Harley-Davidson EV Readiness & Launch

How do you launch a radically new product for one of the most historic brands in American history and gain the dealer buy-in needed for success?

The Situation

Harley-Davidson was launching its first-ever production electric motorcycle, LiveWire™, as part of the company’s initiative to increase riders, new to the brand, and to motorcycling itself. With this introduction, the brand was positioning itself to be a leader in the EV market. Due to the requirements and/or infrastructure to sell, service and charge electric vehicles, the brand’s dealer network would be required to make an initial investment to upgrade their facilities and train staff. Additionally, LiveWire™ was a dramatic departure from traditional Harley-Davidson products, having the potential to polarize dealers. Lastly, the number of LiveWire™ motorcycles allocated to dealers for the first model year would be much lower than past models, limiting the revenue the dealer would hope to realize initially.

The Strategy

A five-fold approach was developed to ensure an optimal launch strategy for Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire™ motorcycle. Our goal was to unite the dealer base, including those not chosen to represent the product in the first model year launch. We interviewed the top 100 dealers and invited them to become the “architects” of this launch, to help design and play a pivotal role in its success. The assessment also measured the dealers’ EV knowledge and sentiment about the emerging EV technology and more. The assessment findings were documented for the Harley-Davidson team, along with dealer quotes supporting the launch approach. These were used to inspire and drive the LiveWire™ launch, education and strategy. Following the assessment was a dealer awareness campaign, development of support materials, ongoing communication leading up to the launch and ultimately dealer engagement efforts.

The Finished Product

The LiveWire™ dealer launch culminated in a national dealer tour—Charged & Ready: The LiveWire Dealer Experience. This mobile experiential event engaged and educated dealers, as well as provided opportunities to see the product up close and ask questions of the Harley-Davidson EV Readiness team. The eight-city tour welcomed over 500 dealers who learned about the EV customer and discovered key LiveWire™ features. To further leverage this investment, the employees of Harley-Davidson were also invited to experience at their corporate headquarters.

The Results

At the conclusion of this historic dealer launch, dealers were more informed, engaged and on-board with selling LiveWire™.
Base on pre- and post-assessments, the results showed:

26% increase: Confidence in marketing LiveWire™ to customers
22% increase: Knowledge of the EV customer
20% increase: Prepared to explain LiveWire™ product specifications to customers
28% increase: Confidence in explaining the premium nature of LiveWire™ and the customer experience

LABOV continues to act as an extension of Harley-Davidson’s new product launch team, helping them with planned future product launches.