Harley-Davidson Revs Up The V-Rod For Upscale Riders

NEW YORK–Harley-Davidson Monday officially unveiled V-Rod, its first new motorcycle line in nearly a decade.

Although specific advertising details were not announced, the Milwaukee-based company says it will attempt to expand its consumer base by targeting marketing efforts in the fourth quarter towards affluent, technology-conscious 35- to 44-year-old buyers, who can afford a model that will be priced at the top end of its class.

With a suggested retail base price of $16,995, it will cost almost two-thirds more than many of the Japanese-built cruiser and performance motorcycles currently attracting Harley’s target audience.

There are about 22 million males in that age group, and about 50,000 are considered potential motorcycle buyers, according to the company. Harley’s traditional consumer base is 45+.

Harley introduced the V-Rod to rave reviews at its annual dealers meeting in Los Angeles. According to the company, the bike uses a derivative of a high-tech, liquid-cooled twin-cylinder racing engine developed by Harley and Germany’s Porsche Engineering for the Superbike race series. Harley’s last new line was the Buell, launched a decade ago.

Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis currently handles both the Harley-Davidson and Porsche U.S accounts.