Harley-Davidson

Uneasy rider

A German wants to kick-start a motorbiking legend

 


 

May 15th 2021 | words 528

 

 


THE LARGE dealership with the distinctive orange logo in Berlins Huttenstrasse displays a range of Harley-Davidsons from a spectacular custom machine, Der Texaner, to the brand-new LiveWire, an electric bike. Yet the Midwestern motorcycle-makers only shop in the German capital is deserted owing to covid-19 rules mandating a time slot and a negative test result, which deters most bikers.

 

owing to

prep.
because of
:
 The game was cancelled owing to torrential rain.
   


mandate

verb  / mndeit; mndeit /  [often passive]  (formal)

1. (especially NAmE)  to order sb to behave, do sth or vote in a particular way
:
[V that]
 The law mandates that imported goods be identified as such.
  
[also VN to  inf also VN]
2.  [VN to  inf]  to give sb, especially a government or a committee, the authority to do sth
:
 The assembly was mandated to draft a constitution.
   


time slot 

 noun

1. A particular period of time in the day or week allocated to a certain radio or television programme

2. A particular period assigned to a certain purpose, etc


deter

verb (-rr-)
~ sb (from sth / from doing sth)  to make sb decide not to do sth or continue doing sth, especially by making them understand the difficulties and unpleasant results of their actions
:
[VN]
 I told him I wasn't interested, but he wasn't deterred.
  ,
 The high price of the service could deter people from seeking advice.
   




The shop is usually busy at this time of the year, says a sales assistant. But customers will not return, warns Jochen Zeitz, Harley-Davidsons newish German chief executive, if the European Union goes ahead with the imposition of a 56% tariff on all imported Harley products from June 1st, which is part of the EUs retaliation against tariffs on steel and aluminium imposed by the American government. The tariffs will make it impossible for Harley-Davidson to compete with rivals in Europe, says Mr Zeitz, who lodged a legal complaint against the decision as soon as the plan was made public last month.

 

imposition

noun
1. [U]  the act of introducing sth such as a new law or rule, or a new tax
(),():
 the imposition of martial law
  
 the imposition of tax on domestic fuel
  
2. [C]  an unfair or unreasonable thing that sb expects or asks you to do
():
 I'd like to stay if it's not too much of an imposition.
  , 


retaliation

noun  [U]
~ (against sb / sth) (for sth)  action that a person takes against sb who has harmed them in some way

SYN
reprisal :
 retaliation against UN workers
  
 The shooting may have been in retaliation for the arrest of the terrorist suspects.
   


lodge

verb

1. [VN] ~ (sth) (with sb) (against sb / sth)  to make a formal statement about sth to a public organization or authority
()()
SYN
register , submit :
 They lodged a compensation claim against the factory.
  
 Portugal has lodged a complaint with the International Court of Justice.
  

 Idiom

lodge something against something

to place or prop something against something.

 We lodged the chest against the door, making it difficult or impossible to open.

 Let's lodge the stone against the side of the barn to help support it.



Prohibitive tariffs will make Mr Zeitzs challenging job even more difficult. Germany is his firms biggest market outside America. Around 260,000 Harleys roar down the countrys Autobahnen. In spite of the pandemic 11,000 new Hogs were registered in Germany last year.

 

A Harley board member since 2007, Mr Zeitz took over as interim chief executive in February 2020 when Matthew Levatich, his predecessor, quit after five years, having failed to revive the quintessentially American brand. Under Mr Levatich sales in America, where 70% of new Harleys are bought, declined for 12 quarters and the companys shares lost 46% of their value. In May 2020 the bike enthusiast signed on permanently for the firms top job.

 

interim

adj.  [only before noun]
1. intended to last for only a short time until sb / sth more permanent is found
:
 an interim government / measure / report
  /
 The vice-president took power in the interim period before the election.
   


quintessence

noun  [sing.] the ~ of sth  (formal)
1. the perfect example of sth
:
 It was the quintessence of an English manor house.
  
2. the most important features of sth

SYN
essence :
 a painting that captures the quintessence of Viennese elegance
  
quintessential  / kwintisenl / adj.:
 He was the quintessential tough guy.
  
quintessentially  / -li / adv.





This is not Mr Zeitzs first rescue mission. As chief executive of Puma, he transformed the maker of sports kit from an ailing parochial business in Franconia into a hipster brand. Yet fixing Puma may seem easy compared with a company that is battling declining motorcycle ridership, ageing customers and stiff competition from the likes of Triumph, Polaris and Ducati.

 

parochial

adj.
1. [usually before noun] (formal)  connected with a church
parish
:
 parochial schools
  
 a member of the parochial church council
  
2. (disapproving)  only concerned with small issues that happen in your local area and not interested in more important things

parochialism  / -izm / noun [U] :
 the parochialism of a small community
   


hipster

noun

apersonwhofollowswhatisfashionableinclothes,music,etc.



Mr Zeitz has cut costs and slashed 700 jobs as well as cutting the number of models by almost a third and quitting dozens of countries. A strategic plan presented in February includes a focus on more profitable heavyweight bikes and, with an eye on the future, electric power. The early signs are encouraging. In April Harley reported better-than-expected profits for the first quarter thanks in part to a revival of demand at home.

 

Even without looming tariffs the European market is probably Mr Zeitzs biggest worry. European deliveries fell by 36% in the first quarter compared with a year ago because of lockdowns, shipping delays and the discontinuation of sales of two older models. The launch of the Pan America, a rival to BMWs legendary GS model, may help to revive sales but piling tariffs onto its $20,000 price tag will deter even dedicated fans of the Harley brand.

 

loom

verb  [V]
1.  [usually +adv. / prep.]  to appear as a large shape that is not clear, especially in a frightening or threatening way
():
 A dark shape loomed up ahead of us.
  
2. to appear important or threatening and likely to happen soon
:
 There was a crisis looming.
  

IDIOMS

loom 'large
to be worrying or frightening and seem hard to avoid
,():
 The prospect of war loomed large.
  , 








\n

Economist | Kick-starting Harley-Davidson



 


Harley-Davidson

Uneasy rider

A German wants to kick-start a motorbiking legend

 


 

May 15th 2021 | words 528

 

 


THE LARGE dealership with the distinctive orange logo in Berlins Huttenstrasse displays a range of Harley-Davidsons from a spectacular custom machine, Der Texaner, to the brand-new LiveWire, an electric bike. Yet the Midwestern motorcycle-makers only shop in the German capital is deserted owing to covid-19 rules mandating a time slot and a negative test result, which deters most bikers.

 

owing to

prep.
because of
:
 The game was cancelled owing to torrential rain.
   


mandate

verb  / mndeit; mndeit /  [often passive]  (formal)

1. (especially NAmE)  to order sb to behave, do sth or vote in a particular way
:
[V that]
 The law mandates that imported goods be identified as such.
  
[also VN to  inf also VN]
2.  [VN to  inf]  to give sb, especially a government or a committee, the authority to do sth
:
 The assembly was mandated to draft a constitution.
   


time slot 

 noun

1. A particular period of time in the day or week allocated to a certain radio or television programme

2. A particular period assigned to a certain purpose, etc


deter

verb (-rr-)
~ sb (from sth / from doing sth)  to make sb decide not to do sth or continue doing sth, especially by making them understand the difficulties and unpleasant results of their actions
:
[VN]
 I told him I wasn't interested, but he wasn't deterred.
  ,
 The high price of the service could deter people from seeking advice.
   




The shop is usually busy at this time of the year, says a sales assistant. But customers will not return, warns Jochen Zeitz, Harley-Davidsons newish German chief executive, if the European Union goes ahead with the imposition of a 56% tariff on all imported Harley products from June 1st, which is part of the EUs retaliation against tariffs on steel and aluminium imposed by the American government. The tariffs will make it impossible for Harley-Davidson to compete with rivals in Europe, says Mr Zeitz, who lodged a legal complaint against the decision as soon as the plan was made public last month.

 

imposition

noun
1. [U]  the act of introducing sth such as a new law or rule, or a new tax
(),():
 the imposition of martial law
  
 the imposition of tax on domestic fuel
  
2. [C]  an unfair or unreasonable thing that sb expects or asks you to do
():
 I'd like to stay if it's not too much of an imposition.
  , 


retaliation

noun  [U]
~ (against sb / sth) (for sth)  action that a person takes against sb who has harmed them in some way

SYN
reprisal :
 retaliation against UN workers
  
 The shooting may have been in retaliation for the arrest of the terrorist suspects.
   


lodge

verb

1. [VN] ~ (sth) (with sb) (against sb / sth)  to make a formal statement about sth to a public organization or authority
()()
SYN
register , submit :
 They lodged a compensation claim against the factory.
  
 Portugal has lodged a complaint with the International Court of Justice.
  

 Idiom

lodge something against something

to place or prop something against something.

 We lodged the chest against the door, making it difficult or impossible to open.

 Let's lodge the stone against the side of the barn to help support it.



Prohibitive tariffs will make Mr Zeitzs challenging job even more difficult. Germany is his firms biggest market outside America. Around 260,000 Harleys roar down the countrys Autobahnen. In spite of the pandemic 11,000 new Hogs were registered in Germany last year.

 

A Harley board member since 2007, Mr Zeitz took over as interim chief executive in February 2020 when Matthew Levatich, his predecessor, quit after five years, having failed to revive the quintessentially American brand. Under Mr Levatich sales in America, where 70% of new Harleys are bought, declined for 12 quarters and the companys shares lost 46% of their value. In May 2020 the bike enthusiast signed on permanently for the firms top job.

 

interim

adj.  [only before noun]
1. intended to last for only a short time until sb / sth more permanent is found
:
 an interim government / measure / report
  /
 The vice-president took power in the interim period before the election.
   


quintessence

noun  [sing.] the ~ of sth  (formal)
1. the perfect example of sth
:
 It was the quintessence of an English manor house.
  
2. the most important features of sth

SYN
essence :
 a painting that captures the quintessence of Viennese elegance
  
quintessential  / kwintisenl / adj.:
 He was the quintessential tough guy.
  
quintessentially  / -li / adv.





This is not Mr Zeitzs first rescue mission. As chief executive of Puma, he transformed the maker of sports kit from an ailing parochial business in Franconia into a hipster brand. Yet fixing Puma may seem easy compared with a company that is battling declining motorcycle ridership, ageing customers and stiff competition from the likes of Triumph, Polaris and Ducati.

 

parochial

adj.
1. [usually before noun] (formal)  connected with a church
parish
:
 parochial schools
  
 a member of the parochial church council
  
2. (disapproving)  only concerned with small issues that happen in your local area and not interested in more important things

parochialism  / -izm / noun [U] :
 the parochialism of a small community
   


hipster

noun

apersonwhofollowswhatisfashionableinclothes,music,etc.



Mr Zeitz has cut costs and slashed 700 jobs as well as cutting the number of models by almost a third and quitting dozens of countries. A strategic plan presented in February includes a focus on more profitable heavyweight bikes and, with an eye on the future, electric power. The early signs are encouraging. In April Harley reported better-than-expected profits for the first quarter thanks in part to a revival of demand at home.

 

Even without looming tariffs the European market is probably Mr Zeitzs biggest worry. European deliveries fell by 36% in the first quarter compared with a year ago because of lockdowns, shipping delays and the discontinuation of sales of two older models. The launch of the Pan America, a rival to BMWs legendary GS model, may help to revive sales but piling tariffs onto its $20,000 price tag will deter even dedicated fans of the Harley brand.

 

loom

verb  [V]
1.  [usually +adv. / prep.]  to appear as a large shape that is not clear, especially in a frightening or threatening way
():
 A dark shape loomed up ahead of us.
  
2. to appear important or threatening and likely to happen soon
:
 There was a crisis looming.
  

IDIOMS

loom 'large
to be worrying or frightening and seem hard to avoid
,():
 The prospect of war loomed large.
  , 








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