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Old 10-12-2001, 09:09 AM   #21
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Default Re: Their share price performance is unmatched in the biz

Harley is a great marketing company however, in my opinion (and my opinion only), their comeback was not exactly heroic. Removing almost all competition for a few years whilst the co get's their act together then stumbling on the retromania of the boomers who inherited the greatest amount of cash of any generation and (typically) grew up during the most afluent years (in general) of any generation is not exactly herioc.

An awesome marketing company they are. Excellent product - absolutely - remember the success of a product is what the average CUSTOMER wants.

A recipient of an amazing bail out without which they would not be around thanks to the US government - absolutely.

HOWEVER, they appear to have learned from their mistakes and are building a company on products that will sell.

Even though I don't like Harleys, maybe the less successful manufactures should take a lesson from 'the motor co'.

Just my completely biased opinion as an owner of a Suzuki, Honda, Mazda... and GMC pickmeup truck.
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Old 10-12-2001, 09:11 AM   #22
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson earnings still rising

People buy Harley-Davidson Motorcycles for the following reasons:

1. They are very aesthetically pleasing.

2. They represent 'big American iron' which is important to a lot of people.

3. They sound like a M/C should and the sound is unique.

4. Very easy (albeit expensive) to personalize.

5. They last forever.

Having said that, my personal everyday ride is a Honda ST1100. It fits my personal riding style and is reliable and economical. However, when I want to smile through the miles, I take my '41 H-D ULH for a spin. RUBs need not wave.

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Old 10-12-2001, 09:30 AM   #23
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Default Re: Their share price performance is unmatched in the biz

I question that logic - Indian has been out for many years but (finally) made a comback (although they're just a rebranded HD). If the government did not step in, someone else may have, and it's unfair to brush such broad strokes. Much of the turmoil at that time had to deal with being nice vs. a 'bad-ass biker,' which was the typical moniker given to HD owners. HD owners were (are) loyal for many years, even through the bad times.

You also do not know what type of monies were given to other companies, like Japanese companies from their governments because it's not (this is a great country, indeed). Also, the HD you drive is manufactured by a union specialist that lives in these United States that has a higher cost of living. They're not living stuffed in a box with 6 other people, i.e., they (overseas workers) live with less means and less amenities. Think about that for a minute and then ask if the playing field was fair. HD could have gone over seas to manufacture, but they didn't. Looking at the economic make-up of the situation, all things were not fair.

I'm interested in seeing how the Japanese respond to the 'opening' China market; where there are few copyright / licensing laws and names like Suzuki can be changed to Suzuka and there is no penalty to pay while sales of the knock-off eat into your higher quality machine sales. Not a pretty picture. I hope the Chinese can place more fair rules in place.

I do deem what HD did as heroic. Like many companies, they could have just folded. But the spirit (and eagle) live on. The care displayed for the product at the factory is indeed impressive. If all of us took such pride in our work and products, more items would be manufactured here. But you can't find the quality / cost labor factor, unless you go overseas. Look at our trade deficit and ask why other countries do not live as well as the USA. Now ask if the playing field is fair.

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Old 10-12-2001, 09:42 AM   #24
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson earnings still rising

Good, quick bike, but flimsy frame (in my opinion). Not worth the 50% depreciation you'll experience in 1-1/2 years of ownership. I like your bike except for these last points, which is why I didn't buy one. Also, the cheap chromed plastic is a bad attempt (check out your shock cap). I love Suzuki's engine; it's quick, they stacked it correctly (I believe it has 2 carbs) and it has gobs of power. However, it looks like:

1) Crap

2) a Girl's bike

3) It's hard to accessorize.

4) It depreciates quickly.

5) The original model made >10 years ago.

6) Girly handlebars.

7) A Battery that takes more than 5 mins. to access.

Now that I trounced a non-harley bike, and not for being a non-harley bike but for some of the items on the bike, does the argument that people should buy what they want hold up? Should we really care about HD's success? Isn't great that an American company does so well, and it's not an internet company or a computer company?

PS: I'm glad you're happy with your bike - I often admired the original Intruders (800 & 1400) for what they offered. They are good bikes for the money. Just not what I want.

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Old 10-12-2001, 09:47 AM   #25
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson earnings still rising

i think the only harley i have ever seen and said man! i want that bike is a mid 50's HD Servicar. It makes no pretenses about what it is, there is no screaming eagle crap for it, it is not supposed to be fast. It is simple, practical, and has a purpose, and i think it is beautiful because of that.

There is something the HD's of the 30's into the 50's have that the current ones do not. With the current ones it is like they are trying to instill that something into the bikes, but it is just not the same, and maybe i would like current HD's better if they returned to making something original, rather than resting on their laurels. maybe the V-rod is this return......first brand spankin new bike since the k model debuted in what, 1954?

Hey, i am just a moron who likes sportsbikes, definitely no expert on the history of harley, but the early harleys stir my blood as much as any cutting edge sportsbike. I cant say the same for the current ones.
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Old 10-12-2001, 10:03 AM   #26
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Default Re: Their share price performance is unmatched in the biz

Problems with biased thinking:

1. All competitiion was not "removed" for any amount of time. All Harley asked is for the Japanese Mfgs. to stop "dumping" motorcycles into the U.S. market. If you don't know what "dumping" is, have someone explain it to you. Reagan agreed they had a case and acted accordingly.

2. Didn't all the other companies vie for this free cash from all the 'boomers"? I am pretty sure Honda, Kaw, Suz and all the others sold motorcycles during this time. Why didn't they take the lions share? Another Harley magical act?

3. There was no "amazing bailout". Since you were probably in diapers at the time, or have a severe misunderstading of what actually occurred, you seem to trivialize the magnificent and magnify the trivial.

4. Complete bias is fine. Misinformation based on that bias is not. Your "opinion" on what actually took place in the 80's and fact have little to do with reality. Harley has been getting bigger and stronger since 1984. That would be almost 18 years of success that cannot be whitewashed by any misleading "facts" and totally false conclusions.
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Old 10-12-2001, 10:40 AM   #27
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Default Re: There

I was being somewhat sarcastic.
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Old 10-12-2001, 11:46 AM   #28
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Default Trade deficit 220 billion; US GDP 7,903 billion same year.

In other words, a mere trifle. There is no playing field, or "fair". We humans do have it good, sentient beings on top of the food chain.

I worry most about Japan. They have a banking crisis they won't be able to put off much longer and consolidation is a likely result: Honkawazuki.

Honkawazuki, Eurocycle, and Harley-Davidson.
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Old 10-12-2001, 11:57 AM   #29
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Default Re: Their share price performance is unmatched in the biz

> They're not living stuffed in a box with 6 other people, i.e., they (overseas workers) live with less means and less amenities.

Yeah, there's NO consumer goods in Japan. That's it. Have you ever even seen a picture of Tokyo? Japan is one of the most extreme consumerist/materialist countries in the world. During a normal economy, the Japanese quality of life is HIGHER than American, and even in the current severe recession, their unemployment rate is barely higher than the US rate.
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Old 10-12-2001, 12:55 PM   #30
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Default Re: Their share price performance is unmatched in the biz

Ah longride, I appear to have hit a nerve. Too bad you cannot read... or perhaps simply read selectively.

I belive you missed the point... MARKETING and OPPORTUNITY was the point.

When Harley was struggling, the Government jumped in and stopped the "dumping" (or was it protectionism? Nah, of course not. Regan was never 'protectionist' was he? The US government have never acted in a protectionist manner against another country, particularly an insular nation that is protectionist itself. Oh yeah, that would be sarcasm. Ask someone to explain that to you) of all Harley competition... why is that? Maybe because, at that time, better built, better priced machines were killing Harley during a time when the existing bike purchasing population wanted sporty, or at minimum, well built bikes.

There, that's how Harley, that heroic company, was granted an (albeit short) lease on life.

Now... lets talk marketing

Let's look at demographics... where's the cash? 40+ year olds. What kind of bikes do the majority of these folks ride... GSXR600's? They ride cruisers.

What is the biggest single marketing 'flavour' over the last decades? Nostalgia. What is a Harley? A nostalgia machine... just like the new Bug, the Dodge Prowler, BMW Z3, Miata, etc.

How much nostalgia does a Honda shadow have??? a Vulcan? Don't make me laugh.

Then lets get back to the cash thing. People think 20-30K is a lot for a bike. It is but, compared with the cars one would have to purchase to have this sort of 'coolness' you're saving at least 50K.

So, Harley is UNIQUELY placed to cash in on the biggest trend in marketing yet and, I might add, the only company so poised. Triumph - dead, Indian - toast, Norton, Rudge, Ariel, BSA?

Therefore I offer my simple conclusion that:

1) Harley was saved by the government simply by removing competition for a time allowing the corp to get it's act together. (a point I made earlier)

2) they were uniquely poised to cash in on huge demographic that is uniquely affluent (a point I made earlier)

3) They are (I don't know if you can handle this) a good company with an excellent marketing team and a (hold on now) good product, actually many good products. (also a point I made earlier).

Perhaps when accusing another of 'complete bias' one should remove the wool from one's eyes.
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