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Discussion Starter #1
Today’s announcement from Harley-Davidson. Trying, finally, to do whatever it takes.

Harley-Davidson will partner with China's Qianjiang Motorcycle Co to produce a new smaller bike, making good on promises to build more motorcycles outside the United States, moves that have angered President Donald Trump.

The company said the new bike would have an engine displacement of 338 cubic centimeters, by far the smallest-powered engine Harley has ever made and would be sold in China starting at the end of 2020.”
 

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The motorcycle industry is endlessly fascinating.

Don't forget Harley practically kicked off this industry in Japan in the 1930's with the Rikuo (a licensed copy). That decision ultimately came back to bite all the western makers in the butt. But these things have a life span and what goes around comes around.

Cheerio,

Roy
 

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Haven't we been down this road before so to speak with Aermacchi? Remind me again how that worked out :surprise: Importing low cost bikes from China into the US (assuming they don't get slapped with import duties) is going to be a struggle up against Japanese manufacturers. Having seen some of this stuff I can't imagine it doing so well. Harley should stick with what they know.
 

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I think idea is targeted at India, about the largest moto market in the world. If successful there, they will expand to other Asian markets. I don’t believe they have any intentions on bringing them into the States. First, the tariffs would kill them and second, the faithful (core Harley users) would laugh them off the sales floor. Admitting, despite what’s happening in their U.S. market, they do have a rep overseas that may help them expand their presence, especially in places like India where very small bore bikes proliferate and are not really performance oriented. So, if the majority of bikes are purely for transportation, then selling one that has an HD logo on it with whatever baggage that carries with it might be a good idea. I’m personally highly critical of the way HD has been stuck in the mud for so many years when the writing was on the wall and the way forward was pretty clear. Their U.S.business has been guided by fear (of not alienating core, aging and dying users), preventing them from introducing new, lower cost, more performance oriented motorcycles. I think their electric bike is ridiculously priced and doesn’t have enough range. (You can buy a Zero for 1/3 the price and get more than twice the miles). The previews of some of their other planned entries might have some legs but, not sure they’re there yet on the combination of design, performance and cost. But, now that they’ve lost 30% of unit sales from their high of 2006-08, at least they’re finally waking up and attempting some new directions.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Who built the small dirt bike for Harley? The Baja 100? Was that Aermacchi?
It was. They did that in the late 60s. Lasted about 3-4 years I think. Aermacchi also did a 125 cc scooter for Harley in the early 60s. Not really successful against Vespa, etc. Maybe the third time around is a charm. Or not.
 

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I think HD is looking at China and India as markets for this bike, not as production centers for bikes aimed at the US market. It’s true they’ve tried and failed before, but that was in different times with different management. HD really needs another successful product line/market, on beyond the American market for old and heavy cruisers
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think HD is looking at China and India as markets for this bike, not as production centers for bikes aimed at the US market. It’s true they’ve tried and failed before, but that was in different times with different management. HD really needs another successful product line/market, on beyond the American market for old and heavy cruisers
Couldn’t agree more. If they don’t expand beyond their heavy and expensive cruisers they will continue to experience sales declines. And yes, the small cc bike is specifically targeted to
India and then to other Asian markets. It is not for the U.S. Harley-Davidson making very small motorcycles overseas for the Asian markets? The times, they are a changin’
 

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Talking about small bikes . . . BMW is bringing in the G310R.
 

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First time seeing these bikes, quite nice!

In modern times Harley has traded heavily on their heritage and that has worked for them. I think this still needs to be a big part of their focus. I'm all for offering bikes for the younger rider but young riders eventually grow up. My concern is that Harley (and other companies) are going to end up designing bikes that look like a nock off of a foreign company knocking off a Harley..if that makes any sense at all.

Only had one sip of coffee, so not quite firing on both cylinders yet..:surprise:

Cheerio,

Roy
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think these are valid attempts to appeal to a new rider group IF the pricing is right and the performance is there. Once they move into these other segments they’re facing some stiff competition on the performance and cost parameters. Just trading on their heritage and their branding isn’t going to cut it. And, importantly, their dealers have to support these different types of bikes, something they’ve not previously done ((Buell, v-Rod).
 

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I think these are valid attempts to appeal to a new rider group IF the pricing is right and the performance is there. Once they move into these other segments they’re facing some stiff competition on the performance and cost parameters. Just trading on their heritage and their branding isn’t going to cut it. And, importantly, their dealers have to support these different types of bikes, something they’ve not previously done ((Buell, v-Rod).
I agree completely. I live in Milwaukee, where as you might guess, we have lots of Harley dealers. They would hide the Buell bikes in the smallest corner they could find....almost like they only displayed them because they had too. I wish them good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Even though I haven’t owned or ridden a Harley in years (and wouldn’t now), I also wish them good luck. Not only because they’re still a big factor in the market but, despite anyone’s opinion of their bikes, their core customer base or the way the company has been run (i.e. shortsighted), their success in other segments would be good for the overall motorcycle market.
 

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... their success in other segments would be good for the overall motorcycle market.
This is a great point. All these cruiser accessory companies probably stay afloat on the volume of Harley owner business. Take that all away and we’d probably have much fewer choices.
 
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