Monday, June 24, 2019

Harley will build motorcycles in China

This seems like brand damage:
Harley-Davidson has found a new partner in China as it ramps up efforts to sell more motorcycles abroad.

The company said Wednesday that it’s teaming up with Qianjiang Motorcycle Company to make a small motorcycle that will go on sale in the country next year. Qianjiang is a subsidiary of Geely, which owns Volvo and has a joint venture to assemble cars in China with Mercedes Benz parent company Daimler.
The tariff war with the EU is hurting them, so I can see how they might look for a non-US manufacturing facility.  I can also see how they would want a lower cost, smaller bike than the typical hog (which generally starts at nearly 1000 cc's and goes up to almost double that.  This makes their bikes expensive, and so they are crowded out of the emerging markets.

But so much of their brand is caught up in the idea of Milwaukee Iron that I hope they introduce a different brand for these motorcycles.  East is East, and West is West, and all that.

8 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Hawg lovers are a fanatic bunch to begin with; it's hard to say what effect this will have on sales here, even if the bikes never hit our shores.

BC said...

Finally we see the dawn of the Hardly Davidson...

"Zack" said...

Charley Davidson ... mebbe ... NAH!

drjim said...

HD has had rebranded bikes and foreign assembled bikes before.

I agree that selling them under a different brand would be better than polluting/diluting their brand on the big Hogs....

Glen Filthie said...

Harley is on the wrong end of a demographic shift. The kids look at the heavy metal with scorn and contempt - they are going all in on the scramblers and crotch rockets. The romance of the Harley mystique is lost on them. It’s a double-whammy, actually: as America’s population goes to majority-minority ... Harleys won’t appeal to all these exotic weirdos from over the rainbow that we are importing. They own a niche market that is slowly aging out. It is very likely that they may not adapt to a glutted market that is already full of established brands.

Antibubba said...

The US market for Harleys is saturated, and as Glen pointed out, not getting any younger. Whereas in China, where American brands are revered for their affinity to wealth and success, there are hundreds of millions of new Harley riders.

It's simple corporate math.

Aesop said...

Because what America really needs is Harleys made of pot metal that last about a week, with instructions written in Pidgin.

Maybe they can sell them at WalMart.

I suppose making them in Bulgaria, Vietnam, or Sri Lanka was simply out of the question.

Unknown said...

I'll just point out that today if you go to https://www.chevrolet.co.uk/, you get only the iconic models, but for many years if you went to that URL or similar European ones what you would have found was a bunch of Daewoo models with Chevrolet branding and bow-tie logos.

I don't think anyone in the US market even noticed.