Update: Harley-Davidson LiveWire Production Halted Due to Quality Issues

H-D has remained quiet on the exact problem, but dealers report it's related to the e-motorcycle's charging system.

LiveWire 2018. Spain
Josh Kurpius/Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson suspended the production and delivery of its all-new LiveWire electric motorcycle after discovering issues during its final quality-control check. The setback comes as Harley-Davidson has pegged much of its future hopes on the production and positive sales of its new model.

In a statement to The Drive, Harley-Davidson Motor Company said, "As we lead in the electrification of motorcycles, we have delivered our first LiveWire motorcycles to authorized LiveWire dealers. We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well. We are in close contact with our LiveWire dealers and customers and have assured them they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles. As usual, we’re keeping high quality as our top priority.”

Update: In a statement released today, Harley-Davidson said that production has resumed. "After completing rigorous analysis this week, we have resumed LiveWire production and deliveries," stated a company representative, adding, "Customers may continue riding their LiveWire motorcycle and are able to charge the motorcycle through all methods. Temporarily stopping LiveWire production allowed us to confirm that the non-standard condition identified on one motorcycle was a singular occurrence. We take pride in our rigorous quality assurance measures and our drive to deliver the world’s best motorcycles."

The Wall Street Journal, however, reported that the manufacturer had communicated to its dealers last week that it was stopping production to re-test the motorcycle's charging mechanism but did not offer further details.

After facing a steady decline in sales over the past decade, the renowned American motorcycle maker scrambled to production for the all-new flagship electric bike, hoping that a mix of innovation and new, younger buyers could help it back to profitability. To lure new buyers to two-wheels, LiveWire's single-drive gearbox doesn't require mastery of a sequential manual transmission and offers a far simpler “twist-and-go” experience.

What hasn't lured new buyers is LiveWire's asking price of $29,799. While the motorcycle is phenomenal in its execution, The Drive's own view of the motorcycle is that it's far too expensive for the customers Harley desperately needs to attract. In comparison, Zero Motorcycle's top-spec SR/F electric motorcycle costs $21,495, though cheaper models are available. 

Harley-Davidson is at the precipice of its own demise. The iconic brand cannot falter or else vultures will begin circling. With this issue, and LiveWire's lackluster sales, things aren't looking good for Milwaukee.