Monday, July 30, 2018

Could Donald Trump's jab at Harley-Davidson have been more perfectly timed?

A few weeks ago – perhaps in response to a (really!) fake news story that Matt Levatich had called Donald Trump a moron – Donald Trump really did lash out at Harley-Davidson.

Part of Harley-Davidson's stunning new strategy is an entire range of EV motorcycles and bicycles.

Harley-Davidson's old core customers have, until now, also been overwhelmingly supportive of Donald Trump. It seemed strange that Trump would attack the company, but I almost thought The Donald was using a classic cult-leader's technique, of forcing his followers to give up something they love.

Well, this morning Harley-Davidson announced a sweeping set of changes that, in short, mean that it is once and for all really becoming a modern international motorcycle company. Harley-Davidson's, and Donald Trump's base will hate the motorcycles Harley-Davidson will begin releasing in 2020. But Matt Levatich has bet his company (and it goes without saying his reputation) that he can replace those old customers with new ones who would never consider anything Harley makes now.

The timing of the Donald Trump/Harley-Davidson breakup couldn't be better. Harley-Davidson's like half a couple that, after a divorce, goes on a diet, starts working out, and buys a new wardrobe.

Will it work? Maybe, maybe not, but way back in 2014 after I rode the first Livewire, I realized it was Harley's only shot. The company's finally taken it. It might be too late, but it took guts to do it at all.

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