.
Harley, known for its car-alarm triggering engine rumble, will roll out an electric motorcycle called LiveWire next year, with no clutch and no gears.
Harley-Davidson also said it is developing "more accessible" offerings in the 250cc to 500cc range for the Asian market.
This one is closest to a transitional design for Harley-Davidson. 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-Davidson are planning a new middleweight platform encompassing motorcycles from 500cc to 1250cc and will spawn Harley's first adventure-touring machine.
Traditional dealerships will still play an important role, and Harley-Davidson says it will implement a new performance framework to strengthen its dealer network.
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'Alongside our existing loyal riders, we will lead the next revolution of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future riders who have yet to even think about the thrill of riding, ' Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said in a statement. More electric models, including smaller and lighter bikes, will arrive through 2022.
Its first electric motorcycle will be launched next year, and more models are planned through 2022.
It's dealing declining sales and an aging riding population amid criticism from President Donald Trump for the company's decision to move production of motorcycles sold in Europe overseas to avoid retaliatory tariffs the European Union is imposing on American exports.
'It can fit into your life a lot easier, ' he said of the new all-electric Harley-Davidson models.
The announcement by Harley comes after three consecutive years of declining sales in India.
At the same time, riders are getting older.
The company is looking at a "strategic alliance" that could enable it to manufacture smaller motorcycles in India, sources said, though it is not yet clear who could be the possible partner. 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. "India's 250-500cc motorcycle segment is expected to grow at 25 per cent every year through 2021".