Speculation is rife that several Harley-Davidson models will be deleted for 2021 in the wake of the delay in launching two new models and plans to reduce output to create more ”exclusivity”.
UPDATE (July 30): Harley has announced 30% of planned models will be axed. Click here for more details.
American website Total Motorcycle has published what it claims is the manufacturer’s list of 2021 models with the FXDR 114, Breakout 114 and Softail Deluxe deleted. They also say there are rumours all CVOs will be deleted for 2021.
But the list does add the recently delayed Pan America 1250 adventure bike and the Bronx Streetfighter 975, plus a Softail Custom and a Sportster Streetfighter.
The latter two additions will probably just be parts-bin specials.
We can’t vouch for the veracity of the 2021 model list, but there are a few things that strike us as strange or contradictory.
The Motor Company is expected to go through a major overhaul with new boss Jochen Zeitz laying down his five-year “Rewire” strategy. It follows the former boss’s “More Roads” strategy for 100 new models in 10 years.
However, Jochen’s plan does not necessarily mean fewer new models.
In fact, he committed to branching out to adventure touring, the new Streetfighter range and electric motorcycles. The Total Motorcycles list includes the LiveWire and electric bicycles and a scooter.
Jochen also says his “Rewire” strategy will expand “profitable iconic heritage bikes” and “continue to expand beyond traditional products and markets”.
It doesn’t sound like a wholesale axing of models.
And surely the Softail Deluxe qualifies as an “iconic heritage bike” while the Breakout 114 would qualify as profitable, especially in Australia where the 114 and 107 versions have been among their biggest sellers for several years.
However, we can totally understand if the FXDR Softail is deleted.
It looks more like a vacuum cleaner than a motorcycle and has subsequently not sold well.
Another pointer to the FXDR facing the axe is the fact that a limited run of 30 FXDR 114 models (pictured above) with special, cosmetic modifications is being launched for sale in the UK and Ireland only. Sounds like a tactic to get rid of excess stock.
Harley is not shy about axing models that don’t sell well. We’ve seen a host of models come and go over the years.
As for CVO models being deleted, that does seem strange, especially since the Total Motorcycles 2021 model list shows the CVO Road Glide, CVO Street Glide, CVO Limited and CVO Tri Glide!
Harley usually only releases three or four CVOs each year and the models vary every year or so.
They don’t sell many, but the profit margin per bike is high.
So axing any CVOs doesn’t fit with Jochen’s plan to expand “profitable iconic heritage bikes”.
This week, Harley resumes manufacturing in the US after two months of pandemic lockdown.
The Motor Company says it will be a phased approach to resuming production, “following the guidelines of public health and regulatory authorities and keeping employee health and safety front and centre.”
Consequently output will be reduced not just for “exclusivity” but also for practical health and logistic reasons.
So we expect preference will be given to the more profitable and popular models leading to a shortfall in some models.
A memo to US dealers says they can expect only about 70% of ordered models.
However, Harley-Davidson Australia spokesman Keith Waddell says they “will have supply coming throughout the remainder of 2020”.