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Speculation continues over new Harley-Davidson small-capacity motorcycle





Is Harley-Davidson building a new small-capacity motorcycle for the Asian market? That’s what many industry insiders now believe, after comments made by the company’s president/CEO.

Speaking to shareholders after last month’s first quarter financial results were unveiled (not great, but not as bad as expected, in case you wondered), Harley-Davidson bigwig Matt Levatich made the following statement:

“… progress in Q1 included steps towards a partnership for a premium small displacement offering in Asia, to expand our reach in that region. We are just over a year away from launching our first model that will help provide access to millions of customers in emerging markets in the region.

Hang on a minute. Doesn’t Harley-Davidson already have a “small displacement” machine in the Asian market? Well, sort of. From what we can find online, Harley-Davidson sells its Street 750 in India, but not the Street 500. Indeed, Harley-Davidson has said in the past that it wasn’t planning to sell the Street 500 in India. International-market versions of the bike are built in India, but not sold there. It is available in other Asian markets, as far as we understand.

So, Harley-Davidson is planning something new, then? It sounds like it. Why would Harley-Davidson need to establish a partnership for a bike it’s already producing in India? It sounds much more like Harley-Davidson has another arrangement in mind, something similar to what we see already going on in India with TVS and BMW, or KTM and Bajaj.

Although we probably have a good idea what the partnership would look like, it’s somewhat less clear what such a bike could look like. Would we see a single-cylinder cruiser? Or would Harley-Davidson break some stereotypes, like it’s already doing with its streetfighter, adventure bike and electric bike programs? The future of the Motor Company is perhaps more interesting than ever.

Vezi sursa



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