Harley-Davidson New Models Will Be More Accessible, Financially And Physically.

It is the way Harley Davidson Inc’s chief operating officer Matt Levatich describes the company next models during a Reuters Global Manufacturing and Transportation Summit. Levatich said the company may consider manufacturing smaller (does not mean scooter size) and less expensive motorcycles. The least expensive bike Harley-Davidson is currently offering is a Sportster priced at about US $8,000. He reaffirmed that Harley-Davidson strives to attract a much wider array of clients than its current core baby-boomer clientele. And of course he is talking about youngsters, women and minorities both in the US, international and emerging markets (it explains the “more accessible financially and physically” strategy.)

Levatich said that during the last 3 years Harley-Davidson has been somewhat successful in broadening its consumer base to younger, female and minority buyers. In 2010 Harley-Davidson has increased its mix of international sales from 25 percent five years ago to 35 percent, and plans to reach 40 percent of sales in international markets by 2014. He also mentioned that most of the manufacturing will remain in the United States and that the company next step is to shorten its cycle of production from 5 to 3 years. If  Harley-Davidson should some day sell a bike that appeals specifically to emerging markets, he said the company would keep its options open on where to build it. But for now, it has no plans to open production plants outside the United States. (photo@harley-davidson)

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35 Responses to “Harley-Davidson New Models Will Be More Accessible, Financially And Physically.”


  1. 1 Dinky Dot Dec 13th, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Should makethem in india that would get the price nice and low..if only they had a plant there…

  2. 2 Matt Dec 13th, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Haha, Can you say ‘Harley Topper’? 😉

    P.S. “manufacturing” is not the same thing as assembling.

  3. 3 Rich Dec 13th, 2011 at 9:39 am

    That you like or not it’s a very good marketing strategy. Harley will make it and succeed.

  4. 4 Boomer Dec 13th, 2011 at 10:15 am

    What they’ve been doing so far has worked well. A smaller bike, eh. Maybe something like the Buell Blast with one cylinder? A Sporty with a single front cylinder.

    Remember the 350cc singles they use to make back in the 70’s? Quite a thumper actually. I think they even made 450cc or 500cc models too. Could always tell when one of those suckers were coming down the road. They had a unique sound to them; just like the rest of the HD’s.

  5. 5 666 Dec 13th, 2011 at 10:58 am

    The Global expansion starts… These models will be made off shore but branded as HD

  6. 6 DJ Dec 13th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Why do they think they need to mention that they are after “the minority” clientel? Is a black man taller then a Russian? I can see building a bike for smaller statured people, including women.. But stature has nothing to do with race.. I am sick of this PC world

  7. 7 DJ Dec 13th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    HD is over commercializing and weakening the brand.

  8. 8 Pierre Dec 13th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I would buy (as a second bike: I own a 2011 FLHX) a flat tracker with the Buell blast 500cm3 engine…
    If Harley don’t do it, I’ll go for a Royal Enfield!

  9. 9 LC Fab Dec 13th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Rich man gettin’ richer….how many Americans does harley currently employ? How many American parts manufacturers…who employ Americans…benefit from the manufacture of a Harley Davidson. Wonder if Obama can add those jobs to his list…

  10. 10 BrotherTiberius Dec 13th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I think to be competative with a smaller bike, it would have to have an MSRP right around $6500. Much more than that, and you are back into Sportser pricing.

  11. 11 cafesportytc Dec 13th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    how bout a Dyna around 5 or 6….. then i would be CafeDynaTC

  12. 12 Atburt Dec 13th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Wow what a great step backwards. Maybe AMF will buy them.

  13. 13 Woody Dec 13th, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Gotta be driving them nuts watching bikes like the Royal Enfield and similar doing so well, and knowing they could have done the same instead of the Buell Blast. Harley went out of their way to keep their last single cylinder looking nothing like anything folks would actually want. They didn’t even take a clue from the ever popular 650 Suzuki Savage/ Boulevard S40 bike, still one of the best “entry level” bikes ever made. Nope, they went for bike with all the style of the original Ford Taurus. If Harley can make the commitment to actually put some effort into a bike that doesn’t scream “second class” they may not be too late to actually make a dollar or two playing follow the leaders once again.

  14. 14 Luis Dec 13th, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    The problem is that sportsters including the one I bought this february are the same price as a mid range larger engine japanese bike. I seriously debated it in my mind but stuck w/ american made. Although the triumphs are looking nicer every day.

  15. 15 me Dec 13th, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I had a Sprint in the 70’s with a 350. It was a fun bike and wish I still had it.

  16. 16 Seymour Dec 13th, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    HD is dead. Hubris is a bitch!

  17. 17 Mike Dec 13th, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    This is too funny, these ” Suits” who run this company are ignorant. Build a smaller bike and MAYBE in an Emerging Market ( ie India)

    You guys who drink the Harley KoolAid need to wake up, but it won’t really matter,the marketer is out of the office all ready.

    Harley Davidson IS IN REVERSE!

    Boring,

  18. 18 Watson Dec 13th, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    All the ’70s small HD were Aermacchi’s.
    I like these MAC motorcycles that these guys want to build in England, with the blast engine (oh, the cant get them anymore).. Hell, I’d get one for rootin around town on in a minute.

    http://mac-motorcycles.com/spud_black.html

  19. 19 rob Dec 14th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    You can’t be all things to all people. Stick to what you do best. as far as the minority segment,they already have the dark customs. And HD even using the the word “minority” in the above article shows that they don’t have a clue………

  20. 20 David Dec 14th, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Yep PC is correct….IF the people wont(or Cant) come to you then go to the people! What a waste!!!

    SSDD;David

  21. 21 Sportster Mike Dec 14th, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Emerging markets? India has loads of small bikes already – millions of Yamaha and Hondas all built there under licence. China has many millions more, Hongdus etc – if you want to be seen to be rich now in BOTH countries you buy a CAR…
    So I can’t see where Harley think their market is…
    And you guys in the States see a Sportster as a minority bike – a girls bike, a bike for short people?
    whereas in Europe we seen a Sportster as a bike that goes round corners!!

  22. 22 Doc Robinson Dec 14th, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Wow, an item featuring Harley-Davidson and all the knockers crawl out from under their rocks. No-one foresaw the US economy tanking like it has. Harley-Davidson has made, and is making, the right decisions for the times. The corporation is in good hands and making bikes that get sweeter by the year. To say Harley-Davidson is in ‘reverse’ or ‘dead’ is either supreme ignorance or a total delusion.

  23. 23 Jason Hallman Dec 14th, 2011 at 7:34 am

    How is saying “minorities” a PC term or an insult? The fact of the matter still remains that while they do manufacture motorcycles…HD is a “lifestyle” company. They sell you an “unfinished” motorcycle on purpose and then the proceed to sell you everything under the sun to create the “biker” persona. Things like pool tables, man-rings, clothing etc. Really anything that a bar and shield or “HD” will fit on. If the motor company wants to branch out into uncharted territory then I support that. Like them or not, I want them to succeed and if they can continue to build Road Glides because they are selling other less popular motorcycles with other untapped markets then that is good. “A business that makes only money, is a poor business”-Henry Ford

  24. 24 Joe Dec 14th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I think the future is in small motorcycles. I am no longer interested in wrestling with an 800 lb motorcycle made by anyone, I’m not interested in motorcycles from Europe with 31 inch (or higher seat heights), and I’m not interested in motorcycles that are supposed to make me look like I’m a GP racer. Been there, done that, didn’t like it, don’t need it. It’s just not me any more. I started riding 47 years ago on a Honda Super 90, and in those days, a 330-lb 500cc Triumph was considered a big bike. I miss those days. Honda and Kawasaki report that their new 250cc street twins are selling briskly. I think that’s a smart trend, and I think the people who are buying them are making smart moves. I think Harley is doing the right thing putting their efforts into smaller bikes. The smaller bike makes sense, and I think it is where the market is moving.

  25. 25 Sportster Mike Dec 14th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    @ Joe

    Quite agree with you – I did actually BUY my last Harley Sportster from new so can knock the MoCo if I want… but I still miss my Honda XR250 Baja as it was an ideal bike for the commute to work. low weight, high seat for viewing over cars (we can filter through traffic here in England) and I got 70 miles per gallon

    Having said all that I ride my Sportster for fun only and get 45mpg

    The Kawasaki 250 is going great guns over here, and the bigger ER6 etc but they are all about Sportster prices if buying new £5000- 5500 (the ER6 I mean) so I paid my money and brought my first new Harley

  26. 26 DJ Dec 14th, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Where is Willie G.??? Does anyone there have a brain?
    Hey Willie! Step in and fix your company before they bankrupt it! This is not what the loyalists want

  27. 27 Watson Dec 14th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    And with the new moto3 class in GP’s going to a 4stroke format, I think we are going to see a big push in street going small displacement sportbikes that will be loosely related to their racing counterparts. From standards to full on replicas.

  28. 28 Toby Dec 14th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    By smaller bike, I think they really mean a much lighter bike for the US market anyway. A Sportster 883 is still 550 pounds. They need to tap in to that smaller “cafe” market like the Triumph Bonneville/Scrambler/Thruxton but price it around $7,000. I’m not convinced that HD can build a bike in the US at that price point. I’m not sure they can fit a V-twin in that small of a frame either.

    If/when they manufacture (as opposed to assemble) bikes in the India market they will be nothing like the American made offerings. Sure, they will say “HD” and have a bit of thump-thump to the exhaust, but the MoCo will just be capitalizing on the brand name to sell their small bikes that would be laughed at here. It’s a completely different market.

  29. 29 fredp Dec 14th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Let’s remember what Harley has done so far. Closed plants, layed off workers, forced renegotiations to the unions to carry contract employees, etc. It is all a long term plan to intergrate
    Harley into a world economy and not be known as American made, but as American engineered! Harley is not going to cater to us boys over 50 who MADE Harley what is was.,
    Harley is after the next generation of bikers who could care less about USA made or “the biker image”. Marketing of a product is what sells a product. Example for the last two decades of promoting and marketing large SUV, soccer-mom, vehicles, that gas guzzle. Did we REALLY have to have a vehicle like these to run to the store or go to soccer games? WHY, did you buy it?
    Now, we market heavily on 3 rats in a minivan doing dance steps with robots to buy a vehicle. Do you want or need that SMALL vehicle now to go to soccer matches or the store?
    Harley is not done, or finished. They are just beginning and running to where the future customers are. And they are not us old guys, anymore!

  30. 30 Luis Dec 14th, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I don’t have a problem w/ the term “minorities” it’s much better than “urban”. Fact is most of us minorities see HD’s as some old white guys bike.

  31. 31 Jason Hallman Dec 14th, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Luis, It sounds like we agree on that. Let’s face it…there is no logical reason to dislike the idea of HD offering smaller, more agile, lower priced cycles especially if it directly impacts the companies ability to produce the bulky, less agile motorcycles in smaller numbers. If you think about it…the motor company is most likely doing that to return to a more profitable position on the larger motorcycles by creating more loyal followings on the lower priced units knowing full well that some folks will eventually move up to the larger units. Once the motor company can satisfy their stock holders and reduce the production numbers on the larger bikes (therefore raising margins on them) the dealers will be more solvent too. Not only that, but I would expect a small liquid cooled engine that is not a lanky retro-fit like the new water cooled system. The amount of numbers that we could see on the road would substantiate all of the new tooling required for the liquid cooled era. By the time it is perfected, the riders of the smaller units that move up to the larger bikes will expect the liquid cooled engines and the old grey beards will have either all but quit riding. Like it or not HD has to evolve into a 21st century machine.

  32. 32 Mike Dec 14th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I am NOT delusional, How did you know I bought a HD Pool Table??? Carma!!!!!

    Now where is that silly putty!!!!!

    Funny, HD Koolaid drinkers are totally predictable.

    Oh Well to each his own.

    A grey Beard with a FXSTC, FXSTD and a JACKPOT. and happy.

  33. 33 Geno Dec 15th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    instead of going potato potato potato
    it will go

    ruppeee ruppeee ruppeee

  34. 34 barney Dec 17th, 2011 at 10:38 am

    For the love of god just don’t start building anything that A. wears a radiator and B. looks like a friggin GP ‘sportbike’; there’s already a million of them to choose from for those without taste.

  35. 35 New York Myke Dec 19th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Wow these comments are really educational. I have been impressed with current H-D management, now I’m double triple impressed and even more confident that the future of this great American brand is secure. We all have differing points of view and I personally agree with a few comments but we all care about this brand is what I get from what I read here: and so does virtually everyone who works at corporate. I love selling this brand and how much you all care and knowing how much the corporate people care is a wonderful thing. Keep those comments coming cause they’re real …and I love this blog! Merry Christmas!!

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