Published: Thu, February 01, 2018
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Hard times for Harley-Davidson's easy riders

Hard times for Harley-Davidson's easy riders

Harley-Davidson, Inc. primarily manufactures and sells cruiser and touring motorcycles. Industry sales of motorcycles were down 6.5% in Q4 2017 with Harley seeing its sales fall 11% in Q4 and 8.5% overall for the year. "Our Kansas City assembly operations will leave a legacy of safety, quality, collaboration and manufacturing leadership", Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich said. Harley-Davidson U.S. market share was 50.8% in the 601+cc segment in the fourth quarter.

Almost four years after Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. first unveiled its Project Livewire prototype, the company says it is on track to launch an electric motorcycle within the next 18 months. A 10-year strategy also involves training 2 million new US riders, growing worldwide markets to 50 percent of sales and launching 100 new "high-impact" motorcycles. The move will result in 800 layoffs at the Kansas City facility, beginning midyear, and it will close by the third quarter of 2019.

Four years after unveiling the LiveWire project, an all-electric motorcycle prototype used in the Avengers series, Harley-Davidson finally confirms that it is bringing its first electric motorcycle to market. Harley-Davidson's retail motorcycle sales declined 9.6 percent a year ago, the company disclosed in a fourth-quarter earnings report released Tuesday. The firm operates through two divisions, Motorcycles & Related Products, and Financial Services.

Harley-Davidson Inc said on Tuesday it will close a plant in Kansas City, Missouri as it consolidates manufacturing operations after its motorcycle shipments fell to their lowest level in six years, sending its shares down more than 8 percent.

Scott Whitfield rode up from Germantown, Maryland, for the Harley-Davidson open house on Thursday.

A number of high-end electric motorcycle companies have emerged and seized an early lead in the market, including Santa Cruz, California-based Zero and Silicon Valley-based Lightning, reported.

If it is anything like its precursor, the new motorcycle, which was not named, will carry a roughly 50-mile range and be able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds. It forecast 231,000 to 236,000 motorcycle shipments in 2018. Over the past 12 months, the company's shares are down more than 12 percent.

"Harley-Davidson remains fully committed to investing in product development to inspire new riders through redefining its product in traditional spaces and expanding into new spaces".

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