Whether the rest of the economy is doing better or not, Harley Davidson is having problems selling new motorcycles and, as a result, they’re consolidating manufacturing with the closure of the Kansas City plant in 2019 and moving production to York, PA.
Harley-Davidson worldwide retail motorcycle sales fell 6.7% in 2017 compared to 2016. The company’s U.S. sales fell 8.5% and international sales were down 3.9%.
A number of factors were cited for the downturn in sales, but one that figures prominently is how dependent they are on Baby Boomers.
As safety becomes a concern for aging baby boomers, domestic sales for the heavyweight motorcycle industry should slow.
The Motor Company has often steered the conversation away from demographics when discussing the future of their product line, but it may be that the years are finally catching up to their customer base and unless they can find a way to attract younger riders, the future isn’t going to be bright. Motorcycles have been a tough sell for some years now as the young have more options for entertainment and less money to spend while at the same time, Harley’s competitors have always been focused on a younger demographic. Can Harley change direction? Do they want to? Only the Motor Company can answer that question. Stay tuned.