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Harley-Davidson earnings still rising

9510 Views 43 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  xsrider
harleys suck....first post
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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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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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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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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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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.
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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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.
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.
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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I'm with you, mister John! Whilst I appear to have gotten into a bit of a tif with a fellow poster above, I do like the old bikes. The new hogs to me are for posers (I'm far from a poser with an 86 gsxr... prob ugliest sport bike ever made) but man, the old shovel heads just turn my crank. Saw an old guy kick starting (what I think was) a 74 cube. Now that's cool... albeit appearing rather painful!

Wow, to have one of those bikes (pre 60's) would be great (maybe I am a poser at heart!)

Loud pipes, sprung seat, whitewall tyres ;-)

Ok, I'm dreaming... back to fixin the xl500... sigh.
Re: Their share price performance is unmatched in the biz

you're right that in their best economic times Japan has sometimes actually registered a higher *overall* material standard of living than the US. So have several European countries. HOWEVER those countries do not have a significant underclass of poor people who tend to stay that way no matter how good things get. They drag the standard down. I don't want to start a controversy about whose fault it is, but we do have that. When you back out those people and compare middle-classes and then figure in the incredible degree of freedom (who knows how much longer it'll last) that no other country can touch (Japan is a police state by comparison) there is no standard of living anywhere like it in the world.
Re: Their share price performance is unmatched in the biz

The only "nerve" hit is when people talk at length about things they know "nothing" about. That would be you and what happened in the 80's for example, as just proved again by the above post. Well, since I am 40+ and have a ZX9R and also have owned a TL1000s and soon to buying a ZX12, tell me again what "they" ride. I'll bet more 40+ own GSXR 600's than 20 year olds. Again, simple minds have simple fallicies. The whole subject is so far over your head it isn't worth even trying to straighten out. I really would remove the "wool" from my eyes but somehow living and riding and keeping up with what actually happened during those times somehow makes me infinitely more qualified to talk about it than you. Since I can tell you are young and talking out your rear, I guess that has to be taken into account. If you ARE older I would hate to see how badly you can skew other "events" to fit your own biases. You need to talk to a Vietnam vet too and tell him what the war was REALLY like. Ride it if ya have it.
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My little red Z3 roadster is quick, for a nostalgia item

Dang! Here I thought this was a nice modern sports car with a super engine and a great suspension.
Re: If they REALLY want to see profits soar...

Any amounts a dealer gets over MSRP goes to the dealer, not Harley-Davidson. Harley wishes they had more control over their dealers.
Sorta like people who buy race replica helmets, leathers or bikes? Now you can look like Nicky Hayden though you've never been close to a track in your life. Kinda like that?
well as they say,"if i have to explain you would not understand anyway". The only reason why your bike exist is because there is a bike called harley-davidson. Yes i ridden a intruder, and would i trade my bike for five of yours, nope!!. Mostly because of the weak design but also because the engine is terrible. But i´m glad someone are happy with a bike like yours. But not me, no way and never.

Have a nice ride!!

/fatboy 100 hp at rear weel and soon v-rod
Re: My little red Z3 roadster is quick, for a nostalgia item

He's talking about the styling and the fact open roadsters are pretty useless cars except for the fun they provide and/or the status symbol effect of showing people you can spend big bucks on a car with no back seat and practically no trunk.

Actually the Z3 is very modern under the skin except that the rear suspension is E30-based (80's vintage) due to space limitations. His comparison to motorcycles whose mechanical design is still largely based on what was state-of-the-art in the 1950's is a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

Not to say that there's anything wrong with buying 1950's technology as long as it makes you happy and satisfies the particular kind of longing you have for an open road experience. That's what every motorcycle does in it's own unique way regardless whether it's a cruiser, sportbike, tourer, standard or whatever. IF federal regs would allow Chevy to build an exact duplicate of the '57 BelAir, except for some desirable modern features like disc brakes, improved suspension, electronic ignition etc. a LOT of people would love to buy one. But they can't. So that's what H-D builds but only people willing to ride a motorcycle get to satisfy their longing for a cruise back to the 50's. That's fine with me --more people should ride even though a Harley is not what I choose to ride these days.
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How many other company logos are common tattoos?

If there are any enthusiasts with a tattoo from Another Motor Company (maybe, a bow tie?) on their body, especially another motorcycle company, please reply.
Going up Frisco hills sets off car alarms. I like that.

A loud bike is a safer bike than the same but quieter bike. There's a bullet proof rationalization for all the laws I broke by mounting non-mufflers.

It sounds like the Keystone Kops after me in San Francisco. There's a part of me that finds that hilarious.
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