Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich has heard the question come up during his fresh tenure as the man in charge of the American motorcycle company. “When will the LiveWire hit production?” On that end, Levatich is clear with his response, telling anyone who’s willing to listen that the much talked-about electric motorcycle is still a few years away from hitting production.

That’s not to say that the company isn’t going to rush the development of the bike because the biggest impediment to its progress has been battery technology. Simply put, the LiveWire is still in its development stage and unless something miraculous happens in battery technology, don’t sit by the window and wait for that proverbial ice cream truck to pass by.

Right now, Levatich is more concerned with refreshing Harley’s image, especially to the younger generation who have been predisposed to think that the company only caters to a specific segment of the motorcycle community.

That image played well into Harley’s hands in the past. But with a new generation of riders waiting in the wings to get into the saddle of their first bikes, the company is now looking at ways to get a piece of that pie. Bikes like the Street models have helped in that regard, dispelling the stereotype of the company as a bike meant for grizzled riders. The LiveWire could also have the same effect, whenever the company decides to release it.

It might seem counterintuitive for a company to rely on what Levatich describes as the “incomers” but the evolution of the business has dictated that motorcycle companies pay more attention to them, or at least as much as they’ve done in the past with their core clientele.

That’s the crossroads Harley-Davidson is in right now and to its credit, it’s become more pro-active in separating the segments it needs to bolster and which ones it can do without.

The electric bike segment that the LiveWire will eventually be a part of belongs in that first group. When that will be is something only Levatich has an answer to. Judging from his comments, though, it appears that Harley-Davidson isn’t in any particular rush to answer that question.

Continue reading to read more about the future of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire project.

Why it matters

I think Harley-Davidson is doing the right thing by holding off on the LiveWire project, at least until its new CEO can get acclimated to his new role.

That’s not a knock on Matt Levatich, but an understanding of the importance of navigating Harley-Davidson into a “globally-competitive” brand in the wake of increased competition from other manufacturers.

The LiveWire will eventually get its day in the spotlight and I think it will be glorious. But right now, there are just more pressing concerns that need to be addressed, not the least of which is ingratiating a new generation of buyers into looking Harley’s way when they’re ready to ride their first bikes.

The company has always relied on its image to boost its sales in the past, but with companies gunning for it in segments where it’s strongest, it’s forced Harley to diversify itself in the process.

Now that there’s more attention being paid to younger generation, Harley can focus its attention on being more versatile with its product offerings. The LiveWire will eventually come into the picture and add another level to that diversification.

But before that happens, Harley needs to get its house and strategy in order under the watch of its new CEO before unleashing the LiveWire.

I believe they call it “priorities”?

Source: The Australian

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