Harley-Davidson has simply unveiled its new five-year plan often known as The Hardwire. And whereas some old-school motorbike media had previously speculated that Harley-Davidson would drop electric motorcycles, they couldn’t have been extra flawed.
For anybody who has actually ridden the LiveWire electric motorcycle and talked with the Harley-Davidson execs who have been liable for bringing that undertaking to fruition, it was apparent that H-D was going full pace forward on EVs.
That didn’t cease analysts on the sidelines from fearing the worst although, as H-D spent the previous few months specializing in implementing an inner cost-cutting plan often known as The Rewire. Based on H-D CEO Jochen Zeitz, The Rewire plan will save the corporate $115 million yearly.
With The Rewire plan now completed, H-D has unveiled the corporate’s up to date five-year strategic plan, The Hardwire.
The plan focuses on a number of key points designed to spice up income and spend money on the corporate’s future, together with investing between $190 million to $250 million per 12 months in each gas-powered and electrical bikes.
H-D intends to take a position extra in its core heavyweight bikes whereas additionally creating a brand new division within the firm particularly for the continued improvement of electrical bikes.
In 2018 and 2019, Harley-Davidson had a plan for no less than 5 varieties electrical two-wheelers starting from full-size electrical highway bikes and flat track electric motorcycles to e-mopeds and e-trail bikes. The aim on the time had been to roll out 5 completely different EVs by 2022, although the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted H-D’s plans.
The corporate additionally just lately spun off the H-D electric bicycle division as a new startup Serial 1, which works alongside its majority stakeholder H-D.
As Zeitz defined:
The creation of a separate division will enable full autonomy to EV improvement, releasing the enterprise unit to behave with the identical agility and pace as a tech startup whereas nonetheless leveraging the assist, experience and oversight of the broader group, permitting for cross pollination with innovation in electrical with combustion product improvement.
The Hardwire strategic five-year plan additionally consists of fairness grants for all of H-D’s 4,500+ workers, together with hourly manufacturing facility employees. Particulars relating to the fairness grant have but to be supplied.
Can Harley-Davidson’s new plan proper the ship?
Regardless of what many keyboard warriors would have you ever consider, Harley-Davidson isn’t dwelling with its head within the sand. The corporate sees the writing on the wall, even when it isn’t fairly.
H-D’s monetary struggles have continued to plague the corporate, together with just lately asserting a 32% lower in income year-over-year for This fall 2020.
Practically a 12 months in the past, H-D introduced in Jochen Zeitz as performing president & CEO earlier than making the appointment official a number of months later.
The German-born branding guru is the primary non-American CEO within the firm’s greater than 100-year historical past. His previous successes together with saving the beleaguered Puma sportswear model within the Nineties. Jochen has been a proponent of environmentally and socially sustainable enterprise practices, and has been a supporter of Harley-Davidson’s improvement of electrical autos.
By specializing in H-D’s core power of heavyweight bikes and by investing within the improvement of electrical bikes, the corporate might be setting the stage for extra strong footing each within the close to and extra distant future.
I’m an EV man, so in fact the information that H-D will concentrate on its core heavyweight bikes does nothing for me. However I’m additionally a realist, and I do know the corporate sells much more fuel bikes than electrical bikes proper now. And so if H-D must double down on loud, shiny large boy toys whereas additionally investing in EVs, that’s alright with me. And the explanation I can settle for it’s as a result of I see it as the easiest way to make sure H-D can survive to complete what they began with the LiveWire.
Imagine it or not, Harley-Davidson stays one of the progressive legacy motorbike producers on the earth in relation to electrical autos. Most electrical bikes out there at present come from EV-specific startups like Zero (although I’m unsure in the event you can name Zero a startup anymore?), making H-D one of many few legacy producers to enter the sport.
And within the US, they even seem like reaching early success.
H-D claims that its LiveWire is the best-selling electrical motorbike within the US, and the numbers appear to support it.
The profitability of electrical bikes continues to be a tough dance, which explains why so many legacy manufactures have dragged their feet. But when H-D can proper the ship and proceed constructing upon its headstart within the EV house, the corporate may truly turn out to be a pacesetter within the electrical motorbike trade.
So long as the cash doesn’t run out.
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