Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich told me in August 2015: “We are trying to erase the perception that Harley is just for old white guys.”
Roughly four years later — accompanied by a 38% decline in the iconic motorcycle maker’s stock price — Harley-Davidson (HOG) is still trying to reverse that perception among U.S. consumers. To be sure, I have watched Levatich and his executive team toss the book at trying to reverse sluggish sales trends in its core domestic market.
Harley-Davidson has made lighter, cheaper motorcycles to better compete with imports from Honda. The company has sponsored the X-Games to ramp up its cool factor among millennials. It has invested in driver academies in a bid to attract female riders and other first-timers.
At the same time, it has cut costs when these undertakings have failed to live up to their mark. Not making matters any easier for Harley-Davidson is being constantly dragged through the Twitter mud by President Donald Trump due to his outrage on Harley-Davidson moving some production overseas.