The Bar & Shield brand has seen a bit of upheaval off-late with a downward slide in share prices in recent times, and have made a top-management change to arrest the slide. Since the end of February, former CEO Matt Levatich stepped down and Jochen Zeitz – the man who saved sports apparel brand Puma – stepped up to fill the void as Acting President, CEO and board chair. His position has now been consolidated and he has been installed as the permanent head honcho of the famous American cruiser brand.
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Although it isn’t really fair to call them a cruiser brand, what with Levatich’s More Roads to Harley-Davidson plan that saw the company branch out from its cruiser roots and build the exciting LiveWire electric sports bike and announce the two new models in the form of the street-naked Bronx and the Pan America adventure-tourer. Now that Zeitz is in charge, the plans have changed a little bit, and More Roads… has turned into the Rewire project. Rewire is a new strategic plan that is more focused on consolidation than it is on the expansion of the product verticals. The announcement of the Rewire approach was made in an investor relations release and makes for fascinating reading. We have reproduced the salient points here for your convenience:
Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces
- Return focus to the strength of brand and company, starting with dealers, customers, stronghold products and committed employees globally.
- Re-evaluate strategies to reach new riders and build ridership.
Prioritize the markets that matter
- Narrow focus and invest in the markets, products and customer segments that offer the most profit and potential. This includes building on Harley-Davidson’s strong position in the U.S.
- Establish a simplified market coverage model and take cost out of the process.
Reset product launches and product line up for simplicity and maximum impact
- Continue to be guided by the voice of customers and dealers to optimize value and profit delivery.
- Simplify and retime launches to reflect the new reality, align with the start of riding season and better suit the capacity of the company and dealers.
- Expand profitable iconic motorcycles to excite existing customers. Remain committed to Adventure Touring, Streetfighter and advancing electric motorcycles.
Build the Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to full potential
Adjust and align the organizational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success
The delay of the launch of the two models means they are more likely to hit the markets in 2021 as opposed to later this year. Furthermore, we don’t know what effects the proclamation of “prioritize the markets that matter” will have on H-D’s India holdings. Needless to say, the Milwaukee-based brand is set for interesting times ahead.