The average of a Harley-Davidson rider is 48 years old. The company, which is associated with the counterculture movement, is aggressively looking to inspire this revolution again within the younger generation.
Matt Levatich, the new chief executive of Harley-Davidson, is spending much of his time looking for ways to get young people onto the seat of a bike. His focus is to expand their offerings to include more lower-priced bike designs for urban riding. three-wheeled models, lower-slung two-wheelers that are easier to mount, and eventually a battery-powered alternative to the classic Harley.
While Levatich appreciates and understands the importance of the virtual world that many young people are living in, his mission is to inspire young adults to live for real. And the open road is certainly an amazing place to experience the world. Levatich is confident that another counterculture will take place, similar to the one in the 1960s. Harley-Davidson wants to be prepared to provide the younger generation with a product that will help fuel and serve as an outlet for this movement.
Moving forward, Harley-Davidson will be more discriminating when deciding which of its models to favor with investments, whether it’s in new engines or other updates. Levatich is placing priority on appealing to younger adults, women and minorities. While Harley-Davidson will continue to target their core audience – older white men – we will likely see bikes that exclusively appeal to this audience slowly fade away.
Mr. Levatich, is a seasoned veteran with Harley-Davidson with 21 years experience with the company. He took over on May 1, after a dismal first quarter performance. He contends that the baby boomer generation will remain the big customers for many years to come, however, long term company success will depend on bringing in new blood.
As Levatich puts it, “the most important segment is young adults – the incoming. Are teenagers choosing to join the sport?”