Harley-Davidson Inc. will “invest more aggressively” in the electric vehicle market, starting with the launch of its first electric motorcycle within the next 18 months, the OEM annouced in a fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday.
“One key opportunity is the rapidly evolving electric vehicle landscape,” Matt Levatich, Harley’s president and chief executive, said on the call. “The EV market is in its infancy today, and we believe it will drive excitement into our sport globally in both traditional and nontraditional spaces.”
Harley-Davidson has frequently noted its focus on building the next generation of riders — 2 million new riders in the U.S. over the next decade. Harley expects its electric motorcycle — called LiveWire — will “sit alongside existing Harleys in garages as much as they’re going to create new interest in the sport and in the brand with new types of riders,” Levatich said on the call, adding that the new bikes will create long-term opportunity for the OEM.
Separately, Harley-Davidson Financial Services originated $495.1 million in motorcycle loans — down 0.3% year over year — in the fourth quarter. However, the captive’s full-year originations were up 2.8% to $3 billion, as compared with 2016.