I took a ride to my local Harley dealer a few weeks ago....always a dog and pony show there. If you don't ride up on a Harley I feel they treat you like junk. Regardless I wanted to see the new Street Bob.
They had many more bikes in stock then previous years and the sales rep called me a day later asking if I could purchase before the end of the month. I took pleasure in the fact that inventory isn't moving like it has been. They price the bikes at least 3k over msrp.
So I ask, why the cost difference? His reply was that msrp is suggested and demand calls for the higher cost...well, not anymore buddy.
I agree. The dealers in the LA area are still stupidly posting prices $2K over MSRP. I was in Oregon last week and they have MSRP posted on their bikes, and the sales guy at the Oregon dealership told me they are "very negotiable." I asked the guy in LA about that. His response? "We have a lot longer riding season here." Give me a break. I may ride a Harley, but I ain't stupid...
Don't get me wrong; I have a '92 softail I've had since it was new, and I love it. I think the dealers have been price gouging for a good 15 years now, and it is catching up with them. And, don't let all that BS about nostalgia, heritage, and 100 years of existence confuse you. They may have a 100+ year history, but try getting a dealer to work on a Harley more than 10 years old. My local dealer (Pomona Valley HD) flat out refused to touch my '92 when it lunched the engine 6 months ago. Nice people, but that policy is just flat stupid. I ended up taking the bike to a local independent and I had him rebuild the engine with all S&S components. It's now a 96-inch torque monster, and it cost about the same as a Harley rebuild would have cost (if the dealer had been willing to touch my bike, which they weren't).
Hey that five year chart looks good compared to my Dell and Cisco shares.
Of course it's never a good thing when this happens unless the guy living across the street from you has named all the family pets Harley and couldn't identify a sportster from 20 paces. Then it's a riot.
Seriously, I would love a Road King to run around on. I just have a problem with my "second" bike costing twice as much as my first.
Something was bound to happen. It seemed that a good bit of the appeal for people to buy a Harley was the name alone. Who knows how much real support they have for their product. That's the problem with trends; they change. It seems like choppers are the new Harley. If that makes sense.
One thing I've been wondering is if there current strategy to pull younger buyers into the fold is working. The V-rod isn't exactly cheap, and the Sportster is old school; but has the most realistic price. Buell seems to be the odd man out, as Harley really needs a performance bike themselves. I just don't see people that are interested in Buell's caring to much about the association with Harley. So how does Buell help Harley? If Harley put the V-Rod engine into a decent frame (not cruiser focused); not jack up the ride height like on the Street Rod (talk about parts bin special), and price it in line with the Japanese, I wonder what the response would be.
"If Harley put the V-Rod engine into a decent frame (not cruiser focused); not jack up the ride height like on the Street Rod (talk about parts bin special), and price it in line with the Japanese, I wonder what the response would be."
i think the only thing left to do...is to put an undertail on the VRod
Is it because metric cruisers are taking a bite out of HD's bottom line? The bikes & dealerships without the attitude? Hmmmm...
In my opinion if Harley had sold a bike like the late model Buell 10 years ago, they couldn't have sold enough of 'em. It might have rolled back the tide some, changed the image. The V Rod was too little too late (or too much depending on how you look at it).
Alas, like the Surburban and Escalade maybe HD's day in the sun has passed.
I won't set foot in most HD dealerships because I don't want to get the "well, if you don't want to buy it, someone else will...don't let the door hit you in the bohonkus on your way out" attitude. In some (few) dealerships, however, things are pleasantly different. I went to one here in the DFW metro area a couple of weeks ago asking about a Street Bob. The salesman, to whom I was referred, wasn't what you'd expect. I told him that I wanted the Bob, but he said it would be about a month before the next one would arrive. He said he would hate to see me wait that long for a bike, and he tried his damndest to sell me an 06 anniversary Dyna or an 06 Softail standard. You would have thought he hadn't sold a bike in a month. Anyway, I ended up leaving a deposit on the Street Bob, which I'm getting at straight msrp. The manager even verified with me that I didn't want the security system.......to keep from charging me more than I wanted to pay. WTF? Wow. Hopefully, the HD financial situation will force more dealerships to treat prospective customers this way, but I'll believe it when I see it.
Harleys problem is that their clientele are getting older and dying off. The younger people are not buying bikes based on nostalgia.
A Harley rider stopped for a break at a small town and pulled up next to some sport bikes. He eyed a Triumph Daytona and liked what he saw. After checking on the internet he discovered the Triumph has twice the power at half the price. He now has a Ducati.
OMFG!! Quick, somebody get a 700cc tariff bill passed!!
I'd love to add a Harley to my stable (if you can call one bike a stable), but the rational half of my brain won't let me. The ONLY Harley I can convince myself to buy would be a $7K fuel-injected 883. Maybe next year they'll build my bike....
I'm sure that the Harley marketing strategists are peeing themselves about now, trying to figure out where to go next. The Harley dilemma has long been how to keep their traditional buyer (who buys a bike every three years) and also capture the yuppie weekenders (who buy one bike, but stock up on Motor Clothes and chrome) and their cash.
It's been a good run, but now it's back to basics for the Motor Company. The Baby Boom buyers have all bought their bike, gone to Sturgis, filled their closets with logo merchandise. They're now contemplating retirement funds -- and guess what? The bike culture doesn't fit with their vision of retirement.
If I'm Harley-Davidson, I license the hell out of my trademark, and bring prices to within traditional buyer reach. That way I keep the factory open and can still milk the cash cow.