Harley To You: Drop Dead

July 31, 2018

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Harley To You: Drop Dead

It is not your Harley-Davidson anymore.

Harley is incinerating its backward looking marketing philosophy. All that nostalgic crap about Flatheads, Knuckleheads, Pans and Shovels, World War II, Hollister and The Wild One, Pissed Off Bastards and Vietnam Vets, the Motor Company logo tattooed on guys’ arms, the Harley shield hanging on the walls of every two lift shop, buy American, American nationalism and American workers working in American factories to feed American children? That sentimentality just won’t cut it anymore.

This is more serious than any of that. This is about the big bucks. This is about finding the future. And for sure, the future ain’t in someplace like Kansas City.

Harley wants the people who have been loyally buying, stripping and rebuilding their overpriced, candy colored, crap wagons for the last hundred years to know that they really appreciate your interest but Harley, and the economy, and America and the World have decided to go in a different direction. The big Milwaukee Holy Cow began revealing who they have rejected you for yesterday.

$825 Million

The future is Asia and Africa and Harley is going there with an $825 million marketing plan called “More Roads to Harley-Davidson.”

Harley said yesterday that it plans to collaborate with an as yet unamed “Asian Manufacturing Partner” to build 250cc to 500cc motorcycles for the Indian Market and eventually for Southeast Asia and China where the company sees “strong sales growth potential.”

“We believe that EV (electric vehicles) is where global mobility is headed and holds great appeal for existing riders as well as opportunity to bring new riders into the sport. We intend to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles and, at the same time, remain true to our gas and oil roots by continuing to produce a broad portfolio of motorcycles that appeal to all types of riders around the world,” Harley CEO Mathew Levatich said.

Bzzz Bzzz

The company will release an electric motorcycle called the LiveWire in the United States next year. The sales pitch for that vehicle goes:

“The LiveWire model is an authentic Harley-Davidson expression of individuality, iconic style and performance that just happens to be electric. It will provide a visceral riding experience with instant torque and thrilling acceleration – no clutch, just twist and go.”

“This new, powerful-yet-easy-to-ride premium motorcycle takes its cues from Project LiveWire, the prototype motorcycle tested by thousands of riders around the world to inform what a true Harley-Davidson® electric motorcycle should be.”

“Like every Harley-Davidson® motorcycle, LiveWire is an exciting motorcycle to ride and has a look, sound and feel that is authentic and original.”

Vehicular Diversity

Harley will introduce a new model called the Streetfighter in India in 2020. The 975cc, gasoline powered sport bike was designed by Indian designer Chetaan Shedjale.

In 2020 Harley plans to start selling a gasoline powered, 1250cc “adventure motorcycle” called the Pan-America. That motorcycle will compete for market share with other adventure class bikes like the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and the Honda Africa Twin.

The company announced three more electric vehicles for 2022. One looks like a dirt bike and the other is a moped. Harley also plans to start selling a bicycle powered by an electric motor.


In all, Harley plans to introduce 100 new vehicles in the next decade. The company didn’t announce how many of them will be riding lawnmowers.

Finally, the company plans to open smaller urban storefronts “to expose the brand to urban populations and drive sales.”

“The bold actions we are announcing today leverage Harley-Davidson’s vast capabilities and competitive firepower – our excellence in product development and manufacturing, the global appeal of the brand and of course, our great dealer network,” said Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich.


74 Responses to “Harley To You: Drop Dead”

  1. Rod Says:

    I have ridden an e-motorcycle made by zero, very fast indeed. But honestly the very low powered e-bicycles make more sense for your average urban yuppie. You can get one with a reasonable 5 year service deal for around $2,700 and generally they do not require plates or insurance, but that may change. I don’t see how HD can make any money in this area. All of us know the averge HD owners are aging and really there is nothing that can be done about that.

    HD has to accept it may sell fewer bikes in the USA each year, it will have to layoff workers and downsize to stay in business. Trying to use the brand name with e-bike riders will generate no real sales here. In Europe HD is a niche product, with a limited market. the bulk of sales are for cafe racers. HD cafe racers generally have not caught on. Selling 500 cc HDs in Asia will work only for a while, they will be copied and beat on price and quality points by the Japs fast who already have low cost production in numerous countries.

  2. Penguin Says:

    Trumpster sez: “Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better,” Trump said in a Twitter post.


    Trump met Saturday with a group of bikers who support him, posing for pictures with about 180 bikers at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is on vacation.


  3. Filburt Says:

    President Trump Making America Great Again and Draining the Swamp.


  4. Jimmy Says:

    FUCK Harley Davidson ! Let them die. They are a choice but not the only choice

  5. Filburt Says:

    Elon Musk taking Tesla private! H-D Levitick will follow.

  6. Mark Says:

    @ moto
    HD is not a private business but an Incorporation which is it’s own person. The SCOTUS has ruled that corporations are people and have rights just like you and me. Corporations can pour hundreds of millions of dollars into elections to get people and propositions elected or passed. Because of their First Amendment Rights, just like yours. How do you think a person running for the office of POTUS can muster up a billion dollaors $1,000,000,000? Because of corporations and those corporations Frist Amendment Rights. The writer of the story PCR is in jest saying to hold these corporations as the “individual” they are by law to the same standards as any person that would engage in such acts against the American People, per se. Say HD was owned by 3 of the original family members and was a private company. What do you think the government would do if those 3 people were firing all those American workers and shipping their jobs overseas? I get what you’re driving at and don’t disagree with your logic and reasoning but that’s not how it works anymore.

  7. obfvscated Says:

    Harley repeating past fuckups doesn’t surprise me, but no loss if they tank.

    There are already enough aftermarket suppliers to build any big twin without using a single Harley nut, bolt or washer.

    What made biking great was the community originated by mechanics. If you couldn’t wrench you walked a lot. It was a great social filter favoring the self-reliant. No more new appliances? Big fucking deal. The determined will ride.

  8. Penguin Says:

    About nationalization of key industry…Truman threatened to take over the steel industry, and he was surely not a commie. Some may argue that he was a fascist. Looks to me like the MIC is so inter-twined with Uncle Same that it looks like snakes phucing. Is that nationalization? Who is getting nationalized by whom?

    Paul Craig Roberts wrote about nationalization https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/07/31/who-does-america-belong-to/

    Elsewhere, in another thread, Paladin gave us the url to a legal lecture on the 5th amendment. In the video the professor give the url to his written article on the matter of what to say to cops. This differs from the lecture.

    here is url to written article https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1998119

    The two, however, do not really address the ordinary cop encounter over one or another real or imagined “offenses”…but it would be nice to see what would happen if people simply 100% refused to speak…sort of a mass “shunning” of cops. I was taught that when cop stops you, you must say who you are and what you’re doing, and where you live…but that was 70 years ago. You have to say something… I would guess name and serial number ought to do it. (yes, there’s a sarcastic implication there)

    Rumpole and the Right to Silence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56XvSmHRDAw

  9. Gooch Says:

    Being raised from Southeastern Wisconsin, going to the rallies every year in tomahawk. Make it a point to visit the up north plant. Fond memories of ridingng over the home bridge past or Pabst the Harley plant in Milwaukee. Knowing personally people who made their living in Milwaukee and Harley . And the Christmas is filled with Harley gifts things I’ll never forget at the same time it leaves a bitter taste duality I guess it seems the ones you trust are the only ones with the ability to stab you in the back Rebel on! Gooch

  10. common sense Says:

    At 59 I’m fortunate to own a 1990 FXR and a 2015 Street Bob both of which are highly modified. The first thing we do when we see something is think “How does this look ?” For me the new dyna softails do not look as good as the old dynas. They say they handle better but hey thats why I upgraded my bikes. If all I wanted was a better handling bike I would have bought a sport bike. I’m lucky to have enough cash to upgrade. Some people may not agree but why would someone by a 1963 Vette and trick it out instead of just buying a new one which is faster and handles better? You get my drift. To each’s own.

  11. freebird Says:

    Somethings are timeless…..


  12. Penguin Says:

    So, what we will do after the MoCo? Is obvious, in our own ways we will do what Ivan did after USSR – build from the wreckage. Actually I think we already are, since the MoCo has stopped building for infinite life-cycles, when? With the welded crankshafts? Sometime about then…


    (The motor in the video is a 1200cc v4 from a Soviet Fiat car…) I myself would like to see a bike built around a flat-head V4 Wisconsin…

  13. Curbside Says:


    “Nothing beats being in a club where the bylaws state “American made V-Twin”. You can rock a Polaris ride, easily smoke brothers with way more money dumped in the mill and not spend all day changing oil cause you got to drain it 3 times vs 1.”

    Yup. I know a young man with a later-model Octane, and it has no problem rolling alongside my S&S 107 evo. I don’t even like thinking about how bad that thing raped my little hotrod Sportster!

    My next bike will be a Victory.

  14. Chief Says:

    They’ll start selling official HD playing cards along with licensed spoke attachment device for the livewire model. $99.99 plus tax

  15. Gooch Says:

    What a shame, nothing I can do about it now. Rebel on!

  16. FF Says:

    Aging Rebellians, all we have left is yesterday.

  17. Gordo Says:

    It will cost extra for that baseball card ya put in the spokes

  18. James W Crawford Says:

    Trump will keep Harley Davidson manufacturing for the US market in America simply by imposing tariffs. Let Harley build for emerging markets in Emerging Countries.

  19. moto Says:

    @mark So… a portion of the same ‘party of small government’ that HATES communism wants to embrace communist practices, like ‘nationalizing’ private businesses?

    What the hell is going on

  20. Mr Nobody Says:

    Those “smaller urban storefronts” sounds like a “clothing and riding gear only” type of place.

    I can understand Harley’s desire to move into the 250/500cc Indian and Asian markets. Normal Harley’s in India are called “Superbikes”. And after you account for the exchange rate between their currency and ours, they’re being sold there for the same price as in the USA. And in places like India they take up a lot of space on the roads. Like USA millennials The average India Indian cannot afford a Harley. And the smaller engine size motorcycles are the daily drivers for these folks. So I don’t fault Harley for trying to get into that market.

    I don’t really have anything positive to say about their 3 new model designs. Except that where I live the type of people who buy bikes like the “Pan-American” are rich liberals (really fake liberals, meaning they want the financial benefits of being a republican while maintaining the B.S. moral superiority by giving lip service to the traditional liberal social values). And here Harley will lose (at least in the short term. Because a Harley isn’t a BMW.

  21. tom Says:

    They forgot the golf cart market

  22. GB_FXR Says:

    It’s just a motorcycle company. But it’s the only big one we have. How many of us want them to die off before we do? Baby boomers are on their way out and Harley probably should have done things a little different after 2008 and got lucky with a TV biker show keeping them a little relavant but they still snoozed a bit and let Polaris in. So now what is the future of the company without some forward thinking? Making money from over seas sales to keep dealerships open here and Americans employed? Nobody seems to want to solve the equation of what supply and demand will look like for the MOCO moving forward. My kids are Milennials and HD isn’t getting through to them any time soon. Hell, motorcycles or going anywhere for that matter doesn’t appeal to most of them. They can’t afford them and for a $50 unlimited data plan their whole world (and instant satisfaction) is in the palm of their hand. I’m sure there will be a minority that get off their asses, take advantage of the flood of used bikes now available and join the DIY movement. For most of them they are ate least 10 years from being able to afford a new bike. what will this all look like in 10-15 years? I don’t want HD to die just because they make shit I don’t like. I want them to stay alive because of the shit they make that I need etc. Also keeps the lifestyle going from top to bottom from racing to parts companies, indie shops etc all see a taste in the end. But Fuck em all with fucking no regrets (yes, damage inc) because that makes total sense. Sorry if I got too “big picture” for some of you. Like I said, it’s just a motorcycle company.

  23. Mark Says:


    This is pretty cool link that came out after Rebel’s story here, talk about timing. Paul Craig Roberts is a Patriot and a smart guy. He says Trump should nationalize these companies that are kicking the USA to the curb. Starting with Ford for helping to build China and giving the USA the bird in the review minor. Likely isn’t going to happen but it’s well wrote and a positive thought.

  24. jrino Says:

    got 3 hd’s
    bot new in 1980{still own}
    won one in 2001 {still own}
    and a 2013
    don’t need another
    so Me to Harley: “Don’t care what you do!” been to Thailand and they like 100cc scooter’s so good luck in asia

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