Indefinitely Delayed: Harley-Davidson LiveWire Update
We’ve got an addendum for our latest story on how automakers should view Harley-Davidson as a cautionary tale. The company, which recently began exploring electric motorcycles as a way to boost sales and spur public interest, recently told dealers not to expect deliveries of its newest model.
The $29,799 LiveWire that was supposed to start re-arriving this month is again delayed.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the manufacturer claims there’s an issue with the all-electric bike’s charging equipment — something that will obviously need to be addressed before it goes on sale. As a result, H-D is pulling the production plug on the two-wheeled EV.
“This is disappointing for all of us,” Michelle Kumbier, the company’s chief operating officer, wrote in a dealer memo intercepted by the outlet.
We asked a few H-D dealerships to verify the claims. Most said they hadn’t planned on carrying the LiveWire this year, with one confirming the delay and apologizing. It should be said that the manufacturer is adamant about dealerships using specific types of chargers. WSJ noted that the brand also wanted customers to use “professional type” chargers at home, but most of the marketing materials indicated the bike would function with any household outlet.
While no dangers are said to stem from the charging problem, Harley-Davidson has not issued a timetable for the fix, postponing deliveries (and production) indefinitely until one can be implemented. Since the model isn’t officially supposed to be on sale yet, it’s unlikely the few in dealer possession have left the premises — meaning H-D won’t have to issue any consumer recalls.
Small miracles, we suppose. But this is another dark smudge on the brand’s already spotted resume that might have been avoidable. While we cannot presume Harley-Davidson rushed the LiveWire to market (possibly to beat winter), there may still have been a way around this that didn’t involve stalling production. While H-D isn’t spelling anything out for automakers, it’s still being generous with its lessons.
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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