Industry

Could COVID-19 help save Harley-Davidson?

Could a post-COVID-19 landscape be just what Harley-Davidson needs?

HARLEY-DAVIDSON like so many global manufacturers was hit hard as COVID-19 looked set to strangle the retail market. Like most motorcycle manufacturers, dealerships closed, production lines fell silent and the inevitable layoffs had to take place.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire review

But strange things are happening in Wall Street, we aren’t even out of the pandemic yet, the dealerships have barely opened, and the sales are still slow compared to post-COVID-19, but Harley-Davidson seems to be on the up.

The Milwaukee firm was previously rated as neutral by Wedbush market analyst, James Hardiman, although on Thursday he changed this to ‘outperform’. So, H-D stock has gone from neither performing extremely well or extremely badly, to actually performing slightly better than the market return. That’s a fairly hefty shift in confidence.

But what exactly is driving the change? Well, like any other outdoor pursuits brand, Harley-Davidson is benefiting from people looking to get out and about in a socially distanced manner. Everything outdoors is big business at the moment, with Forbes reporting that bicycle sales – as in pushbikes – topped $1 billion in the US in April alone! What better way to escape the stresses of a global pandemic than hitting the open road and enjoying the great American dream?

But there is also something else that might be helping America’s most famous motorcycle brand – China. There is a fairly strong feeling in many parts of the US – especially those with deep Republican roots – to move away from buying Chinese, or indeed any foreign-made goods. It’s highly likely that this disdain for anything not bearing the ‘American Made’ badge is fuelling a surge in interest in the brand.

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