Harley-Davidson is moving forward with its plans for certified use bike sales, announcing the H-D1 Marketplace program for US customers.
Months back, Harley-Davidson announced its Hardwire plan for the company’s future. In that mix, we saw CEO Jochen Zeitz say Harley-Davidson planned to start pursuing used bike sales. Now, we see the result of that plan: Instead of a haphazard dealer-by-dealer program, Harley-Davidson wants to build a centralized program. The new H-D1 Marketplace plan sees riders able to sell their used bikes to Harley-Davidson directly, or buy certified used Harley-Davidsons, using the company’s Financial Services lending program.
The press release’s details are a tad fuzzy, but the presser implies customers will actually be able search a centralized website to view available machines, instead of beating feet to their local dealer:
Launching first in USA, H-D1 Marketplace will start with the entire selection of pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles from our participating dealer network, that will be available for our customers to browse and customize online. Powered by H-D Financial Services, customers will have access to innovative, industry-leading financing solutions, to make purchasing even easier. Through the ‘Sell My Bike’ feature, customers will also be able to sell their motorcycles directly into the Harley-Davidson dealer network.
A quick visit to the new H-D1 Marketplace website seems to back that idea up. This page already shows a wide list of bikes, searchable by your zip code, similar to online sales services like Kijiji, Craigslist and autoTRADER.
Also note that Harley-Davidson plans to offer financing for the used bikes through its H-D Financial Services division. That’s even more profit added, off loan interest. Clever indeed!
When I first saw this plan, I said:
One of Harley-Davidson’s biggest issues the past few years has been its lack of lower-priced models, and I think Harley-Davidson has come up with a clever workaround. Zeitz announced the company plans to start focusing on a re-selling program for used motorcycles. This allows Harley-Davidson dealers to offer budget-friendly bikes to new riders, and there’s a big supply of those machines on the market. This will bring the profit on those used bikes into the company’s coffers (especially if bought through Harley’s own finance division!), keep dealership mechanics and staff busy, and avoid having to develop new models. It’s a very smart move.
I still stand by that statement. This is a clever way for Harley-Davidson to put more money in its corporate pockets, and attract customers with lighter wallets.
However, I shall be very interested to see how it all plays out. How will sales staff feel about it—will they start losing commission on used bike sales? What about riders—will they actually want to sell their bikes to the MoCo, or will they keep the bikes to make more money off resale?
Hard to say. However, at least Harley-Davidson is trying to take control of its financial destiny. Moves like this are important to keeping the Motor Company in business.