Harley-Davidson will move employees to historic Milwaukee headquarters

LiveWire electric motorcycles will move its laboratory from California to Juneau Avenue site

Keith Srakocic/AP Photo

Harley-Davidson will move all operations of its electric motorcycle firm LiveWire to its historic headquarters in Milwaukee, a building that’s largely been vacant since the pandemic. 

Staff from the company’s product development center in Wauwatosa and LiveWire’s Mountain View, California laboratory will move to the Juneau Avenue site. 

“We expect the consolidation of our operations in Milwaukee at Harley-Davidson’s historic headquarters at Juneau Avenue to bring synergies and efficiencies, as well as a closer connection to our heritage,” LiveWire CEO Karim Donnez said in a company statement

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On a recent earnings call, Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz said relocating the California lab would reduce costs. LiveWire’s revenue fell 39 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago, despite selling more bikes this year. 

 “We’re anticipating being able to remove about 10 percent of the headcount and 15 percent of the cost related to employees,” Zeitz said. 

The company had about 230 employees in the United States as of the end of last year, according to an SEC filing

Donnez said the reduction in costs will reduce operating losses by $10 million this year. LiveWire sold 117 bikes in the first quarter of 2024, up from 63 in the same period of 2023. Still, operating losses were $29 million. 

The company still expects to sell 1,000 to 1,500 motorcycles this year. It projects annual losses will be $105 million to $115 million. Previous estimates were between $115 million and $125 million. 

Most of the historic headquarters have been vacant since the pandemic shifted workplace practices for white-collar staff. In late June, the company will open a new outdoor amphitheater across Juneau Avenue on the site of a former parking lot for employees. 

“The project, which has been pioneered by the Harley-Davidson Foundation, will look to further connect the company, our brand and our employees to the local community, reinforcing our commitment to our hometown Milwaukee,” Zeitz said on the investor call. “We could not be more excited to show you our neighborhood on the Near West Side.”