Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich To Investors. Patience As Sales And Stock Slide

In an interview with Reuters in his office at the company’s headquarter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Harley CEO Matt Levatich said:

– the the company is not exploring a merger with a rival or a private equity buyout, as some investors have speculated.

– asked to be patient with his strategy to turn around the slump in demand for its iconic motorcycles.

– reiterated that Harley is spending millions of dollars on product development and marketing efforts, including promoting its learn-to-ride academies at showrooms, where Harley-Davidson certified coaches provide riding and safety lessons.

– justified that his ridership program would transform the motorcycle-maker into a “customer-creator.” But he does not have an answer when it will return Harley to sales growth in the United States, its biggest market. I

– stated that in 2017 the ridership program added 32,000 new riders in the United States, a positive trend and that he wants to build on it.

24 Responses to “Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich To Investors. Patience As Sales And Stock Slide”

  1. 1 Greeco Feb 14th, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Electric motorcycles. The only thing able to save Harley?

  2. 2 Seymour Feb 14th, 2018 at 3:01 pm


  3. 3 RealityFix101 Feb 14th, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Investment in the motor company is a long term commitment not a short term quick turnaround for the faint of heart . And the fact remains the company is still leagues ahead of its competition as the heavyweight cruiser segment continues its temporary decline .And the fact is long after its competition has found its way into the relegation bin of history the motor company will still be around . Doing business as usual . Taking on all comers along the way . Assuming that is the company can hold onto the lessons learned from the likes of Faith Popcorn ( “The Popcorn Report ” ) etc. rather than falling down Rabbit’s Holes like EV’s that lead to oblivion .

  4. 4 Coma Feb 15th, 2018 at 7:58 am

    How about making some interesting bikes infused with the longest heritage of them all? BMW can do it, Triumph can do it, Guzzi can do it, even Indian can do it.

  5. 5 Rick Dorfmeyer Feb 15th, 2018 at 8:01 am

    New rider classes are a “God Send” to the future of our life style. Congrats to HD for schooling 32,000 new riders. Hopefully they will become owners.
    I wish all manufacturers would take new ridership as seriously as HD, and the many other Rider Ed classes around the country.
    The Motorcycle Industry Council and the American Motorcyclists Association are also embarking on new rider programs. Good on them as well.
    We all have a responsibility to evangelize for motorcycling if we care about it’s future. Get someone off the couch and into a rider ed class. You will have improved their life, and helped the future of motorcycling.

  6. 6 rebel Feb 15th, 2018 at 8:17 am

    give it time, the “new” softail is taking a little getting use too for everyone that I know, but when the weather changes we’ll see how how their received

  7. 7 domino Feb 15th, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Show me the $$$ … I will be patiently waiting … Best wishes to HD …
    ………….. Domino Dave…………..

  8. 8 Jess Feb 15th, 2018 at 8:54 am

    How about dropping prices? Spur the market to spend money … The Street Glide Special is a prime example; how does a bike jump $4k in a year? And with the limited production runs the dealerships are holding onto the last years models and even some ’16s. Are they discounting the price of these models to move units? No they are not. If you look at the sales vs. profit numbers for the Co you can see the trend of maintaining profit margins in decreased sales environment. Here’s a novel idea … drop your price … lower profits and move higher numbers. People have the $$$ to spend, but aren’t going to get taken to the cleaners for it. I would find it interesting to see what the used market has been yielding during this downturn of new bike sales … I know a lot of folks in the bike community that are picking up two and three year old bikes for a song. MoCo … stop and listen to the customer base.

  9. 9 Jerrman Feb 15th, 2018 at 10:55 am

    HD has to stop worrying about what their core users think as they develop new more relevant models. That’s what has held them back for years. The core users will continue to support their heavy cruiser entries regardless of what motorcycles the company introduces that appeal to younger, less affluent riders who are more performance oriented. As long as the new bikes are well made and technologically advanced. Where else are those core users going to go? Indian, the most likely brand, is already showing signs of broadening their line-up beyond the straight cruisers. The car companies, Mercedes, BMW and Audi have entries in every segment of the market without losing their core users who always came to the brands for pure top of the line luxury. The market is self selecting and will always be that way. So get relevant or slowly wither away.

  10. 10 highrpm Feb 15th, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Congrats to HD for schooling 32,000 new riders

    when i see xx followed by lots of zeroes, it raises questions about the trustworthiness of the metrics for that accounting. akin to bethel redding’s accounting of their bssm healings numbers. hogwash.

  11. 11 Sturgis Pride Feb 15th, 2018 at 11:42 am

    The Motor Company is scaling back production in order to increase the demand for motorcycles over the long run and at the same time investing significant resources in order to bring new V-Twin consumers into the fold. The Motor Company is on the right track. Stay the course!

  12. 12 chicagojohn Feb 15th, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Love the new bikes
    Hate the prices, HD needs to get their prices down so the average working man can afford one.

  13. 13 Feb 15th, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Bought a 2016 Dyna Low Rider in July of ’17.

    Came with only 41 miles, Cosmic Blue Pearl, ABS, engine guard, quick release windshield and sissy bar pad with a Stage 1 Kit installed and tuned with factory warranty till July ’18..

    Yep… $11k delivered to my house fully detailed.

    Boss Hawg

  14. 14 Robyn Gray Feb 15th, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Everybody I know is sick of Harley’s arrogance along with the Harley boutiques that they call motorcycle shops. What a joke! I was a Harley dealer in Canada for 28 years, then my Dealership was taken away (at my great expense in fighting them in Court ) by the Canadian distributor for Harley. Harley’s competition is eating their lunch, and are gaining market share every day. I spent 28 years of my 50 years in the motorcycle business, working to build one of the best Harley Dealerships in Canada only to have my life savings and future taken away.
    Our local dealer is super arrogant, treats everybody with no respect, and won’t service anything bought from others. Everybody goes elsewear for anything Harley or related. I think Harley’s troubles are only beginning. It is to bad they forget who put then where they used to be. Sell or do not buy Harley stock, guaranteed you will lose your shirt like I did. What comes around goes around. Paybacks are a bitch!
    Support your local non Harley shops and stick it to Harley and their boutiques!
    Bad Bob

  15. 15 Boomer Feb 16th, 2018 at 1:46 am

    “Harley is spending millions of dollars on product development”

    I hope that money is being spent on the motorcycles rather than the accessories. Pretty soon the American public will be ready to accept e-bikes. Playing catch-up will not be the way to enter that market. Get ahead of it and stay there even if it’s a limited niche market.

  16. 16 pabstbluerigid Feb 16th, 2018 at 9:40 am

    so next the electric bike…followed by the “bit-bike” which can only be purchased via bit coin….and lastly…the Virtual bike app…where you can have any HD bike, any color & swipe left or right to ride urban or country! up or down to visit Sturgis or Daytona.

    but seriously, sportsters over 10k and entry level big twins at 15-16k?

    bring back the standard line(s), which foster epic accessory sales (each bike was a blank canvas) and labor as well (for those who wanted the dealer install). basic xl883 (aluminum finish, solo seat), something like a superglide or softail standard, an electra glide standard…hell, how bout a low buck aluminum finished roadking like the old cop bikes!

    pretty simple?

  17. 17 Woody's Feb 17th, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I’ve found it’s usually best to not panic until someone tells me not to panic. Then I immediately picture the marching band in Animal House heading down the alley

  18. 18 Tom Hone Feb 19th, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Until they offer incentives they’ll see lower sales numbers. M8 has sumping and primary leaking issues HD will NOT address. The bikes are overpriced, the baby Boomers have come and gone and the younger types would rather sit and play on their smartphones vs riding a motorcycle. Some here are in lala land I’m afraid.


  19. 19 Feb 20th, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Rick is right. 32,000 new riders is great for everyone in the industry and great for every rider who loves the lifestyle. Keep on keeping freedom free, Matt.

  20. 20 Feb 22nd, 2018 at 11:56 am

    One thing that has to be addressed is the dealer network (franchisees) and what the MoCo is doing for them as far as strategic planning. How will the brand remain relevant in the years to come and resonate with the post baby boomer generations? The main focus has to be “entry level” (Honda Rebel, Kawasaki Ninja 300, etc.). Harley’s price point has been off-putting. The consolidation efforts as far as manufacturing (plant closings and layoffs) should trickle down to the end user, but will it?
    How was Harley able to get buyers to line up and make deposits on a bike that the buyer was willing to pay MSRP++ and then wait months to take delivery in the 90’s? It’s time to change their business model for the good of the franchisee, possibly by co-branding. Take for example the under represented (here in the USA) Moto Guzzi and Aprillia brands, would these motorcycles compliment a H-D dealership? Going forward H-D will have to serve many masters without alienating their core market. Electric bikes are coming and Harley has got to get a jump on that segment.

  21. 21 Pat h Feb 22nd, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Ken harley already had a underrepresented motorcycle in their dealerships it was buell, a Aprillia or guzzi would do nothing to bring people in both to expensive and unreliable ( cue the fan boys) and they wouldn’t sell enough to justify trained mechanics many have tried, turn down production and get back to the core customers some dealers get it some dont, 1972 they sold 10k bikes maybe give or take then those boomers had kids stopped riding 20 years later they buy bikes there neighbors see it now it’s ok to own a motorcycle (tabboo 20 yrs ago)then they get lines of people who want sickles and willing to pay more than retail, never gonna happen again, kids are to soft to even have rebel side nowdays

  22. 22 Mar 5th, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    jess is right , dealers should drop the msrp . make less profit per bike but sell more bikes . i haven’t seen a dealer sell under msrp for years now & you know they’re got a good profit margin on each bike !!!

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