Interesting reading - Harley Davidson's downfall? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 05:05 PM
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4% down for the quarter isn't that bad when you consider the number of Victorys and Indians now on the road. I'm surprised Harley isn't down even more, but I suspect they will be, given their American competitors. And that's good. There's enough of us "old white guys" left to keep to keep them going for a while yet, but they'll be forced to innovate to keep up, and that's good too.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 08:44 PM
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Competition is always good, stay current or go by the wayside. It will show how they stand.


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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 09:07 PM
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I don't own a Harley, but I have seen several I would like to. Now, I am white...but would not consider myself old-yet...41. What will be the downfall is $$$$ if anything. But most of those 'Old white guys" have plenty of it so it seems like a non issue.

It's like any other items you buy. A lot of the time you are buying the name-Nike, Pop-Tarts (not toaster pastries), Oscar Meyer hot dogs (not those red things), Mobil 1 oil (not Super-tech), and so on. Plus, as I said, they still have some pretty awesome bikes. They'll be fine and I hope so as they are one of the few that are still "American made"-at least for the most part.

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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 11:21 PM
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I will say this, I'd hate to be trying to sell a Harley on Craigslist. For every metric I see, I see about 10+ Harleys. The market is just flooded with them and if I was looking to buy one, I'd certainly tap the used bikes first and save a mint over what the local Harley dealers want for their bikes.

Having just recently acquired my Vulcan, it came down to it and a Harley Street Rod (think V-Rod without forward controls). The final decision was easy when I found out that my insurance was going to be 4 times as much insuring the Harley vs. the 900 ($100 vs. $430). $300 savings a year is certainly nothing to scoff at and go a long way towards upgrades and gas.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derek533 View Post
I will say this, I'd hate to be trying to sell a Harley on Craigslist. For every metric I see, I see about 10+ Harleys. The market is just flooded with them and if I was looking to buy one, I'd certainly tap the used bikes first and save a mint over what the local Harley dealers want for their bikes.

Having just recently acquired my Vulcan, it came down to it and a Harley Street Rod (think V-Rod without forward controls). The final decision was easy when I found out that my insurance was going to be 4 times as much insuring the Harley vs. the 900 ($100 vs. $430). $300 savings a year is certainly nothing to scoff at and go a long way towards upgrades and gas.
Add into this the service charges, and regular maintenance cost and the Harleys are more expencive to purchase and own. Have road 3 of them and the Ultra Glide my brother has is the only one I found an advantage in and that was in mpg, he gets low 50s vs my Voyager getting hi 30s. For me, the Voyager is much more comfortable, and the Ultra was the only bike I've road I would have trouble doing more tan 100 miles a day on, it just wasnt a good fit for me. Its the only bike me knees hurt on after only riding 87 miles.

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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 05:52 PM
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This is sort of a tired old story. The economy is changing. The middle class is significantly smaller than it's been in decades with people spending less and less on 'toys' per capita, and the "Baby Boomers" won't keep buying junk for long. RV's, boats, Harley-Davidson; there are a lot of brands and entire industries who are going to be affected by the downturn of baby-boomers. I was reading recently about RV companies trying to produce more 'high tech' and 'hip' RV's because they need to find a way to keep their market alive. When everyone was retiring all at once marketing them to retirees was a great idea; now, not so much. They are a industry on the end of a boom heading for a decline and they need to react.

The same will be true of Harley-Davidson. They'll find ways to react. They've been down in the past, too. In fact, they've had trouble competing with metrics before metrics were as good as they are now. They know how to innovate and bounce back; they just don't tend to do it often. I suspect we will see it though.

4% down isn't the end of the world BUT, the Motorcycle industry as a whole is growing. Declining in a growing industry isn't a good sign, but one year doesn't tell the whole story. Markets are funny like that.

It's WAY to early to say it's the "downfall" of anyone. If a 4% loss because they aren't changing with the market will kill H-D they'd have died back in the AMF days.

The market IS changing and it's demanding more technology, updated styling, etc. As the motorcycle market grows it's growing from people who expect motorcycle brands to work like car brands; lots of new models frequently, lots of styling updates, color options, up-to-date technologies. None of the brands are really delivering that; but they are slowly getting there. I actually could see Harley-Davidson being more equipped to meet that market as their traditional market fades away into nursing homes.

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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 10:46 PM
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Its a changing `new buyer demographic` Harleys current one is slowly dying ... while 4% is not a large number, gone are the days of relying on `Made in America` consumers are more demanding, will not accept less for more and are more accepting to off shore brands.

In Harley`s defense ... they cop so much crap from their existing customer base in regards to the so called ` new non traditional ' products, its hard to offer a business model that works for all.

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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 05:56 PM
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I was in the local HD dealer today and a 2015 or 2016 CVO Road Glide Ultra had a sticker price of $41,000+. And that is before tax and the other charges....WTF!

IMO...there is no HD worth over 25k.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 07:49 PM
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I think the MoCo has seen the writing on the wall well before these numbers.
I think the Street, Rushmore and even the decade old V-rod all point to an acknowledgement of a changing consumer base.
Heck they've put a fair nickel into researching electric.

The 4% number is significant because it's "Marketshare".
HD has dominated the US marketshare for a long time and one of the biggest reasons is that it's THE bike with "cool factor".

With hipsters and hooligans going for standards and sports; and the RUBs moving to the Adv-Touring.
Cruisers, baggers, bobbers, choppers and V-twin tourers are seen more and more as old mens bikes.

Old men =/= cool.
dang!

There WILL be a market for HD for a long time. No eminent downfall on the horizon.
But, "cool factor" wont be worth near the up-charge they're getting now.

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