Harley-Davidson, America’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, have joined forces with
Qianjiang Motorcycle, China’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, to produce H-D’s smallest capacity motorcycle.
Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Co, a subsidiary of Geely Technology Group which also owns Benelli and Keeway, was founded in 1985. Famed for making smaller capacity bikes and scooters, they also produce motorcycles with engine sizes upto 1130cc, Who better to take Harley to the Chinese market?
This new development will see a 338cc bike being developed and sold in China initially, with other Asia markets to follow.
Harley sales have been below expectations in recent years, and the substantial tariff increase from 6% to 31% has been hitting their profit margin hard. Set to rise even further in 2021, the Milwaukee firm has been vocal about moving production elsewhere to circumvent tariffs.
The new engine will be the smallest in any Harley since the Street 500 which debuted to the USA and Canada in 2014. Harley claim the new bike will keep look, feel and sound associated with their machines, and also that the new model will be built to the same rigorous standards and test processes for all Harley-Davidson products.
Matt Levatich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Harley-Davidson said: “Harley-Davidson has always been about inspiring riders around the world. Our More Roads plan is all about bringing our brand of freedom to more people, in more places, in more ways. We’re excited about this opportunity to build more Harley riders in China, one of the world’s largest motorcycle markets, by creating new pathways to our brand.”
Asia is an important emerging market for motorcycles, and should the bike be a success we could see it rolled out in other markets around the globe.