In September 2019, the most active buyers received the first electric Harley Davidson motorcycles – LiveWire. Two months later, in November 2019, Ford introduced the Mustang Mach-E electric off-road vehicle (SUV). Fans of both brands, of course, perceived the unusual models with pessimism inherent only to true fans, but the general public perceived both the Harley electric bike and the Mustang electric SUV very positively, and both models opened new paths for famous American brands.
Along similar trajectories of electrification, Harley and Ford reasonably suggested that it was more fun together, and it should come as no surprise that HD CEO Jochen Zeitz nominated Ford CEO Jim Farley to serve on Harley Davidson’s board of directors. This became known from Zeitz’s letter to shareholders dated April 9, 2021. The announcement was made ahead of the May 20, 2021 Annual Shareholders Meeting, at which board members will vote for Farley.
If approved, he will join experts from Levi Strauss, Starbucks, ABB Robotics and Cummins. It’s not uncommon for a CEO to propose a candidate for consideration, but in fact, the two brands have been collaborating a long time ago, and together they have produced a Harley Davidson version of the F-150 pickup truck for years. But that’s not all: Farley, an ardent fan of cars and motorcycles, has a 1939 Knucklehead EL and a 1942 Army HD WLA Navy in his collection.
Harley Davidson plans in the near future
According to Zeitz’s strategy “Hardwire”HD’s immediate plans will primarily support and develop a major line of motorcycles, heavy cruisers and touring companies. But on the other hand, Zeitz laid the foundation for the expansion of the electric range, for the first time in Harley history, appointing Ryan Morrissey as Director of Electric Transportation. The introduction of Farley on the board of directors will be the next step in modernizing the company’s team.
Jochen’s vision of how to bring the adventure to a wider audience in one way or another resonates with me. I am honored to be nominated for a position on the Harley Davidson board of directors, ”said Farley.
Of course, the board has yet to vote on Farley, but there is no doubt that the two American brands have a lot to learn from each other. And when it comes to combining tradition and modern technology, they need each other even more.