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50 new Harley-Davidson models planned

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Harley-Davidson electric Livewire

Harley-Davidson will introduce 50 new models in the next five years to counteract stalling sales, including an electric bike, says boss Matt Levatich.

“I’ve never been more excited about our product pipeline in my 22 years here at Harley-Davidson,” he says.

The Milwaukee motorcycle manufacturer released its 2016 fourth quarter results this week showing a slow domestic market offset by a 2.3% increase in international sales.

Australia is one of those international markets performing well with sales up 5% to 10,282 to make the company the top seller in road bikes.

Matt says they will add 200 more overseas dealers by 2020.

While Matt wouldn’t reveal anything about the 50 new models they are planning, he points to the success of their big projects over the past few years – LiveWire (electric motorcycle), Rushmore (Touring range), Milwaukee Eight engine and their new suspension system.

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Project Rushmore

“If people were excited about the projects I just named, they haven’t seen anything yet,” he says.

So 50 new bikes sounds like a lot, but they have introduced about 25 new or upgraded models since Matt told us in 2013 that they planned learner and electric bikes.

He’s a straight-talking, long-time Harley worker and he doesn’t seem to lie or embellish.

Matt adds that they will reinvent product segments and push into new ones.

Harley-Davidson boss Matt Levatich 50
Matt Levatich

In June 2016, Harley said they would start producing an electric motorcycle within five years, so that’s obviously one of the new sectors.

Matt’s plan for the future also involves increasing its learner rider program, which may also indicate more learner bikes like the Street 500.

“We do not just build motorcycles, we build drivers, too. We are focusing on the next generation of riders,” he says.

There is also a hint that the new 107 and 114-cube Milwaukee Eight engines in the 2017 Touring range will be soon be introduced to other models.

Matt says last year’s launch of the engine was “a sign of the innovation we have in place”.

“We are confident our 2018 line will also help sales. I have never been more excited about the products in our pipeline,” he says.

Trump trip called off

Meanwhile, Harley has dodged some political embarrassment when a planned trip to Milwaukee by President Donald Trump was called off.

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Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee

The President’s organisers were planning to visit the Harley Museum which prompted Harley to deny they had invited Trump.

Anti-Trump activists were already planning a protest at the museum when they heard of the possibility of his visit.

Harley said no invitation had been issued to the President.

Instead, Harley executives visited the President at the White House.

While a motorcycle group supporting Trump attracted a lot of riders during his Presidential campaign, the last thing Harley needs at the moment is to add divisive politics to their business.

It is an interesting move Harley considering is targeting Black African Americans, Hispanics and women for sales growth and none of those groups is a big fan of the Donald.

  1. Honestly, i think it’s great to see HD planning to expand it’s range to a broader spectrum. I would love to see some more urban muscle cruisers similar to the V-ROD muscle and Night Rod Special but with more of a mainstream V-twin like a beefed up 112ci Milwaukee/Screaming Eagle big bore factory Hot Rod with a 240 rear tire and a sport-bike like suspension with inverted shocks, big Brembo brakes, a Screaming eagle dual exhaust that comes out on both sides but angles higher up, twin LED headlights, mid mount pegs, a drag bar handle bar, reduced reach option for the seating, etc. It needs to have the classic HD sound to it as well. I would love to see that in a trike version as well. That bike also needs to have a killer sound system and a sporty windscreen option as well along with modern “muscle car” style wheels and paint. Even if HD called the bike version the V-Rod Hot Rod and the trike the Tri-Rod, i think it would sell

    1. The V-Rod never took off with Harley riders, so pouring more money into it would be a waste. The new tourers and baggers with the Milwaukee Eight engine are selling like hot cakes so it should be introduced to the rest of the line in 2018. That’s where the money is.

      1. they can’t sell if they’re 45-55,000, they won’t take off. what they need for people on the street is something like, or exactly, the cushman eagle about 30% bigger with a sportster motor or the like , in it.
        that one they’re reproducing in California is a corner store bike with 18 hp. chick bike
        What they also need is a new XLCH, little bigger than the current sportster, fast as lightning, 145 hp at the rear wheel. That’s a short run solution. What the problems really is, is the Destruction of the middle class by nafta and they just not going to help sell those giant baggers which are already off the price charts for the average american. with exporting 78 million american jobs is creating a middle class in india, china, and indonesia, so yes, the international sales will continue to grow. the imports are selling a sportster and cruiser for 10,000 and below 7800, sometimes on sale and Harley shouldn’t have had to borrow hundreds of millions from warren buffet and pay hundreds of millions in interest to him. they should have borrowed it and been able to get it from the federal reserve directly. that’s how foreign corporations operate. we’re eliminating the shopping centers by buying on the internet. why can’t our major corporatings get loan money directly from the federal reserve if that interest rate advantage gives them an environment where they can expand their work force right here in the united states. we’ve got to vote out the globalist out of office and all their embeded puppets on every level of government if industries like harley are going to survive. we can’t go on like we’re going. we need less ivey league graduates and more people with rolled up sleeves and grease on their hands running and working in this country. we’ve got all the economist who sit around and think too much now. We’ve got to rethink our economic system if the U/S is going to survive. Business as usual is gone forever.

  2. agree would be nice if they brought back the vrod and made it lighter faster and more agile, 0-60 in the 2.6 range

  3. Why does everything that HD builds have to be a 800 pound gas guzzling behemoth?
    Building crap to service the Hells angels crowd isn’t going to carry them much farther into the future. Seems to me Milwaukee has some of the finest engineers in the world……have you seen the new Hero diesel scooter they are going to build in India????……3 digit mpg….. Milwaukee can’t do it better?????……with American workers and a warranty???????

    1. You are the typical know nothing Harley hater twit. My 03 Dyna weighs 620 pounds with a full tank of gas, has 115 Hp and gets 40mpg. Find out what any of the Jap vtwin cruisers weigh and what their MPG are.

      1. 2019 yamaha vmax 170hp 686 pounds not too much more considering it’s way more powerful. Your dyna weighs 670 pounds with a full tank btw. If yours weighs only 620 then it definitely isnt stock.

  4. Harley needs to make a mid-sized sport bagger, something with a fixed fairing and hard bags that’s under 700lbs. Preferably on the Dyna platform, that switchback missed the mark. Performance Harley’s are all the rage right now, harley needs to strike while the irons hot!!

    1. Are you serious? A standard softail, alone (which used to be called the Softail Custom, then Softail Standard, before it was discontinued), without panniers is a few lbs shy of 700….If you want an underpowered and overweight bike, look elsewhere.

      My concern has always been HD’s issue with the FXCWC model, that had MASSIVE interest, yet was removed from the line after 2011….Was there even a legitimate reason besides market value, for doing so?

      Because international markets are massively different to US/Can markets….They should seriously consider bringing back the FXCWC and the FXST models, before I will take HD seriously again!

  5. VRod muscle, first bike I fell in love with, first bike I bought, only bike I own, and unless they plan on topping it, only harley I will ever own.

    So far all I’ve seen from harley year after year is a rehash of the old. If people wanted more of the old, harley wouldn’t be losing sales year after year after year.

    The live wire is great, but personally I’m not interested in the crotchrocket scene, but the new kids sprobably are. I’m sure harley will do their best to price it out of their reach.

  6. I think the V-rod was a step in the right direction but lacked performance numbers compared to other sport cruisers within its category. Besides HD pulling out one type with no variations meant it was targeting a new but very narrow market.

    Whats coming out now is much more like it with a much wider variation. Im from EU and holding off onn buying the next street fighter until I get a closer look at what HD are coming out with

    Ive had jap bikes too. You cant have a cheap bike thats well made.

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