Iconic motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson, famous for its throaty roar and big bikes, is looking to expand beyond its core constituents with the announcement that the company will be building a smaller, entry-level motorcycle, and is considering an electric model.
Harley-Davidson COO Matthew Levatich made the announcement of the new, low power 500cc motorcycle during the 110th Anniversary Celebration this past weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The less expensive 500cc model would be attractive to a new segment of riders, including women, as well as restricted-license riders in Europe and Australia, plus an aspirational consumers in Asia, where a 500cc Harley would still be bigger than most motorcycles.
The new 500cc bike would likely be made in India, where Harley-Davidson has production facilitates.
With regards to the electric motorcycle, Levatich admits that it is not something many of its existing fan base would embrace, but he says the company’s engineers are ‘intrigued’ by the idea of an electric motorcycle.
The introduction of the lower priced model, and the consideration of the electric version, indicates that Harley-Davidson (even as it celebrates its 110th anniversary) realizes the need to look to the future. Harley is an iconic American brand, but growth likely resides outside of its traditional market. It needs to appeal to riders around the world, as well as women.