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Harley Davidson releases eight new motorcycles, and hopes new people hop on

  • In celebration of its 115-year anniversary, Harley Davidson is releasing eight new motorcycles models to fire up the existing base and in the hopes of "inspiring a whole new generation of people to join in," CEO Matthew S Levatich told CNBC on Friday.
  • Levatich also talked about building a motorcycle factory in Thailand and its goal to make international sales make up more than half of their business in the next 10 years.

In celebration of its 115-year anniversary, Harley Davidson is releasing eight new motorcycles to fire up its existing base while inspiring "a whole new generation of people to join in," CEO Matthew S. Levatich told CNBC on Friday.

All eight new bikes, "have a specific personality," Levatich explained in an interview. The bike names have a personality all their own: Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, Low Rider, Softail Slim, Deluxe, Breakout, Fat Bob and Street Bob.

Levatich said the company's outreach to "women, African Americans [and] Hispanics," along with younger people has been successful. Those coveted demographics now make up 40 percent of their sales, compared with 34 percent in 2010.

"We feel very good about our efforts to speak differently to different types of people that aren't yet riding," he said. "It's about the ability to have our great products available to more consumers in those markets so that we can grow faster," the CEO said.

He added the company is planning to build a motorcycle factory in Thailand, and its goal to make international sales make up more than half of their business in the next 10 years.

Previously, President's Donald Trump promised to help the classic American motorcycle company. However, he shot down the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, an agreement Levatich said would haven been beneficial to Harley Davidson.

"Markets like Asia are particularly strong for motorcycles," Levatich told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Matt Levatich, CEO of Harley-Davidson Motor Co with two new Harley-Davidson models: Fat Boy (l) and Fat Bob (r).
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Matt Levatich, CEO of Harley-Davidson Motor Co with two new Harley-Davidson models: Fat Boy (l) and Fat Bob (r).

Harley Davidson has had to get creative amid a slump in investor sentiment: Year to date the company's stock has dropped more than 17 percent. On Friday, it closed above $48 per share.

Although the motorcycle company has had a hard time attracting millennials, Levatich said Harley Davidson's strategy wasn't just focused on young consumers.

"Youth is part of it, but what we're really talking about is anyone of any generation," he said, "who has that certain zest for life."

Asked how he would address the rise of online vehicle shopping, Levatich expressed that there were benefits to doing things in the traditional sense.

"It's not just about buying the bike," he said. "It's about the community of riders, and the local dealer being the epicenter of that community."