Harley-Davidson’s electric future, GM ponders mini electric pickup, Ford will pay you to cancel your Bronco order

Harley-Davidson

CEO declares Harley-Davidson on track to be “an all-electric brand”

Intake: In an interview with Dezeen, Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz didn’t mince words as he laid out that the American brand is on a defined, long-term plan to phase out internal-combustion engines from its lineup in lieu of electric motors. While criticism is likely to come hard and fast, Zeitz looks at Harley-Davidson‘s history as an inspiration for the move. “If you look at the past 120 years, the company has always evolved, never stood still,” he said in the interview. “Now, like the founders did at the time by trying to reinvent or invent something unique, that’s obviously something that we as a company brand need to do as well.” All signs point to this shift taking a decade or more, but Zeitz says that it’s doable if the company focuses on targeting more than just its core customer.

Exhaust: This move is initially confusing to everyone and only gets more puzzling for those in the know. Harley-Davidson developed and produced an electric motorcycle—the LiveWire— in 2018 only to spin it off to its own brand. Was the consumer base just not ready yet, or has something significant in the boardroom changed in the last year since LVWR went public via SPAC acquisition? We don’t have an answer right now, but H-D is clearly looking to court new buyers and demographics. We expect this announcement to alienate some of the brand’s core buyers, though. — Kyle Smith

General Motors hints at a mini electric pickup

gm electric mini pickup
General Motors reveals its all-new modular platform and battery system, Ultium, Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at the Design Dome on the GM Tech Center campus in Warren, Michigan. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors) Steve Fecht for Genreal Motors

Intake: GM on Wednesday showed select members of the media a design for a small, electric pickup, smaller even than the Ford Maverick, says Automotive News. “The automaker is considering a two-door pickup with a 4- to 4.5-foot-long bed and low roofline. The vehicle would be part of GM’s lineup of affordable EVs priced under $30,000,” the publication said, calling it “futuristic and sporty,” adjectives which remind us of the original Subaru Brat.

Exhaust: No name or building plans were revealed, but the trucklet would presumably be part of the Chevrolet lineup. It would certainly have minimal competition in that market niche. — Steven Cole Smith

Megarexx Trucks shows off Super-Duty-based MegaRaptor 7

Megarexx MegaRaptor truck
Megarexx Trucks

Intake: Megarexx Trucks, a North Carolina shop specializing in custom Super Duty trucks, is offering a monster off-road SUV built from a Ford F-250 that picks up where the Excursion left off. Although it starts with a pickup, Megarexx integrates the bed and cab and mounts a third row of seats in the back to accommodate up to seven passengers and produce the Megarexx. The third-row seats are flanked by a rectangular tube rollbar and are covered by a removable fiberglass shell. Its solid-axle suspension rides on King shocks and lift springs which provide clearance for 46-inch tires thanks to the custom flared bodywork.

Exhaust: We’re pretty sure a heavy, solid axle and 46-inch Michelins won’t handle high-speed desert running as well as a Raptor’s fully independent suspension and 37-inch rubber, although this will easily out-pull its F-150 namesake thanks to its 6.7-liter turbodiesel powerplant. The Megarexx’s length and width will limit its trail capability, which is a shame: Those 46-inch tires would make easy work out of all but the tallest ledges and rocks. The market for these huge SUV creations is likely pretty small, but now that niche appears to be filled. — Brandan Gillogly 

Celebrity supercar sale: Toto’s F40 or Rod’s Countach?

Intake: Two red Italian thoroughbreds with famous owners are up for grabs. From the stable of the Prancing Horse is a 1990 Ferrari F40, fresh from the collection of Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff. The car has covered only 3440 miles from new, was originally delivered to a buyer in Spain, and was completely overhauled under Wolff’s care by Autofficina Bonini Carlo S.r.l. in Italy. It comes with Ferrari’s Red Book Classiche certification that confirms its originality and is being offered by British dealership Tom Hartley Junior.

Meanwhile, another seller is hoping to flip a 1977 Lamborghini Countach LP400 that was owned for many years by Sir Rod Stewart. The Scottish singer bought the rare Periscopio model new and had it delivered to Australia, where he was on tour at the time. When Stewart moved to Los Angeles, he took the car with him and decided to make some modifications. With the help of Albert Madikian Engineering, it received a widebody kit and a targa roof. Stewart returned to the U.K. in 1987 and the car stayed with him until 2002. Since then it has been converted to left-hand drive and its body returned to factory specification. A year ago, the car sold in Paris for a record $940,919, but with an estimate of €950,000 to €1,050,000 ($1.03M–$1.14M) it’s likely to set a new ceiling for an auctioned Countach when it hits the block at RM Sotheby’s in February.

Exhaust: The somewhat cynical sale of Stewart’s Countach is yet another example of classic cars as commodities. The current owner likely bought the one-of-157 Periscopio as an investment, and it looks like it will pay off. We wish owners of such exotica would be more like Toto, who kept his F40 for 15 years, or Rod, who cherished his Countach for a quarter of a century. — Nik Berg

Virginia governor turns away Ford battery plant

2022 F-150 Lightning Platinum
Ford

Intake: Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s Republican governor, has nixed the possible construction of a battery plant in his state, a plant that may have employed 2500 people, because the Ford project would be in conjunction with CATL, the world’s largest EV battery producer, and CATL is a Chinese company. “Youngkin’s administration has previously characterized the project as a ‘front’ for the Chinese Communist Party that would raise national security concerns,” said the Associated Press. His Democratic opponents disagree. “Virginia House Democratic Leader Don Scott made the case Thursday that Youngkin should try to reverse course and salvage the project. ‘He wanted to make headlines by calling Ford—Ford—a front for China. And who’s paying the price? Twenty-five hundred hard-working Virginians,’” Scott said.

Exhaust: For Ford’s part, a spokesperson says the company continues to explore possibilities for the plant elsewhere. The rest pretty much speaks for itself. — SCS

Ford will pay you to cancel your Bronco order

2022 Ford Bronco Everglades off-road first drive
Ford

Intake: Ford is experiencing such demand for the new Bronco that the company is offering a $2500 incentive for you to cancel your 2023 Bronco order and buy something else, such as an Escape, Bronco Sport, Edge, Explorer, Expedition, Ranger, or F-150. CarsDirect.com says the deal covers new orders for the replacement vehicles, not vehicles that are already in stock.

Exhaust: Ford, with the new Bronco and Maverick pickup, has a unique problem: It can’t fill all the orders. We doubt that a $2500 incentive will make many Bronco customers who are in line for the SUV to drop their order, but it’s a unique idea. — SCS

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Comments

    “Harley-Davidson developed and produced an electric motorcycle—the LiveWire— in 2018 only to spin it off to its own brand. Was the consumer base just not ready yet, or has something significant in the boardroom changed in the last year since LVWR went public via an SPAC acquisition?”

    This was the first question that popped into my head.

    Harley Davidson going all electric? Good luck with that. Although it will make my Harley worth much more.
    Maybe they’re planning on emulating the engine sound by doing the bicycle trick with cardboard flapping on the rim spokes.

    The general theory is that Harleys only appeal to Boomers, who are fast aging themselves out of the new-bike-buying market. Thus, they “need to appeal to a new demographic”. However, as I look at people riding newer H-Ds around my area, I see many folks who are obviously in their 30s and 40s (and even late 20s) who favor the brand. Okay, I can see putting out a few EV models, but the entire line? I’m sure a lot of annalists and bean counters have researched the heck outta this, but from my viewpoint, it’s going to turn off a lot of enthusiasts who are still in the buying phase.
    Jim Goegebeur has a great point: used ICE Harleys are going to start getting more valuable as this transition moves ahead.

    Electric Harley, great idea! Then they can record the engine sound, send to the riders ear buds and the rest of the world won’t have to listen to noise that stopped being cool about 50 years ago…

    The genuine Harley sound was always great. I think you’re referring to the after-market modifications, usually in the form of straight pipes. Those aren’t cool. Harleys can sound great without being obnoxious.

    I love everything you do at Hagerty, the Manifold is great. I do fear however that the CEO of Harley has inadvertently declared that bankruptcy is just around the corner. Watching them try to make themselves into something they are not is sad and disgusting. If electric bikes are so fantastic then Livewire should naturally make Harley irrelevant over time.

    Because rotor end bearings used to be ‘oilite,’ I have seen electric motors that leak oil.
    And if anyone can achieve it…

    Harley-Davidson on track to be “an all-electric brand”. Oh boy, yeah no. I’m not interested. Curious on HD’s future considering past electric bike stuff has not done too well.

    F40 vs. Countach? F40
    Toto vs. Rod Stewart? Toto

    So it’s a win for the Toto F40 I guess.

    “The automaker is considering a two-door pickup with a 4- to 4.5-foot-long bed and low roofline.”

    My hope: EV version of the Holden Ute, but named the El Camino.

    My dream: EV with retro looks that is in fact the El Camino. (EV Camino??)

    My fear: EV version of the SSR *gagging noises*

    Ultimately, if it were the Ute or Retro El-C, but in a gas or hybrid, I would be much happier than any EV, I am just happy to see small single cab trucks make a comeback. Some laugh at the idea of a 4.5 ft bed, but those people forget that was the short box dimension on the S10 crew cab, so clearly plenty of people can get by just fine with that size.

    “The automaker is considering a two-door pickup with a 4- to 4.5-foot-long bed and low roofline.”

    Shorter beds, often 5′ even in today’s monster pick-up trucks are a sacrifice to add four doors but if they are going to make a two door, why not use that extra space to make it a 6′ bed which has so much more usability. My Ranger is compact but with a 6′ bed, I find a lot of stuff ends up just fitting in and I usually bulk out before I hit the max weight; I can’t imagine a 4′ or 4.5′ bed.

    I’m sure most classic car owners see ev cars as a threat to preservation you should lartity your page so specific categories can be opted out of, The frequency of these posts referring to EV vehicles makes me want to turn off the page

    HD conspiracy theory…

    Executives know ICE is getting banned in most/all their prime markets.
    They know their customer base will not buy eBikes.
    They know that saying they are going all EV will boost stock prices in the short term.
    They own stock.

    This is the play to cash out. They don’t care if HD ceases production in 4 years, as they will have cashed out.

    Is GM’s new E-Mini Truck a reincarnation of the early El Camino?
    General, keep your volts, give me the horsepower!

    A German CEO of H-D says “Surprise!: All Electric”.. Right.. Oops there go European & US H-D sales.. Reminds me of that commercial where the guys are making Vroom sounds about going for a Ride the next day.. Are the Euro-metros going to go “Vroom” when they ride their E-HDs..?? Meanwhile BMW sales of the big R-18 make up more than half of the nearly 200,000 two-wheelers sold in 2021! LOL..!
    – Monster Trucks vs e-cars ??? Is this a Mad Max story?
    > Why can’t LIQUID PISTON work up a MC hybrid design to keep the millennials happy?

    > Yeah for Glenn Youngkin.. Don’t Pollute VA with LITHIUM detritus.. & CCP operatives.

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