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Dodsfall 12-15-2011 06:14 AM

Harley Davidson will offer cheaper, lighter, and smaller motorcycles
 
Matt Levatich, Harley Davidson's chief operating officer, said the company will offer bikes that are more physically and financially accessible at the Reuters Global Manufacturing and Transportation Summit this week. Increasing market share in emerging markets seems to be the goal.

"In the past, our market was predominantly core customers in the United States," Levatich said. "We see an opportunity, not to make (scooter-sized) bikes by any stretch, but to make Harley-Davidsons that are physically and financially accessible for emerging markets, for international markets, for the United States for that matter."

No plans are being made for manufacture outside of the US, although "complete-knock-down" assembly plants are being used in India and Brazil to get around tariff regulations in those countries. Harley Davidson has had issues with international partnerships in the past, specifically an Italian distributor who didn't promote the larger bikes as the company wished. Harley Davidson has so far resisted partnering with Chinese companies for the manufacture of motorcycles for sale in Asia.

"We feel we were aided in waiting a little bit and not getting in early with a JV partner that had a different idea of what the Harley brand could be or should be," Levatich said. "Part of the decision to go in on our own was because of the cleanup work we've had to do, a lot of the cleanup work was where we were buying out distributors and resetting the market."

The less expensive motorcycles are planned to be marketed in the US as well as emerging markets worldwide. Currently, Harley Davidson's exports amount to about 35% of it's sales, up from 25% just a few years ago. The motor company plans to have 40% of it's sales as exports by 2014.


[The Kneeslider | Reuters]

JasonSK 12-15-2011 08:32 AM

Can't wait to see what they have to offer in these new bikes.

Neognosis 12-15-2011 09:15 AM

hmm.... This could be a good idea, especially if they made the branding slightly different to keep the imagined prestige of owning a "real" HD.

Like call the smaller group of bikes something like Harley Davidson Performance Series or something like that.

Badlands-4-2 12-15-2011 09:54 AM

Even the 883 is considered a big bike in many parts of the world. This put HD bikes out of ereach for a huge part of the international market. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

zmago 12-15-2011 10:02 AM

If they can make a 400 lb, 180 hp bike with a 100 cu. in., 45 degree pushrod V-twin with all-American parts and sell it for under $3000, they'll have a big hit on their hands.

BP03 12-15-2011 06:41 PM

only took em what...20 years ? =P

This could mean big things for the 1200 Sportsters and the V-Rod

ClassicVW 12-15-2011 10:14 PM

They also realize that their customer base is rapidly aging. Smaller, lighter, and cheaper bikes not only gets them into emerging markets, but may get them a younger buyer in the U.S.A.

They will definitely have to be called something different, or they will dilute the brand name.

sirgilbert357 12-16-2011 07:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zmago (Post 838902)
If they can make a 400 lb, 180 hp bike with a 100 cu. in., 45 degree pushrod V-twin with all-American parts and sell it for under $3000, they'll have a big hit on their hands.

Thats a joke right? The criteria are ALMOST possible, except for that one little problem with the price...Even the Japanese aren't pricing their bikes that low...

Badlands-4-2 12-16-2011 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zmago (Post 838902)
If they can make a 400 lb, 180 hp bike with a 100 cu. in., 45 degree pushrod V-twin with all-American parts and sell it for under $3000, they'll have a big hit on their hands.

Any manufacturer that hit those specs with a bike could sell them as fast as they could produce them. Harley needs to come up with a replacement for the Buell Blast, except that this one needs to be made overseas for the overseas markets. Many places overseas, motorcycles are primary transportation but American made bikes are crazy expensive because of tarifs and import taxes. The bike has to be made overseas to avoid the extra costs and be price competitive.

zmago 12-16-2011 09:30 AM

I forgot, it has to be air-cooled. ;)

ReconLdr 12-16-2011 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dodsfall (Post 838886)
Matt Levatich, Harley Davidson's chief operating officer, said the company will offer bikes that are more physically and financially accessible at the Reuters Global Manufacturing and Transportation Summit this week. Increasing market share in emerging markets seems to be the goal.

"In the past, our market was predominantly core customers in the United States," Levatich said. "We see an opportunity, not to make (scooter-sized) bikes by any stretch, but to make Harley-Davidsons that are physically and financially accessible for emerging markets, for international markets, for the United States for that matter."

No plans are being made for manufacture outside of the US, although "complete-knock-down" assembly plants are being used in India and Brazil to get around tariff regulations in those countries. Harley Davidson has had issues with international partnerships in the past, specifically an Italian distributor who didn't promote the larger bikes as the company wished. Harley Davidson has so far resisted partnering with Chinese companies for the manufacture of motorcycles for sale in Asia.

"We feel we were aided in waiting a little bit and not getting in early with a JV partner that had a different idea of what the Harley brand could be or should be," Levatich said. "Part of the decision to go in on our own was because of the cleanup work we've had to do, a lot of the cleanup work was where we were buying out distributors and resetting the market."

The less expensive motorcycles are planned to be marketed in the US as well as emerging markets worldwide. Currently, Harley Davidson's exports amount to about 35% of it's sales, up from 25% just a few years ago. The motor company plans to have 40% of it's sales as exports by 2014.


[The Kneeslider | Reuters]

I thought they tried this once before. [Buell]

ClassicVW 12-16-2011 01:42 PM

They did. They had a good start with it (Buell Blast) and then they screwed it up....

KMWilliams 12-16-2011 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReconLdr (Post 839096)
I thought they tried this once before. [Buell]


Go back 60 years.



http://harleyhummer.com/PHOTOS/51z.jpg

Badlands-4-2 12-17-2011 12:27 PM

Found this picture of a proposed 750 bike I found on Motorcyclist magazines site. Could be interesting.
http://www.hdforums.com/forum/attach...n-v-r750r-.jpg

shubonker 12-17-2011 12:32 PM

^ I would buy that in a heartbeat for under $7k

ReconLdr 12-17-2011 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Badlands-4-2 (Post 839281)
Found this picture of a proposed 750 bike I found on Motorcyclist magazines site. Could be interesting.
http://www.hdforums.com/forum/attach...n-v-r750r-.jpg

If they're gonna do this^^^^, seems to me like they should've just kept Buell...

Badlands-4-2 12-17-2011 07:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReconLdr (Post 839317)
If they're gonna do this^^^^, seems to me like they should've just kept Buell...

Not that I disagree, but this bike will be made overseas for the foreign market. It may never actually make it here. Buell being American made would face the same tarifs and fees as the other Harley products in the foreign markets.

ReconLdr 12-17-2011 08:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Badlands-4-2 (Post 839370)
Not that I disagree, but this bike will be made overseas for the foreign market. It may never actually make it here. Buell being American made would face the same tarifs and fees as the other Harley products in the foreign markets.

I forgot that detail....

I think the bike pictured would sell very well (if it were priced and performed competitively) in the US. I really like the way that bike looks.

Nitelord 12-17-2011 09:05 PM

I like the look too. I too would be concerned about brand preservation.

John Deere freely admits, that the (homeowner) version that big box stores sells, has tarnished their brand name. That's a ton of extra marketing dollar, that could have been saved with a little forethought.

I hope they do it right.

ClassicVW 12-18-2011 10:57 AM

I've worked for both Home Depot and Lowes. John Deere and all the other manufacturers know full well the risks and benefits beforehand and still rush full speed into the big box stores. It's a well known fact that the manufacturers cut corners and produce a cheaper product in order to meet the price point that these stores dictate to them beforehand. Shed no tears for John Deere or anyone else, I've seen the profit numbers they realized from those big box stores. They'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Badlands-4-2 12-18-2011 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nitelord (Post 839403)
I like the look too. I too would be concerned about brand preservation.

John Deere freely admits, that the (homeowner) version that big box stores sells, has tarnished their brand name. That's a ton of extra marketing dollar, that could have been saved with a little forethought.

I hope they do it right.

Brand preservation was what they quoted when the closed Buell. I never did understand that since they were different brands. I do agree with you on this one though. Who knows though, if they only sell them overseas, it may be that starter/intro bike that they need to get people interested in the brand.
I was in Turkey this year and was wearing a Harley hat. I got into a nice conversation with a shop owner about bikes. Over there it seems like EVERYBODY has, or has had, a bike. He wanted to know how big the engine was on my bike. I told him it was 1600 cc's and he did not believe me. He said that they do not make bikes with motors that big. Luckily I had a picture of my bike on my phone. He said that a 500 cc bike there is a big bike.

sirgilbert357 12-21-2011 07:55 AM

Heh, I showed that concept bike pic to my wife and she said it was "cute" and recommended we get her one. LOL. Kinda looks like a reworked XR1200 with a smaller motor IMO, but I like the looks of it.

ScrumDown 12-28-2011 12:17 PM

So not to dilute the HD brand, what should the company call the bike company 'Davies'?

Neognosis 12-28-2011 12:23 PM

something like "HD Performance" and make them look like Nortons.

V8Thrasher 01-08-2012 08:21 PM

Light and powerful? Sounds good to me I can't wait to see what HD comes out with. The Triumph Street Triple R is 9k and arguably one of the best naked bikes out there. If HD can do something similar to that they'd have a huge hit on their hands, and I'd most likely buy one :)


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