Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich on Monday rolled out an aggressive "more roads to Harley" growth plan that includes an expanded lineup of lighter motorcycles, smaller urban retail stores, a new digital strategy and an international push as U.S. sales fall.
The Wisconsin-based company said it is launching by 2020 a new platform of 500 cc to 1250 cc middleweight bikes and an even smaller bike for emerging markets in Asia. The biggest Harley engines run at around 1,700 cubic centimeters and weigh more than 1,000 pounds — making the new lineup a significant departure from its signature HOGs.
"We're going to be doubling down on existing products. We're going to invest in an all-new middleweight platform, which is a modular chassis and a very core engine technology to go in three dramatically different spaces: adventure touring, custom and street fighter," Levatich said in a wide-ranging interview with CNBC's Morgan Brennan. He also touched on politics and trade and Harley's investments in overseas facilities that have drawn criticism from President Donald Trump.
Harley's shares have fallen nearly 13 percent this year and profits have dropped as the 115-year-old company struggles to find a foothold among millennial buyers, who are turned off by the high prices for the heavy bikes. The 0.7 percent gain in international sales during the second quarter wasn't enough to offset a 6.4 percent decline in the U.S.