Indian Motorcycle has unveiled its entire 2021 lineup to the public.  The announcement comes on the heels of the brand’s strongest motorcycle sales quarter ever.  Considering the pandemic, business is looking good.

Quite the opposite, its main rival, Harley-Davidson (Harley), is yet to reveal its 2021 motorcycle range.   And, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal, Indian’s September rollout gives them a “months-long” head start in marketing its heavyweight 2021 models for next year’s riding season, while Harley sits still.

Indian Challenger

Indian’s performance cruiser, the Challenger.

Different business strategy

Harley is presently under the leadership of its new CEO, Jochen Zeitz.  Zeitz is purposefully delaying Harley’s new model year introductions into the early portion of 2021.  As such, the public won’t be getting much more information on Harley’s models until the calendar reads 2021.

That does not mean that Harley will not provide any information; it just means that there will only be hints about what Harley has up its sleeve.  For example, Harley confirmed to the Milwaukee Business Journal that its new Pan America adventure motorcycle would arrive sometime in 2021, while also verifying that the company’s naked Bronx street fighter will not.

Indian FTR

Indian’s flat track based FTR.

As is well known, Harley is in the midst of a business process revolution code-named the “Hardwire.”  Zeitz says that the brand needs to concentrate on its core customers who purchase heavyweight cruisers.  To do this, he has trimmed the MoCo’s workforce, reduced the number of model variants extensively, and pulled back on production and new product development.

Indian in the lead?

So while Harley restructures its business, its main competition is out drumming up sales and showcasing its models.  But does the rollout of Indian’s 2021 model information really give them the leg up that the Milwaukee Business Journal suggests?

Yes, releasing Indian’s 2021 lineup gives them a chance to build some buzz and perhaps offer a few more test rides.  But is it such a significant advantage, especially in a market where the product is seasonal?

Indian Scout

Indian’s least expensive Scout models.

What do you think?  Should Harley-Davidson at least roll out its existing lineup?  Or, should it keep its cards close to the vest until the calendar reads 2021?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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