You guys think Harley Davidson will last?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by tessalino, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever It turns out you can't delete your account...

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    I believe they're making a worse one. Before this thread turned into a dumpster fire, I cast my vote on the side of a likely bright future for Harley. I would have made that bet based on the "More Roads" strategy they formally announced in 2018. That strategy was fundamentally about diversification. Smaller bikes, new segments, new overseas markets. It was an attempt to leverage their very valuable brand while they still could. And while I get that it might have proven too late, I had some sympathy for trying to teach a heritage brand new tricks. There's no good time for that kind of transformation, but I thought it was the right answer.

    The strategy of the new CEO, who was placed there by Impala, is called "Rewire." These are the key points in their words, along with my less-than-two-cents about what they mean:
    • Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces (I read this to mean a return to focusing on core products and consumers, and most industry folks seem to agree that is their intention)
    • Prioritize the markets that matter (I read this to mean they're going to slow down international expansion)
    • Reset product launches and product line up for simplicity and maximum impact (I read this to mean that while the Pan-America and Bronx horses may have bolted the barn, they're going to put the brakes on everything else)
    • Build the Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to full potential (I read this as a concession to the dealers. In any case, it's a pretty concerning facet of the 'return to core' focus)
    • Adjust and align the organizational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success (The key words here in corporate speak are 'drive efficiency'. This means job losses and plant closures, made more possible by canceling new products)
    The point is, they were going to change, and now they're kinda not. This is classic hedge fund behavior, anti-growth, and generally results in the hollowed out carcass of a business being wound up or sold for scrap. So if I had a do-over on the OP's original question, my vote would now be "yeah, probably long enough for you to enjoy your new bike, as long as it's a traditional Harley. But don't bet your kid's education fund on the stock." Or something like that. I think it's really quite sad and hope I'm wrong. I don't get Harleys, personally, but they seem to make a lot of people happy. It would be a great loss.
  2. mr72

    mr72 Been here awhile

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    THIS IS NOT WHAT THIS THREAD IS ABOUT!!

    Again, whether "Harley will survive" has absolutely nothing to do with any individual's tastes in motorcycles. It is all about Harley the company and how they manage their product line, what they do to control costs, how they maintain manufacturing capacity vs. demand, and lots of other stuff that basically has nothing to do with motorcycles at all.

    The moves that they appear to be making in their "Rewire" effort seem to be, on the surface, sort of in the right direction. They seem to be acknowledging that there is a permanent reduction in demand for their traditional product, so they must make a permanent reduction in manufacturing and cost. This would ordinarily result in a permanent reduction in revenue and therefore a rebellion of the board and shareholders except that between the lines they point out their plan to expand on the PG&A which may almost literally turn Harley into an apparel and accessories company with a side business selling motorcycles. Since American graybeard buyers will wear a leather vest whether it's made in Vietnam or in Wisconsin, but they won't buy a Harley that's not made by American union members, this is an excellent business move.

    I still doubt it will work, because in my opinion it's too little too late. Well, it may save them from complete death but it won't save them from crippling decline. Again, my opinion. But even though I haven't ridden a Harley, I am not uninformed about business of making products.
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  3. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I actually like them, but they don't have a model that fits my needs right now.

    The Livewire would have been a perfect money saving commuter for me, as my company would let me charge it every day for free. I rode one of the prototypes and loved it. The price made it not feasible for me.

    The Bronx looks like a great sport naked for those in the market for something like a Yamaha FZ1.

    The Pan America appeals to me, even though I am thinking about moving from 400+ lb adv bike to a 300 lbs dual sport. I could see myself buying one as I get older, and building a sidecar rig out of it. Again, though, I can't justify spending a significant amount of my nest egg on a toy. I'd need to wait and get one used for $10K or less.

    I rode my friend's Street Glide, and thought it was like a 1960s Cadillac coupe. Smooth, big, and classy. There's no way I could slide the back wheel around in my garage to go back down the hill though. :lol3
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  4. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    Sure ya can just turn off the TC and have at it.
  5. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    Once again, such commentary destroys any credibility of the opinions presented, making it appear to be nothing more than circular reasoning to support a bias.
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  6. ZoomerP

    ZoomerP Been here awhile Supporter

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    Seems like a plan Kodak would've issued around 2000, doesn't it?

    Smaller, affordable electric bikes (not the bloated LiveWire) are a disruptive tech that HD should be furiously forging ahead on, while keeping their ICE cruiser customers happy with incremental improvements to their old products. Instead, HD is further marginalizing itself, somehow thinking they'll attain Leica status in the motorcycle world. Lots of profit in an Alta Redshift sort of bike in the volume they'd sell, and HD could stand out from the competition of little fish just starting production.

    Instead, it's this defensive, stay-the-course plan shortly after the opposite was put in place. In my opinion, HD is squandering the limited time and resources it has left for a turnaround.
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  7. oldgrizz

    oldgrizz Long timer Supporter

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    Folks bash the Harley Ultra Glide and Street Glide as being heavy and having very poor handling.
    However I don't see anyone throwing rocks at the Yamaha Venture or the big Kawasaki that is trying to copy the looks of the Harley.
    I have seen riders on both the Kawi and Yamaha dressed just like the Harley riders.
    Leather vest...Chaps and where legal..no helmet.
    However just like the Harley riders there are riders that putb a lot of miles on those bikes.
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  8. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    Neither of them is betting their future on it.
  9. BobcatSig

    BobcatSig They call me... Huckajawea

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    Further, those companies have wisely diversified a long time ago.
  10. TxRoadDog

    TxRoadDog Shut up and ride

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    Nope. I was optimistic but this last year and the delay in the non-cruiser models has me exceptionally disappointed. The used bike market is booming, and non-harley are finally catching up in market share. Our BRCu courses stay packed/booked MONTHS out, even our weekday classes, so motorcycling in the US isn't going anywhere. My 14 FLHX is the last newer harley I'll buy. I'll keep my 97 XLH around because I built it. Rapidly looking to get onto another adv bike.
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  11. CrapKerouac

    CrapKerouac Long timer

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  12. Khantahr

    Khantahr Been here awhile

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    Comparing the companies HD and Kawasaki is pretty silly. Kawasaki had a revenue of $1.3 TRILLION and their motorcycles probably barely even register in that number. They're not a motorcycle company, they're a huge industrial powerhouse that happens to make a few motorcycles.
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  13. ZoomerP

    ZoomerP Been here awhile Supporter

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    That kind of diversity applies to many of HD's competitors.

    Of the few companies that only mass produce motorcycles, how many are so closely tied to such a limited line-up? I'm genuinely curious, because I don't think there are many standalone companies that mirror HD's business practices. Most are part of a much larger organisation, and even the ones that are clearly focused on motorcycles have more diversity in their offerings.
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  14. oldgrizz

    oldgrizz Long timer Supporter

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    You missed the point I was trying to make.
    My point is that folks bash the Ultra Glide for being heavy, low ground clearance etc.
    The bikes I mentioned from Kawasaki and Yamaha are trying to copy the Ultra Glide and no one seems to bash them.
    I have also seen a riders on those bikes doing their best Harley rider immitation complete with loud pipes.
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  15. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    The computers at work have started saying Harley-Davidson will cease in 24 days. Do they know something?
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  16. sluagh

    sluagh not fade away

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    Just nitpicking here but that 1.3 trillion is in yen. So about $12B USD.
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  17. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    I think it's you who is missing the point. Those bikes are bad whether made by Harley or Yamaha, but their badness will not sink Yamaha or Kawasaki, but it may sink Harley, and that would be a pity. It's not bashing, it's the concern for the iconic American brand.
  18. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    I think only Triumph, KTM, and Zero are motorcycle-only, and yes, they all have fairly diverse lineups.
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  19. Khantahr

    Khantahr Been here awhile

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    Whoops! Good catch.
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  20. ZoomerP

    ZoomerP Been here awhile Supporter

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    I really hoped that whatever was going on between HD and Alta was going to be good for both companies. It seemed like just the right move for both at that point in their respective histories. Clearly, that wasn't the case.
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