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Time to team up with someone and start anew. I think that there are three possibilities: 1- Motoczyz 2- Fischer or 3- Roehr.
I can see a melding of engineering talent that any investor would take a shot at. Give him until March of next year and rumors of the next gig will start circulating.
Sounds nice, but I'm absolutely certain that HD got a no-compete contract out of Erik when he signed on. I would.

I swapped a few emails with Michael Czysz after the Isle of Man Electric TT fiasco; he's apparently totally focused on electric power only. I doubt Buell is interested. Also, guys like that tend to be who and what they are because they are individualists who do their own thing, making them unlikely candidates for mergers or partnerships.
 

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I personally think this is a small step into what will emerge as greater difficulties in the future for Harley Davidson long term. Where does this leave the motor company? What innovative ideas will they develop with such a rigid structure? Wrap it up anyway you like, the company still has no vision to get beyond the baby boomer population in what is soon to become a passé cruiser market... I'm sorry Eric got caught up in all this but he did have a good run at living out his passion for a long time as not everyone always has that opportunity. Hope he tucked some of those earnings away. If not, any of us impacted by this economy can show him how use more beans than beef in your chili to stretch it further…
You might be too young to remember everyone babbling the exact same thing about Harley in the late 60's through the 80's. "Only old Shiners and Hell's Angels will buy Harleys. Their market has no future. Their product is irrelevant to today's buyers."

Same ****, different day. I don't want a Harley these days, but I have no doubt they will remain a huge player in the US market. They are unique in so many ways...what other brand comes close to HD in terms of owner loyalty and fanaticism?
 

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Funny they seem to have quite a following. I'm told they work really well, despite the ugliness. :D
Only the 1000's work really well. The Wees are a great buy for the money, but motorcyclists in the know choose the DL1000 for an astoundingly capable mix of power, performance, comfort, and practicality. Ugly? Only puzzies and posers care about what any one thinks about their bike's appearance.
 

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To be fair Kenny ol' bud I'm sure when you're riding a Vstrom and all you can see is the windshield and instruments then you can pretend the rest of the bike isn't so offensive to the eye, I mean it's almost not as ugly as a KTM.............
But that's exactly why I bought it! Acres and acres of motorcycle, and it's ALL MINE!!! Besides, size does matter. I heard that on teevee just this morning.
 

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Where I live every kid running around the block on a 125 Yamaha knows that HD is not on top of the cruiser game any more.

- cruiz-your o
But the kids are wrong. HD remains on top of the cruiser game by any measure. Their sales surpass everyone in the catagory by a wide margin. Their competition continues to copy them at every turn (seen the lastest "Dark Customs" from Kawi and Yamaha?). And nobody, US, or otherwise, has ever come even close to creating the brand identity and cutomer loyalty that Harley has. HD will continue to suffer in the poor economy. When the economy rebounds, so will HD. They will lose a few buyers to the Japanese builders, but they will gain back even more who start Japanese, and then come to their senses and buy their Harley. And they will make business errors like aquiring MV Augusta...like they did in the '60's with Aermacchi, but they will recover from it and continue being THE heavyweight motorcycle company.

BTW: I'll bet any one of those kids would sell their sister to get a Harley.
 

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The kids are not wrong. Harley may be on top of the game on many measures but not where it matters most: grunt. Age old question: does size matter? Does power and torq matter?

Yes they bloody well do matter and the sore fact is that during the last seven years five other companies have overtaken Harley and by a big whopping margin.

Those kids all know it. Maybe not in Alabama where the they all have wrongly spelled "Harly-Davidsson" tatooed on their asses. But certainly anywhere else where they surf in the net, read the specs and comparos.

Leading manufacturer of mid-range cruisers, screw me with a stick. HD needs to up the game. Why the hell can't they just start moving their asses?

- cruiz-euro
This is wrong on so many levels it's hard to tell where to start:

Fixation on size is typically a reflection of low self-esteem. If speed and power are tops on your list, you don't buy a frikin cruiser to begin with.

Nobody has overtaken Harley. HD sells over a quarter-million bikes. Only Honda sells more, and they do that only by selling everything from dinky scooters to a gazzillion sport bikes. The dumbest thing HD could do would be to make a significant change in what they build. Every time they do, it's a bust. Chasing after the latest gizmo or the Style De Jour like the rest of the market does is not a good strategy for them.

BTW: do you know what nation is the second largest market for Harley Davidson? I'll give you a hint: a lot of cheesy HD clone cruisers come from there.
 

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You must have your statistics from 1953. Didn't we just read an interesting article from China that said there are 12 manufacturers that sell over 500,000 bikes? It didn't say how many sell over quarter a million but hey, you do the maths. And those didn't include any of the most common brands either.

Another interesting factoid: in terms of the number of motorcycles in use the good old US ranks in the 11th place.

- cruiz-euro
The stats are from the only market that really matters.
 

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Harley has a clear strategy to change the way it does business and return to profitability. "We are intent on extending the Harley-Davidson brand by leveraging our unique strengths," says CEO Keith Wandell. "What do we mean by extending the brand and leveraging our unique strengths? Well, the Harley-Davidson brand is one of the most powerful brands in the world but we also have great conviction that there is much more that we can do to tap in to the power of that brand and expand it even further."

We asked a former Wall Street banker with significant experience financing large motorcycle companies, what he thought of Harley's strategy. "'Leveraging the brand' is utterly ridiculous. People have the brand tattooed on their ****ing flesh, how much more leveraged are you gonna get?"


Bwah hahahahahaha!
 

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According to the same article, HD is paying 15% interest for hundreds of millions of dollars in loans. That is the kind of rate you expect on a credit card, not a frikin business loan when the Prime Rate is under 5%. Much of their loans are government backed or directly from the government; the equivalent of a "bailout" without all the publicity.

It's astonishing to me that a company that was practically printing money for two decades had the fiscal irresponsibility to be in such dire straits after only two years economic downturn. I suspect they bonused themselves right out of stability. They blew what, $100M on MV? At the same time they're leveraged up the ass with high cost loans? My kid does a better job managing his allowance.
 
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