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Analyst: LiveWire too expensive, but pre-orders likely solid

BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson provided a research note to Powersports Business following Harley-Davidson’s details about its LiveWire electric motorcycle, revealed at the CES show in Las Vegas. The motorcycle is expected to be released to dealers in August.

Johnson reports that the “biggest concern we have is the $30,000 price tag for the base model, which puts it beyond the reach of younger consumers (who we think would be most interested in an electric motorcycle).

“The motorcycle's styling is attractive and performance and range specs are comparable to other electric motorcycles. But the biggest hurdle for LiveWire will be its base price of $29,799. The ‘out the door’ MSRP will end up being well over $30,000 when options are factored in.

“A complaint we often hear from dealers is that HOG's motorcycles are too expensive. LiveWire seems like a different chapter of the same story, and is likely too expensive to attract new riders.

“We've also heard that the cost for dealers to install the required charging stations as well other service changes (retraining technicians, new tools, etc) is prohibitive, running into six figures.

“Nevertheless, we expect pre-orders to be solid. We think there are enough high-earning Harley enthusiasts who will spend the $30,000 for the novelty or to be the first to have the newest toy. But we do not expect significant follow-through after the shine wears off.

“We have difficulty seeing the endeavor scaling to a profitable level. For example, based on data provided by Polk, Zero Motorcycles, the leader in electric motorcycles, sold only 750 bikes in the US over the last 12 months.

“HOG also announced two additional new electric prototypes; a dirt bike and a moped (available in 2022). These new models may help absorb development and overhead, but they also move HOG into segments in which it has no expertise or proper distribution channels to support.”

LiveWire 2018

One comment

  1. I remember when the V-Rod came out. Customers were paying 5 grand over MSRP for those bikes, and then 2 years later the MSRP dropped by 5-7 grand. Those early adopters were buried in those bikes and completely removed from the trade-in cycle. That whole program left a bad taste in a lot of mouths. I think you'd be crazy to spend $30 grand on the LW, because you are paying 10K for the bike and 20K for the name. Wait 2 years and buy a used one for 10K, or buy a new Zero.

    • First Name: Mark
    • Last Name: Sheffield
    • Email Address: MSheffield@Spader.com

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