Iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson, once the brand of choice for outlaws like the Hells Angels, has seen four straight years of sales declines. In 2018 alone, Harley saw a 10.2% drop in retail sales.
The Milwaukee-based company isn’t taking its beating lying down; it’s trying to completely reinvent itself in order to turn the business around. And it might just take on electric scooter ridesharing companies like Lime and Bird to do so.
According to a recent CNN report, Harley is pondering putting into production shareable e-Bikes and scooters, much like the concepts the brand revealed earlier this year.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” Marc McAllister, vice president of product portfolio at Harley-Davidson, told CNN. “For people who are using Bird and Lime today, how do we give them a much better experience with a Harley-Davidson brand and lifestyle?”
Does Harley-Davidson have the brand bona fides — or cash in the bank — to take on not only Bird and Lime but also Uber and Lyft? Let’s not forget, traditional automakers like General Motors are also entering the e-Bike market. Harley would have to have some pretty special sauce to compete with the likes of cash-rich GM and Uber.
Rather than entirely change completely from a retail- to a subscription/sharing-based business model, Harley-Davidson is likely best suited to instead invent a better mousetrap. Let the other brands duke it out for the cheapest anonymous e-scooter. Harley should work on making the coolest, best e-bikes and electric motorcycles.