THE LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CUSTOM MOTORCYCLE AND PARTS INDUSTRY
Long Delayed H-D X350 Could Be Sold in USA After All ?
It was way back in June 2019 that Harley-Davidson ' s then-CEO Matt Levatich made the surprise announcement that it was joining forces with Chinese giant Qianjiang to develop and build a new small-capacity bike - and after years of delays , that machine was finally revealed in AMD and elsewhere recently . The bike was originally intended to have a 338 cc capacity and to hit the market by the end of 2020 - targeting increasingly affluent Chinese riders who might one day have the means to buy Harley ' s bigger core models . A global pandemic , bureaucratic delays in getting a manufacturing license for the joint-venture company set up between Qianjiang and Harley- Davidson , and a redesign around an updated 353 cc engine meant the late- 2020 launch date was missed by a mile , but nearly four years after the project it was announced , the bike - now called the Harley-Davidson X350 - has finally been launched . Initially , as originally intended , the X350 is targeting China ' s burgeoning motorcycle market . It ' s seeing a huge sales increase in larger-capacity , leisure-focused motorcycles , far closer to the Western model than the transport-for-the-masses approach of the last few decades . By offering a small , affordable Harley as a gateway
model , the company is welcoming riders into the fold who could well become a major sales demographic for the brand ' s full-size bikes in years to come - the same strategy that the Chinese manufacturers themselves have used in the West . In the West , too , the X350 is poised to become a first Harley-Davidson experience for many new customers , being used at dealerships across the
USA for the company ' s Riding Academy . Jochen Zeitz , the CEO and President who replaced Levatich , says that although it will be used for training new riders , the X350 won ' t be offered for sale to customers in the States . That said , it ' s worth noting that three variations of the bike have been registered with California ' s Air Resources Board ( CARB ). Two are ' X350RA ' models - the RA standing for ' Riding Academy - one with a restricted engine , the other full power . The third , though , is simply the ' X350 ', suggesting Harley is keeping its options open when it comes to selling the bike to the American public if there ' s enough demand . The X350 may also make sense in other Asian and even European markets where smaller-capacity bikes make up a larger slice of overall sales . The X350 might have pure Harley- Davidson styling , taking cues from the brand ' s classic flat trackers , but under the skin it ' s all Qianjiang .
Continues on page 22 >>>
ISSUE # 285
S & S CONTINGENCY
Momentum Means Business , AIMExpo , Las Vegas , February 2023 , Pages 31-38