Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer is looking for European growth with it’s acquisition of Italian bikemaker MV Agusta for $108 million. The announcement on August 8th is Harley’s second attempt to get into the sportbike segment after it’s purchase of American motorcycle manufacturer Buell ten years ago.
With the weak dollar, Harley has seen double digit growth in European markets as of late but without a favored brand in the sportbike segment - which accounts for over 80% of motorcycle purchases across the pond - H-D is only fighting for scraps. Buells are relatively unknown and untrusted outside the United States.
Sales of Harley-Davidsons in the United States, the second largest motorcycle market after China, have floundered in the wake of the credit crisis. While overall sales of motorcycles and scooters have skyrocketed because of high gas prices, riders are preferring foreign, mainly smaller Japanese machines with lower purchase prices.
Whether or not this marks a turn for Harley away from it’s focus on iconic touring motorcycles with 20th century looks to more modern technology and appearance is too early to predict. What I can tell you is that you still won’t be able to pick up a cheap “Harley". MV Agustas start at $15,000 and can cost 6 figures for a limited edition.Permalink