Harley Davidson forays into entry-level 250-500cc class motorcycles

Harley-Davidson Custom 1250

Smaller bikes, electric engines and urban storefronts: Harley-Davidson, we hardly knew you.

For starters, Harley-Davidson will continue to develop improved, more technologically-advanced Touring and Cruiser motorcycles that will keep existing Harley-Davidson riders engaged and riding longer.

Industry experts have said electric motorcycles - that have no gears or clutch and are a far cry from Harley's loud, bulky cruising bikes - may not appeal to loyal Harley fans.

Iconic American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson unveiled on Monday a global growth plan to revamp its USA business with new products and cost-cutting measures, while also expanding internationally.

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Harley is betting on "bold new product introductions", William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia said, adding that the new products are likely to raise questions about whether the means of attracting new customers could alienate Harley's core base.

Following slowing sales, the company has now confirmed to investors that it intends to reach out to a new generation of riders by bringing to production their electric motorcycle, the LiveWire™, with a view to get on the high road of EV technology as early as next year.

These will be joined by a range of lightweight urban motorcycles also within 4 years, although for now, there are no more details other than a few concept sketches. Harley also is developing a smaller displacement 250cc to 500cc bike for emerging markets in Asia through a partnership with a manufacturer in the region. Harley-Davidson is also changing its retail strategy and expanding its push internationally following declining USA sales.

Harley-Davidson sells 16 models in India ranging from Street 750 with starting price of Rs 5.25 lakh to CVO LIMITED tagged at Rs 49.99 lakh.

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Speaking with CNBC, Levatich said that riding the LiveWire "is a different feeling". But it won't go it alone, the company said in a statement; it will seek to partner with an Asian manufacturer.

According to Robert Pandya, who managed public relations for Indian Motorcycles and Victory Motorcycles, the new line-up from Harley-Davidson is hugely appealing to new customers and 'will be incredibly approachable to many, many people'. Chetaan has been working with Harley-Davidson since 2010 at the firm's Milwaukee headquarters.

Harley-Davidson also said it was moving the Livewire availability to August 2019, and released an updated picture (below).

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