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Tuesday 9 April 2019

News Briefs

To put Harley’s Livewire ambitions in context, in 2018 the 28 markets that (currently!) make up the European Union (which is widely accepted to be at least a decade ahead of the USA in terms of its E-bike and Urban Mobility market acceptance) was only worth 7,378 units (according to full year data from Brussels based international motorcycle industry trade association ACEM). Indeed, total electric PTW registrations, which includes E-Scooters, Mopeds and ‘PedElecs’, were only 47,179 units. While both figures were up substantially over 2017 in percentage terms (+44% and +51% respectively), the still low volumes suggest that beyond ride share, leasing and city rental schemes, take-up and market acceptance still have a long way to go before anybody can expect to start making reasonable profits and ROI from the sector.

US non-farm payrolls shows that US firms created 304,000 jobs in January, according to the US Labor Department. Average hourly earnings rose by 3.2%. However, the job numbers for December have been revised down from 312,000 to 222,000 and data also shows the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits has reached its highest level in more than a year.

Harley has had to recall certain ’16-‘19 Street XG 500, 750 and 750A (’17-‘19) models - brake caliper corrosion may cause brake drag, which can increase the risk of a crash. The NHTSA says some 12,871 units may be affected. The brake calipers may corrode internally after exposure to certain driving environments such as coastal regions or road salt. Harley will install new front and rear brake calipers free of charge.

A survey by the Munich, Germany based Ifo economic institute has found that the business climate index in Germany is at its lowest level since 2014. It means that business morale has fallen for the sixth consecutive month and indicates that the German economy is on course to grow only +0.2% in the first quarter.

Six motorcycle manufacturers have announced a collaboration to increase on-road rider safety in the United States through data driven approaches and collaboration with relevant stakeholders. American Honda Motor Company, BMW Motorrad, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Indian Motorcycle Company, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. have teamed up to form the Safer Motorcycling Research Consortium (SMRC). The organization was formally incorporated in Washington, DC, as a 501(c)(6) non-profit entity to develop strategies to advance and integrate on-road motorcyclists’ safety through data driven research and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

BMW says it sold 13,842 motorcycles in USA in 2018 - another record high. Sales of its 6-cylinder models are “developing very positively,” including its K 1600 Bagger, which is tailored especially to the US market. Timo Resch, BMW Motorrad Head of Sales and Marketing: “With 8,306 units sold and a +25% increase in sales, our 6-cylinder models are among the big winners of 2018 again. The USA especially is an important market for these models. We will continue to increase our involvement in the US in order to strengthen BMW Motorrad’s position there.” An additional new USA-specific model is being touted.

Initially established in Peoria, Il. in 1990, Bob Wiebler has sold his Quad-Cities Harley-Davidson business (Davenport, IA) to Michael McGrath - part of a family that owns and operates numerous high-profile dealerships throughout Illinois and Iowa, including Lexus of Chicago, Honda of Chicago, Acura of Chicago, Lexus of Westmont, Ford Hyundai of Cedar Rapids, and many more. McGrath also owns and operates McGrath Harley-Davidson in Dubuque, McGrath Hawkeye Harley-Davidson in Coralville and McGrath Powersports of Cedar Rapids. It has been renamed McGrath Quad City Harley-Davidson and will remain at the current location.

February saw the return of the Harley-Davidson edition F-150 pick-up in a collaboration with Fox Factory Holding subsidiary Tuscany Motor Co - a specialist in special and limited edition Fords. The formal special edition collaboration between Harley and Ford ended in 2012, but from its inception in 2000 some 70,000 Harley F-150 specials are said to have been sold.

Polaris Industries has completed its acquisition of the Larson Boat Group from the Marquis-Larson Group. The move follows up on its May 2018 acquisition of Boat Holdings from the Vogel family, whose Jake Vogel now heads up Polaris’ burgeoning boats division as president. Polaris rival BRP also moved to strengthen its position in the boat market last year, adding Triton’s Manitou pontoon boats brand as a second acquisition to solidify its own new Marine Group’s market position.

Multiple dealer ownership group Windy City Motorcycle Company has formed what appears to be a joint venture business with Fox Powersports Chairman and CEO Dan DeVos. Windy City-Fox Motorsports will “serve the Greater Chicagoland Harley-Davidson retail market and position the iconic brand for

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, B&B, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MNW