Harley-Davidson riding pandemic demand with new lineup

Harley also plans to offer four super-premium models from its Custom Vehicle Operations team   

Harley-Davidson Inc. on Tuesday announced that the company was debuting a new line of motorcycles in 2021, a sigh of relief for the struggling motorcycle maker.

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The Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer is offering up a slate of choices. The new models include the Street Bob 114 and restyled Fat Boy 114 cruiser. However, the manufacturer also plans to offer four super-premium models from its Custom Vehicle Operations team. 

(Harley-Davidson)

Harley is also adding styling options for its Street Glide Special, Road Glide Special and Road King Special models, according to the company.

The announcement comes less than a year after the company had reported plans to offer fewer models after facing years of declining sales, particularly in the U.S. – its biggest market – as it tried to adapt to an aging customer base while looking to expand markets overseas.

In addition, last February the company announced that its CEO, Matthew Levatich, was stepping down. By May, the company announced plans to slim down production for the year after reopening its plants from virus-related shutdowns.

(Harley-Davidson)

However, over the course of the pandemic, motorcycle sales began to rise in part due to consumers looking to avoid mass transit coupled with the desire to find socially distinct activities, motorcycle trend watcher Robert Pandya told Forbes.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON PLANS FOR FEWER MODELS, SIMPLER FACTORIES AFTER CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN

Meanwhile, Harley attributed part of its success in the third quarter to the company's ability to overhaul its business and create a "new operating model that realigns the organization for performance, reduces costs and sharpens focus on profitable products and markets."

Part of this process included streamlining its planned product portfolio by 30% while overhauling its launch timing and "go-to-market practices for maximum impact and success."