In a decision that could be best filed under “didn’t see that coming but it does make sense,” Harley-Davidson announced its current LiveWire model and future electric vehicles will be sold under the LiveWire brand as a separate marque.
The decision reveals something about where Harley-Davidson finds itself now and where it hopes to be in the future. That the LiveWire brand will have virtual head offices in both Milwaukee and in Silicon Valley is revealing. What other factors drove Harley-Davidson toward splitting the two entities is anyone’s guess but obviously there’s a division between Harley’s existing customers and future ones who will one day buy an electric motorcycle.
There is an irony about the perception and the reality of Harley-Davidson in the marketplace. There are consumers who are not particularly knowledgeable about motorcycles but may be enticed by an electric motorcycle. There are those not particularly enthused by cruisers and who discounted the company as slavishly committed to the “old” technology of internal combustion, even though Harley-Davidson is the only traditional OEM with an electric motorcycle now on the market. It is hard to educate and harder still to change perceptions. Sometimes you have to start from scratch, which is what the LiveWire brand will do.
Live Wire will work with participating Harley-Davidson dealers as an independent brand and will also operate dedicated EV showrooms with the first appearing in California. The first LiveWire branded bike is scheduled to launch July 8. Hopefully it will be a fresh bike and not merely the existing LiveWire re-branded. The goal of the new marque is to focus on the urban market so the intro could be one of the small concept bikes unveiled in conjunction with the LiveWire’s initial launch.
But what does the Harley-Davidson LiveWire now become? The LiveWire LiveWire? Or maybe something along the lines of the LiveWire One.
Canadian Biker Issue #354