Harley-Davidson Hardwires Five-Year Growth Plan

HarleyThe bikes that made Milwaukee famous, Harley-Davidson, have rolled out Hardwire, their ambitious five-year plan to restore profitability and desirability to The Motor Company.

HarleyNot to set the bar too high, Harley-Davidson is hoping to increase profits and low double-digit earnings per share (EPS) by 2025. How do they plan to do this, given the graying of their audience, much like that for ’32 roadsters and ’55 Chevrolets?

Going at it a different way, according to Harley’s marketers, means using enhanced digital touchpoints to reach customers, including non-riders, through multiple channels. Well, they’re not straying too far from what they’ve done practically forever, investing in touring, large cruiser bike, and trike segments, but now they’re expanding into adventure touring and cruisers to augment their prior positioning.

So far, it’s not looking too promising, but the launch of Harley-Davidson Certified, a pre-owned Harley program much like that of almost every carmaker, is a good move. Many of their dealers were already selling used Harleys for nearly the price of a new bike, and in the case of some of the more desirable models, for more than the going price in either Kelly Blue Book or NADAguides. This might provide buyers of used Harleys with an extended warranty and a little peace of mind, beyond the dealer’s sleight of hand.

Global dominance is a lofty goal, and having been there before, Harley-Davidson is keen to make a return as a lifestyle brand and icon. Not only will the company push bikes worldwide, but they’re also going to use bike parts, accessories, and soft goods to springboard their renaissance. Redefining their footprint, Harley will tread in 10 markets deemed most important to their success, although they didn’t define what those markets were during the press conference. E-motorcycles were deemed important to Harley’s future, and their commitment was restated, along with declaring that their LiveWire e-motorbike is the leader among plug-ins worldwide, likely a point of contention in India or China.

Spreading out the wealth, or perhaps the risk, Harley-Davidson is offering equity grants to its 4,500 employees, giving each of them an opportunity to own a bit of the bar and shield. In calling it a new approach to inclusive stakeholder management, this action was taken to recognize workers who create and deliver their signature products.


Jochen Zeitz, Harley’s chairman, president, and CEO, said, “Harley-Davidson is the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world, backed by leading positions in the most profitable segments and a reinvigorated culture of performance, efficiency, focus and speed.”  In the hot seat only since May 7th, Zeitz was chairman and CEO of Puma, the German athletic shoe company from 1993 to 2011, remaining chairman of Puma after being appointed CEO of the sport and lifestyle division of Kering, the luxury goods firm. Without a doubt, Zeitz has the Powersports industry background needed to regain Harley-Davidson’s footing, not only as a motorcycle manufacturer but as a much larger cultural icon.

[Images: Harley-Davidson]

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