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Old 04-15-2008, 12:21 PM   #21
Kenneth_Moore
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Ok, let’s talk about today’s HD buyer. It’s a middle aged white guy whose kids are out or on their way out. He’s usually but not always blue-collar, and he has average credit at best, mediocre is more likely. He doesn’t have any money to put down, in fact, before he came in the dealership he had no intention of buying a bike. Then a sales guy got him to sit on a couple and started painting pictures of him and the old lady doing a triupmphant return to their trailer park with their Screamin’ Eagle pipes busting windows and setting off car alarms.

After a few hours of going back and forth to the finance manager to get a number that inflates the bike price enough to pretend we have 10% down, the sales guy then starts playing the numbers game with the credit reporting agencies. Then we shove him in the “Delta” program for deadbeats and get his Mom to sign a faxed co-sign deal. Finally, we do the orientation and get him on the bike and out the door. The next day he’s back, demanding to know why he didn’t get the $500 store credit like his buddy at the bar. After 20 minutes of shouting at the sales floor, the Finance guy gets him his store credit, which he then uses to buy accessories that he will complain about on his next visit.

I must have been sick the day all the nice folks with their pockets stuffed with cash showed up
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:25 PM   #22
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"But you can't deny the fact that a huge percentage of HD buyers don't haggle."

I'm not denying or confirming it. Why would they be any different from any other buyer of anything else? I'm sure everyone tries to get the best price. I did. Why would anybody be any different?
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:25 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by sarnali2 View Post
Harley build quality, the Evo. motor and Ronnie Rayguns trade embargo is what saved them. They had to improve or they would have tanked in the early 80's. Harleys were always cool but a lot of people wouldn't touch them because of percieved quality issues and Shovelhead horror stories most of which were total bulls*t.

Here comes Vaugh Beals and the rest, along with a lot of anti Japanese sentiment at the time (remember Lee Iacoca's flag waving ads?) "saving" a great American Icon from the Japanese who were buying up anything they could get their hands on. Honda and Yamaha almost bankrupted themselves underselling to gain market share to the point Reagan encated a trade embargo on Japanese bikes. That gave HD enough wiggle room to get the new plants and designs up and running.

Harleys were cool again, people that had wanted one could now buy one with some kind of faith in the bikes reliability, HOG gave them sanctioned activities they could participate in, Malcomb Forbes and his Capitolist Tools made Harleys desirable for a whole range of customers who would never set foot in and old school dealership that now also wanted a Harley...It just grew from there.

Being the shrewed businessman they were, HD brass kept production behind demand this created a feeding frenzy atmosphere for every bike leading to waiting lists and surcharges and enough people "had to be cool and own a Harley" that fed the sales boom. It's a combination of putting out a high quality product coupled with excellent mangment and marketing that's got them where they are today.

With the current downturn and market glut they're going to have to rely on customer service to see them through like everyone else.
Ah, yes. The embargo. You still hear people whine and moan about how Reagan oppressed them by acting to save the American motorcycle industry from Japanese dumping in the USA. All that p1ssing and moaning, that they had to buy 700cc bikes, just made me chuckle. A whole bunch of motojournalists... toadies to the Big4.... crying in their beer. That was when HD morphed from being a crummy company to an evil one, wasn't it?
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:32 PM   #24
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The next day he’s back, demanding to know why he didn’t get the $500 store credit like his buddy at the bar. After 20 minutes of shouting at the sales floor, the Finance guy gets him his store credit, which he then uses to buy accessories that he will complain about on his next visit.

I must have been sick the day all the nice folks with their pockets stuffed with cash showed up
"You meet the Nicest Arseholes on a Harley™!"
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:36 PM   #25
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Ah, yes. The embargo. You still hear people whine and moan about how Reagan oppressed them by acting to save the American motorcycle industry from Japanese dumping in the USA. All that p1ssing and moaning, that they had to buy 700cc bikes, just made me chuckle. A whole bunch of motojournalists... toadies to the Big4.... crying in their beer. That was when HD morphed from being a crummy company to an evil one, wasn't it?

I think it was when they had the backbone and moral fiber to petition Ronnie to end it early once they got back on their feet that they turned into an Evil Empire.

I got a screamin' deal on my GPZ750 out of all that so I can't complain, it just needed a new battery from sitting in a warehouse for 3 years.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:08 PM   #26
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Longride,

You may have bought based on needs, but the majority do not. I'm, also, not comparing yesterdays Shovel to todays TC. I am comparing yesterdays Shovel to yesterdays XS. Neither were shining examples of bikes but because of marketing technique Yamaha sold more bikes.
You and many others on this site buy based on needs, but we are far out numbered by those who buy based on Brand identification. They aren't in this because of it's practicality or function. They buy Harleys for the same reasons people buy Coke over Pepsi. One brand suits them over the other. No matter if you buy it at the 7eleven for a $1.49 or the am/pm for $1.29 you're still going to buy the brand you identify with. In motorcycles that brand is Harley. Most people couldn't tell you the difference between the models to save their lives but they know the name and that's what matters.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:49 PM   #27
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I think there are two types of buyers. One is the price/performance crowd, and the other buys what tickles their heart. Both want good bikes though. People want to feel they are getting value for their money, and Harley does that. Nobody is going to buy a bad product because of a name. Coke tried CokeII and they learned a valuable lesson trying to sell a bad product on a name. Do people identify with Harley? Sure they do, but Harley has a really good product to back up that name, along with 105 years of history to draw on. If they didn't all the marketing in the world wouldn't sell them. Harley sells what they know people will buy, so it is easy to market them. They get out and ask the consumer what they want, and then give it to them. The V-Rod is probably the only mistake Harley made in trying to make a bike before they knew it will sell, although I guess they well well in Europe. Every brand needs marketing, but you have to have a desired product before the marketing even starts. Harley didn't have that product in the 80's. They have it now.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:10 PM   #28
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I think there are two types of buyers. One is the price/performance crowd, and the other buys what tickles their heart. Both want good bikes though. People want to feel they are getting value for their money, and Harley does that. Nobody is going to buy a bad product because of a name. Coke tried CokeII and they learned a valuable lesson trying to sell a bad product on a name. Do people identify with Harley? Sure they do, but Harley has a really good product to back up that name, along with 105 years of history to draw on. If they didn't all the marketing in the world wouldn't sell them. Harley sells what they know people will buy, so it is easy to market them. They get out and ask the consumer what they want, and then give it to them. The V-Rod is probably the only mistake Harley made in trying to make a bike before they knew it will sell, although I guess they well well in Europe. Every brand needs marketing, but you have to have a desired product before the marketing even starts. Harley didn't have that product in the 80's. They have it now.
"New Coke" was actually a "better" product than "Old Coke" - people picked it overwhelmingly in all the blind taste-tests, market surveys, etc. It was just a Colossal Marketing Flop.

When the Hammer met the Anvil, people didn't want to "lose" their (perceived) favourite soft-drink.

Die-hard H-D types also sneered at the Evo, the introduction of belt-drives, them dang-fangled overhead valves.........

Harley's change was a Marketing Success - Coke blew it Big Time. Both introduced "superior" products that were initially reviled by the consumer.

Why did Harley persevere while Coke "threw in the towel" and went back?
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:37 PM   #29
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"New Coke" was actually a "better" product than "Old Coke" - people picked it overwhelmingly in all the blind taste-tests, market surveys, etc. It was just a Colossal Marketing Flop.

When the Hammer met the Anvil, people didn't want to "lose" their (perceived) favourite soft-drink.

Die-hard H-D types also sneered at the Evo, the introduction of belt-drives, them dang-fangled overhead valves.........

Harley's change was a Marketing Success - Coke blew it Big Time. Both introduced "superior" products that were initially reviled by the consumer.

Why did Harley persevere while Coke "threw in the towel" and went back?
There's a big difference. The EVOs were not substantially different than Shovelheads as far as a seat of the pants riding experience goes. The upgrades were in reliability and especially durability, i.e. an engine could go over 100,000 miles between rebuilds instead of 25,000 on a Shovel. But if you rode a late model Shovel and jumped on an early EVO you would have felt right at home.

New Coke on the other hand was a product that no one was asking for. Cocacola simply took the old product away one day and substituted the new without doing an effective marketing survey and ad campaign.

Harley riders for the most part weren't the least bit upset about the EVO. The Shovel had already lasted as long as the Knuck and Pan. After they discovered that the new forged crankcase would take about 40 more horsepower than the old sandcast one that was all she wrote. Sure there were the hard nosed guys who resist any change. But that's not limited to HD riders. Check out the BMW riders who still think that only Airheads are REAL BMWs... K bikes aren't REAL BMWs... on and on ad nauseum.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:36 PM   #30
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Die hards still hate the Evo. How many of those guys are still around with their FTF shirts? 10 maybe? Harley knew which side of the bread to butter, while Coke didn't have a clue. Nobody clamored for the remake of the Shovel, although they did want their old Coke back.
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