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-   -   Harley slowing down? (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/harley-davidson-news/1018-harley-slowing-down.html)

ironmike 01-22-2002 10:57 AM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
I think the economy is certainly a factor, and the "shopping for a bike" segment of the riding public is increasingly better informed; thus, more deliberation and discretion is evident in the "decision to buy" process. An educated market raises the bar for all manufacturers. I see evidence of a slowdown in HD dealers' showrooms - unsold 2002 models (and the occasional 2001 remnant) gathering dust and fingerprints fairly consistently. It's becoming a common sight to see any number of Big-Twin models (not just Sportsters) languishing on the floor. Another indicator is the "used/formerly owned" motorcycle market; prices are dropping, and trade-in offers (what the dealer will give for your old bike) are almost insulting. Ask a lending institution about loan terms for a new (or used) bike - that can be a rude awakening. Admittedly this is not a favorable phase of the economic cycle, but I think other factors may be significant - and may still be considerations when the economy improves.

john 01-22-2002 11:16 AM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
I agree with you, Heronboy, Harley simply does not offer a diverse selection of motorcycles. They have 3 basic abilities: the cruiser, being the Sporster, the Dyna, the Softail, the VRSCA, and their variants; then there is the tourer, being the Electraglides, Road Kings, and the few variants there; then you have the sporty Buell models, who are cursed by trying to compete with sportbikes while using a cruiser motor.



Sure each bike they have may differ, but their functions remain the same.





I am sure there are going to be some people who think "harley only makes cruisers, crotch rockets are for japanese companies." But, if some of these folks would do a little research into harley's past, in other words further back then 10 years ago when they learned harley cruisers were the "in" thing to be on, Harley made sportbikes. Into the Early 30's, the harley/indian rivalry was the Honda/Yamaha rivalry of today.



I think it would be good for harley to back to its roots, from 70 years ago when they were a company proud of their engineering prowess. They used to push the envelope. Motorcycling still needs the pushing of the envelope today, and i think that japanese progression has stagnated enough that harley could jump into a new market dominated by the japanese and do well through original thought and design. Make a true sportbike under the Harley name that is cutting edge, competitive in the top racing series, and make it for sale at a competitive price (right now competitive would be around 17 grand, being competitive with Ducati, which is similar to harley in its "mystique" and reasons for people to buy it)



I think this would expose harley to a much larger consumer group, and beside that i think it would invigorate their entire line of motorcycles. This way harley could have something to offer to the guy in marketing with the Futura, or the chick with the FZ-1.



And what about Buell? Buell seems to have put enough of his philosophy into streetbikes, so let it stay that way. let the Buell line use variations of a Harley sportbike motor to power badass, ballsy STREETBIKES. Think Firebolt on roids, and sport tourers like the ST, but with 130 rwhp and 90 lb ft in a bike the size of the Ducati ST4s. This way the strong racing recognition would be to Harley, not Buell, and would truly be going back to the Harley motor Co. of old.

LonGene_Leonard 01-22-2002 11:53 AM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
I live in Greensboro North Carolina. If you check the classified in our local paper, you will find 50 to 60 Harleys for sale and maybe 10 to 20 bikes of Japanese, Brit, and Italian origin. The sale of the Yuppee fashion accessary "Read Harley" has slowed. Most of the Harleys for sale in my area range between 17k to 25k. The average miles on each machine is between 800 to 1500 miles..... I just ordered a Yoshimura RS-3 race system and EMS engine manager for my 2000 GSXR750. I will not be selling any time soon. Why would anyone pay that much money for a bike then turn around and sell it. With all the used Harleys on the market, The "Company" may have a difficult time moving units. Good Luck Yuppee Harley.

obiwanrazzy 01-22-2002 12:13 PM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
I dunno which is the cause, but it might be a good thing for Harley fans. Maybe a lower demand will help bring prices back down nearer to MSRP. This wouldn't hurt HD, just the dealers that inflate prices... At any rate, they will always have somewhat of a market to those that will buy just because it is an HD, or American, or both (regardless of actual quality).

wwalkersd 01-22-2002 12:32 PM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
For a good-sized, nearly 100-year-old company, boosting your earnings 26%, as HD recently announced, is a tough act to follow. They're probably just guiding the analysts to not expect the same kind of growth next year. Of course, I haven't heard the conference call, so what do I know?

Dryfly 01-22-2002 01:25 PM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
I just purchased a Harley and I can say personally it will probably be my last. Who really wants to sit on a list for 2 or 3 years just to be rewarded by paying retail or about $1,500 over retail for a motorcycle. Yes, you can probably find one on the floor at a local dealer. Guess what, just for finding the bike you want, you win the prize. You get a full lubrication and in addition a good butt ramming for paying upwards of $3,000 to $6,000 over retail.



It's my personal opinion that there are bikes too numerous to mention which are as good and most better, that are available without the wait and the price ram job. Is Harley slowing down? It is in my household!!

speedytriple 01-22-2002 01:28 PM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
$20k discretionary purchases are the first victims of a slowing economy. They're also the first thing to get sold for hard cash in times of household belt-tightening. This means reduced demand, as well as a glut of used bikes in Cycle Trader. H-D's increased production capacity doesn't help, either.



I don't think the explosion of new brands and models is to blame. Last summer at WSB in Monterey, I noticed there were very few bikes with "character", because most of the bikes were late-model. Everyone who wanted a new bike bought one in the latest economic boom.



Most motorcycle manufacturers have kept supply in synch with demand and economic conditions, or are a small piece of widely diversified corporations. H-D has built capacity to meet unsustainable levels of demand. Their only two products are motorcycles and licensing their brand name...and the latter is very difficult to market without the first.



Tough sledding ahead for The Motor Company.


Poser 01-22-2002 02:33 PM

Re: Buell
 
I am with you, Gabe. A nimble Harley/ Buell that is an SV650 slayer would get me into a dealership.

mac62 01-22-2002 03:14 PM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
Harley is reaping what they have sown. Since the bail out they have treated the buying public as though they were doing them some kind of favor to sell them a bike for 20% over MSRP. Well, screw them. This whole Harley thing was bound to collapse when the "rugged individualists" figured out that 400,000 others had the same bike. It's been 20 years since guys named "Spider" and "Hombre" have been able to afford one of these overpriced motorcycles, and they are the ones who created the mystique. Frankly, if the middle-aged investment bankers and lawyers stop buying, maybe Harley will be forced to make and sell bikes for all of America instead of the fiscal elite. Personally, I wouldn't give them the steam off my ***** no matter what the V-Rod looks like.

runner00 01-22-2002 05:41 PM

Re: Harley slowing down?
 
I think Harley will show a slow down because of a couple of factors. One is that they

do not really have a low displacement cruiser to compete with the Jap cruisers.

The sportster is a bit of an enigma in that it is not really a cruiser so there is a little

bit of a hole in Harley's market. Also when those small displacement buyers want to

move up they may stay with a previously good experience and never consider Harley in

their future choices. Second is that when people have to pay over retail I think it really

bothers them so much that it will turn them off to the brand all together. All that being

said it's something I think is corrected simply by introducing a new frame for the

sportster motor or even an entirely new bike. As far as the paying over retail thing goes

I am allready seeing Harley's advertised for retail which is probably a result of the slowing

of the economy. One last thing. I currently have a cyclone which I am very happy with and

find the maintenance very simple to perform. 9000 miles only one problem occurred.

Oh by the way has anyone heard any rumors about Harley replacing or implementing

major changes to the sportster line ????


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