Some motorcycle news from Wall Street, as we get word that Harley-Davidson will be removed from the S&P 500 list effective June 22nd.
A key index for a snapshot on the state of the American business landscape, the S&P 500 gets its name because it measures the stock performance of 500 large companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States.
Episode 37 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and is packed full of motorcycle discussion for your open-road loving hearts.
This show covers a bevy of topics that we think you will find interesting, the first of which is about Harley-Davidson.
If you were looking for a succinct and fairly accurate portrayal of Harley-Davidson’s current business dilemma, look no further than this video put out by the minds at Canada’s FortNine.
Laced with their uniquely irreverent tone, FortNine breaks down how Harley-Davidson has gone from an industry-dominating name (and one of the strongest brands in the world), to a crashing meteor of declining sales and profitability.
Whether you agree with the video’s premise or not (namely that Harley-Davidson is beyond saving), the video is certainly striking a chord with the interneting masses – it had over 300,000 plays within its first 24hrs of it being on YouTube, and currently has close to 6,000 comments, just a day later.
As of this writing, the official death toll in the United States from COVID-19 deaths stands at 86,248 souls. This is truly a devastating time for our country, both in the loss of life, and the effects it is having on our society.
To provide relief to this pandemic, Harley-Davidson is teaming up with auction house Bonhams to offer a special one-of-a-kind Livewire motorcycle, and all of the proceeds (excluding taxes and fees) from the auction will be donated to United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.
The auction will be held online by Bonhams, from Tuesday, May 12th, 2020 thru Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 , and is available to only for participants from the United States.
It is hard to believe that it took until the year 2020 for the Android Auto media software to come to the motorcycle industry, but yet here we are – five years after the software’s initial release.
Available on Harley-Davidson motorcycles starting in March of this year, now we see that the Honda Gold Wing will also include Android Auto (the Gold Wing was the first motorcycle to have Apple CarPlay too, by the way).
Big moves continue at the Bar & Shield brand, as Jochen Zeitz has been named as the permanent replacement to Matt Levatich, dropping the “interim” part of his title as President and CEO of Harley-Davidson, effective immediately.
The move isn’t too much of a surprise for Harley-Davidson, as Zeitz was always a front-runner for the positions, after he took the temporary assignments over two months ago.
Coming closely after the news that Harley-Davidson would drop the “More Roads” business plan for a new corporate strategy, dubbed “The Rewire”, the American motorcycle maker is returning to a position that more closely follows where it was before Levatich took the helm.
It didn’t last long. Exactly two months after the firing of Matt Levatich as Harley-Davidson’s CEO, the Bar & Shield brand has announced that it is stepping away from the company’s “More Roads Lead to Harley-Davidson” business strategy, for a new plan that is being called “The Rewire”.
As you would expect, the new plan is framed partially by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is gripping the world, but Harley-Davidson sees things further down the path as well, saying that the “The Rewire” will be a five-year strategy for the motorcycle maker.
This move comes after a considerable internal battle for control of the Harley-Davidson board of directors, which saw a proxy fight breaking out with Impala Asset Management – one of Harley-Davidson’s largest shareholders.
The fight ended in a truce, with Impala and Harley-Davidson agreeing to add another board seat, of their mutual choosing. Presumably, a part of that peace offering is the new Rewire plan that we now see.
Everyone knew that the coronavirus outbreak was going to be hard on sales for the motorcycle industry, but no one was certain on how big of an impact the global lockdown would be…until now.
The first shoe to drop, Harley-Davidson has released its first quarter report for 2020, and the numbers are not good.
The report shows that Harley-Davidson motorcycle unit sales in the USA are down 15.5% (22,732 units sold) compared to this time last year, with international sales taking an even bigger hit, to the tune of a 20.7% drop (16,707 units sold).
This means a total unit sales decline of 17.7% for Harley-Davidson worldwide, with 40,439 units sold around the world in the first three months of 2020, down from the 49,151 units sold last year during the same time period.
Another year, and another April Fools Day is done and dusted. Normally, I would say that April 1st is better than Christmas for motorcycle journalists, but literally as billions of people sheltered in their houses because of the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s affair had a much more somber tone, with some outlets choosing to refrain from the chicanery.
My colleague David Emmett was one of those who thought the day warranted a different approach, and he offered his readers the entertainment of Simon Crafar’s MotoVudu channel, which is superb. You should definitely take his advice, and give it a watch.
Our Brap Talk podcast tried something a little different as well, where we did an episode that was appropriately titled “Not About Motorcycles” as we tried to offer a more general interest show. Maybe we will spin this idea into its own podcast, but don’t worry, there will be more moto-content from now on. Look for another episode on Monday.
For my own part, well…I’m simpler creature than David, and have more base instincts when it comes to April 1st. As such, I took the lazy approach and picked on the folks in Milwaukee for my April Fools kicks.
While I would say that Harley-Davidson is usually a pretty sport about things, I did wake up to a phone call from the Bar & Shield brand today, and I am pretty sure that Asphalt & Rubber is now on double-secret probation with the American motorcycle manufacturer. Trade that against being able to use half-naked Miley Cyrus photo in an article, and I would say it is an even exchange. Mea culpa, and sorry for partying.
How about from the rest of the industry though? In case you missed them, the highlights of April Fools Day are after the jump.
Fresh off of the news from two days ago, where the Harley-Davidson Board of Directors settled the power-grab by investment group Impala Asset Management, we now see the first fruits of that agreement taking shape.
Taking decisive measures, fueled by the fallout from the coronavirus epidemic, the Harley-Davidson Board of Directors held an emergency voting session on Tuesday night, which saw the group lay out a massive restructuring plan the Bar & Shield brand.
What a difference a week makes. Just seven days ago, we reported to you the fight that was brewing internally at Harley-Davidson, where investor Impala Asset Management was vying to put two additional board members on the corporate board for Harley-Davidson.