According to a Harley-Davidson (Harley) press release, the launch of its H-D-1™ Marketplace is a success.  Since its launch, Harley says that the website is now the “go-to” online Harley-Davidson marketplace for dealer US-based bikes.

H-D1 Marketplace

Currently, the site has about 22,000 pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycle listings.  Of those, approximately 1,000 carry H-D Certified™ status.

The H-D1 Marketplace is currently focused on the USA.  It showcases a large selection of pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles from the participating U.S. dealer network.  The bikes are available for browsing by potential customers.

Backing up the browsing function is Harley-Davidson Financial Services.  Using the Marketplace, buyers can apply for credit and obtain financing for their chosen ride.

Sell your Harley to a dealer

There is also a “Sell My Bike” where Harley owners can sell their motorcycles directly into the Harley-Davidson® dealer network.  The customer can expect to receive a response “…within a few days.”

Harley Davidson

Under current CEO Jochen Zeitz’s leadership, customer experience is a key element of the Hardwire Strategic Plan.  Its goal is to seamlessly engage with customers, to create a meaningful, unique, and personalized experience with Harley-Davidson.

H-D1 Certified™ Program

If you wonder what the Harley-Davidson Certified™ program is, it’s similar to other “certified” automobile programs.  Harley’s plan is claimed to take the worry out of purchasing a pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycle. All motorcycles having Harley-Davidson Certified™ pre-owned status receive a 110-point quality assurance inspection by certified Harley-Davidson technicians.

Dealers will also verify that the pre-owned motorcycle has no open recalls or a blocked VIN, has not been in a major accident, and all scheduled service is up to date.

Harley-Davidson Certified™ details.

To qualify for this program, certified Harley-Davidson® motorcycles must be no more than five model years old, have less than 25,000 miles of use, and not contain aftermarket modifications to the engine or transmission, or major chassis or electrical modifications.

If the bike is sold by a Harley dealer under the Harley-Davidson Certified™ program, it is sold with a 12-month limited warranty on the engine and transmission after a $50 deductible per claim.

Each Harley-Davidson Certified motorcycle sale also includes a complimentary one-year membership in H.O.G.® (Harley Owners Group) with member benefits like roadside assistance.

Most desirable motorcycles in the world?

Zeitz’s goal is to make Harley-Davison “…the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.”  He’s working on doing this by cutting the production of new motorcycles to drive the price of “pre-owned” bikes.  By implementing the H-D1 Marketplace, he is putting Harley right in the middle of both markets, and that’s a smart move.

In the press release, Zeitz is quoted as saying”

 “With H-D1™ Marketplace, it was our intention to change the face of the online marketplace for pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles, aligned to our Hardwire priorities. We have seen the power of the H-D Certified™ program, driving desirability, enhancing the overall customer experience and providing an extra level of confidence for our customers in their purchase. We wanted to ensure that our riders have access to the largest selection of the best Harley-Davidson motorcycles, backed by the strength of our dealers – today, we have achieved that initial goal. H-D1™ Marketplace will continue to evolve and it’s our ambition that it becomes the ultimate online home for pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles.”

So it’s clear that Zeitz is taking a more encompassing approach to motorcycle sales than his predecessor, Matt Levatich.  He’s attempting to gobble up all aspects of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle market.

Success?

And I have to say that he seems to be quite successful so far.  Since the spring of 2020, Zeitz’s ideas have driven up motorcycle sales and stock prices.  From a low of high teens during that timeframe, Harley’s stock now stands around $40 or more than a 120% increase in a little over a year.

Zeitz seems to know that we all want what we can’t have.  So when he cut motorcycle production and bought into the used market, he’s taken control of the levers that drive product “value.”

Jochen Zeitz H-D1

Harley-Davidson CEO, Jochen Zeitz.

When products become more difficult to obtain, the price often rises with the limited availability. So in the case of Zeitz’s Harley-Davidson, he’s made the new machines into pricey aspirational toys which he can sell to those who can afford them and are willing to spend the money.

For those who can’t afford a new Harley bike, Zeitz has made an additional marketplace for those riders.  They can purchase a Harley-Davidson used bike and “aspire” to a new one later.

H-D1 Marketplace key to the Hardwire plan?

And that’s the beauty of Zeitz’s Hardwire plan and the new H-D1 Marketplace.  He’s capturing both marketplaces and raising the price of entry while doing it.  That’s a great recipe for increasing profitability (at least in the short term).

But there’s still one thing about Zeitz’s plan that I am uneasy about.  It does seem that, at least for Harley, their core buyers are older and have more money.  But how does he grow Harley over time?

If their buyers are aging out of riding, who/what will constitute the next generation of Harley riders?  Zeitz has already rebranded its electric motorcycle (the LiveWire brand) lineup to be clear of Harley-Davidson.  And that could be a smart move considering the difference between respective potential clientele.

Pan America

Is the Harley-Davidson Pan America is breaking Harley’s cruiser-only mold?

Slow course correction?

If LiveWire succeeds, that’s good news for the Harley-Davidson parent company, but how is that good for the Harley-Davidson brand?  Perhaps Zeitz is looking to make a very slow course correction in the long term.  The MoCo just added the Pan America adventure bike, and it seems to be a hit while being out of Harley’s perceived cruiser lane.

In the future, perhaps Zeitz plans to slowly change the brand’s content to wrangle in some new riders that would not have looked at the brand before.

So what do you think?  Is Zeitz’s H-D1 Marketplace plan a good one?  Let us know in the comments below.

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