MILWAUKEE — Smaller bikes, electric engines, online sales and urban storefronts, Harley-Davidson, we hardly knew you.
The American motorcycle company, facing dwindling sales in its home market, said that it will launch some new products and stores to broaden its audience and invigorate sales.
Harley, known for its car-alarm triggering engine rumble, will roll out an electric motorcycle called LiveWire next year, with no clutch and no gears. It's promising to expand that line over the next few years.
Harley Davidson chief executive and president Matt Levatich said electric motorcycles would become a more regular feature in the industry. "The EV motorcycle market is in its infancy today, but we believe premium Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles will help drive excitement and participation in the sport globally," Levatich predicted.
"As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business."
It will also open smaller storefronts in urban areas to broaden its appeal.
With sales rising in Asia and India, Harley-Davidson says it's developing smaller bikes with 250 to 500 cubic centimeter engines, to make the more accessible.
The company has no plans to pull back on manufacturing its big bikes.
Harley-Davidson heads for Europe
Last month, it announced it would begin shifting the production of motorcycles headed for Europe from the U.S. to factories overseas, as a result of the trade tariff war launched the President Donald Trump.
Harley-Davidson Inc. sold almost 40,000 motorcycles in the Europe Union last year, generating revenue second only to the United States, according to the company.
The maker of the iconic American motorcycle said in a regulatory filing that EU tariffs on its motorcycles exported from the U.S. jumped between 6 percent and 31 percent. The company said it expects the tariffs will result in an incremental cost of about $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU.
"Harley-Davidson maintains a strong commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally," the company said. "Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company's preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe. Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson."
Harley-Davidson said that shifting targeted production from the U.S. to international facilities could take at least nine to 18 months to be completed.