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You guys think Harley Davidson will last?

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

  1. Eldofornia

    Eldofornia Been here awhile

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    The thing with BMWs I've found is, you never seem to see one on offer a the lowest MSRP. It's supposed to be just under $18k...
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  2. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    BMW's site has it listed "From $20,345" minus dealer fees for the standard GS1250A and From $21,895 for the anniversary bike.
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  3. Eldofornia

    Eldofornia Been here awhile

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    Indeed you are right. Well, I just checked inventory at one local dealer and the ones they have in stock are 24 and change.

    All of which is to say that if Harley can bring the Pan America in under $20k, and actually have some for sale under 20k, they will indeed be competitive.
  4. Eldofornia

    Eldofornia Been here awhile

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    One thing I've liked about Harley (and maybe this isn't realistic in the adventure category) is that what you see on the site is what you get. There are few options, and they aren't usually deal-breaker expensive. You go to the dealer and voila, bikes for the very same price you saw on the website. Then of course you might offer less...
  5. GoAWOL

    GoAWOL Adventurer

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    Just ran into 4 of them outside of Woodland Park, Colorado. They all had Wisconsin plates, Harley gear on and eventually headed South on I25. Looked like capable bikes, chain driven, kinda sexy.
  6. BADDAD

    BADDAD " Bitter Clinger "

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    THE DEATH OF HARLEY DAVIDSON IS INEVITABLE....

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  7. AZbiker

    AZbiker Crunkin' with crackers

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    EVERYTHING DIES.

    I WILL DIE, YOU WILL DIE.

    COMPANIES ARE NOT IMMUNE TO THIS.

    IN UNRELATED NEWS, WATER IS WET.
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  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    This whole idea that Harley's demographic is dying off and heavy cruisers just aren't selling sounds good but......Indian just had their best sales quarter ever. I can't say I understand why but that's whats happening. I would think that the demographic for Indian and Harley is mostly the same.

    Meanwhile, Harley sales are down again. While I think Harley could turn things around I doubt that hiring a shoe salesman as CEO is the way to do it. I think that their "new" strategy of just doing the same thing is just going to lead to more decline in sales. If their goal is to become smaller, much smaller, and stabilize there, then this strategy might work. Meanwhile I see Indian, fueled by the success of the FTR, maybe branching out with bikes like an adventure bike and continuing to take market share from Harley.
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  9. Eldofornia

    Eldofornia Been here awhile

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    Interesting video, but there are some problems with his argument:

    Harley fought tooth and nail for decades against the "bad biker" image. They wanted nothing to do with it, and consciously projected a "wholesome" image. After all, the majority of the bikers arrested at Hollister were on Triumphs, as was Marlon Brando in that pic he showed in the video. It was a losing battle in the end, since Harley's customers decided they liked the image.

    The Reagan tariffs were a five-year program, and the maximum tariff was in effect for just one year. What bailed Harley out in the 80s was the Evo engine and those "OK" Boomers. Truly, as our fellow poster BetterLateThanNever said, they were trapped by that success.

    Because it's not like Harley didn't try to serve other markets all along, it's just that they did a rather crummy job of it. Two-stroke Hummers begat re-badged Italian two-strokes. In the middle was the incredibly long wait for the first Sportster, which allowed a generation of performance-minded riders to discover the British twins.

    And Honda didn't win just with their cute marketing and step-through putt putts. Soichiro Honda was willing to take risks, and he was incredibly ambitious. He allowed his bikes and men to be ridiculed on the European racing scene for several years, showing up with knockoff twins that lost, or broke. But Honda waited, and learned. The laughter stopped in 1965, when on the track came the RC166. That was just the beginning, of course. While Harley's racing ambitions became more provincial, Honda's became global.

    Honda also benefitted mightily from the growing reputation of "Japan Inc" for making reliable vehicles that respected your wallet.

    Of course, Harley did the awesome XR-750, but that effort was eventually pigeonholed into dirt racing. Harley did the Nova project with Porsche, but the company's near-death in the early 80s, and buyout of AMF, forced a decision. Yes, they became trapped by their success, but look at that success. They have dominated the market for big bikes ever since, and not because of tariffs, as the video implies.

    Still, I have to say as a child of the 70s, I loved Harley Davidson but I revered Honda. Honda had the biggest swinging balls in the industry. From funny little pressed steel put putts to global domination in less than a generation. Honda couldn't be trapped by their success because it was as boundless as Soichiro Honda's ambitions. Harley, well, their incredible success did indeed trap them, and they didn't have a Soichiro Honda to set them right when the going was good. Sorry for the long post.
  10. Eldofornia

    Eldofornia Been here awhile

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    "This whole idea that Harley's demographic is dying off and heavy cruisers just aren't selling sounds good but......Indian just had their best sales quarter ever. I can't say I understand why but that's whats happening. I would think that the demographic for Indian and Harley is mostly the same."

    That could be the answer, tho: Every Indian sold is a Harley not sold. OK, that's perhaps too literal -- but they are indeed going after the exact same customer.
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  11. MotoChris521

    MotoChris521 motominded

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    Harley Davidson global sales (2018) 6 billion USD

    Honda global sales (2018) 147 billion USD
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  12. Traxx

    Traxx Long timer Supporter

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    Is that motorcycles alone or motorcycles, atvs, cars, generators etc?
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  13. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    yeah, he has another video where he tries to say the engines are lighter now because of better casing techniques. I guess he has never heard of FEA, or...
    more likely, he is just a parrot repeating things that he has heard elsewhere instead of being an expert on the topic. Like "Harley's demise is due to a 60's ad campaign where Honda said they are the nicest people"

    When I hear this I always imagine a group of Hell Angels outside a Honda dealer and see the billboard outside saying only nice people are on Hondas. The one of them yells out "Hey guys, I guess we better go to the Harley Dealer, this doesn't seem like our kind of bike"
    It is just dumb. I have said it before; it is like saying Americans are fat because of the Wendy's "Where is the Beef" commercials.
  14. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    Harley still sells more bikes than everyone else in No. America. It's just Harley is coming down from a high twenty years ago. While Indian is going up from ZERO ten years ago.
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  15. staedtler

    staedtler Adventure Raider

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    just an fyi about the F9 guy

    that dude is just the front face to a company equivalent to revzilla in Canada....it's not a guy on its own creating his own content
    out of his grandma's basement

    https://fortnine.ca/en/
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  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    This is true. Indian isn't going to catch Harley anytime soon. But that doesn't explain why Indian just had their best quarter ever and Harley sales continue to decline. The theory that Harley's demographic is dying out would make it tough for Indian as well. What is Indian doing that Harley isn't?

    Just my personal opinion on these two brands. Keep in mind I'm not likely to buy either. I had a chance to demo ride some Indian Scouts and was very impressed. I also really like the FTR. On the other hand I am not impressed by the bigger Indians. They just seem Ginormous to me. The Harley touring bikes on the other hand seem much better to me.

    When I have read comparisons between the Harley and Indian touring bikes I don't remember either bike clearly being better.

    If younger people don't start buying big cruiser/touring bikes as they get older then both Harley and Indian will have a tough time. I see Indian as being more likely to change with the times if needed, at least with the management both companies have now.
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  17. Traxx

    Traxx Long timer Supporter

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    Thing is that there is a fresh crop of 40somethings every year. The young get old, time marches on.
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  18. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    you would think he would be better informed with that being the case.
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  19. BetterLateThanNever

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

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    When you say something often enough for long enough, it starts to look like the truth. But folks need to remember that there isn’t a single shred of data publicly available anywhere that tells us what Harley’s demographics actually are or aren't. People say they're dying off, nobody questions it, it becomes a fact. But we don't know.

    An interesting thing: Harley internally tracks another metric alongside sales, which they call "Ridership,' which appears to be the number of people who own a Harley, regardless of when it was bought. In 2019, that number was 3.1 million, it had been growing steadily for some time, and Zeitz himself expected it to continue to do so, hitting 4 million by 2027. Additionally, although much is made of its sales decline, and despite the pressure from Indian, Harley's sales declined less than the industry's overall, even this year (if you take out dirt bikes). In the corporate world, that's regarded as a sign of potential, if not health. Especially when you consider the prices of the bikes it sells, and what we might assume are the margins.

    The point is, I'm still concerned that Harley will suffer over time for not developing itself and for focusing on short term profits. But to use blunt numbers and a promotional video from a clothing retailer to argue that it's on the ropes is probably premature. Impala is greedy, but they aren't stupid. This is still a good business, for now. Harley still sells more bikes than BMW, and if they stay in that price band, you can see how a corporate wonk might think standing pat makes sense.
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  20. Eldofornia

    Eldofornia Been here awhile

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    A very good point. The oldest of the huge "Millennial" generation are just about there.

    "People say they're dying off, nobody questions it, it becomes a fact. But we don't know."

    Another, and related, excellent point. People in my general age group will be buying motorcycles for the next 15 years or so. We're not spring chickens but this is why so many of us are off sportbikes and enjoying the big, fat freeway kings these days. Of course, companies that don't make mobility devices or Clappers or mutual funds shouldn't be laser focused on us but there's nothing wrong with keeping some freeway munching bikes in the stable. My local Harley dealers are having a problem right now: they don't have enough inventory.

    Could Indian have had a better spring/summer because they had lots of unsold stock relative to other brands? I don't know and can't know because Polaris doesn't break things out as such. But Indian sales peaked in 2017 then declined for the next two years. They could simply have had more product on the floor than Harley or BMW did (Harley having cut production and BMW having enjoyed sales growth).