H-D has a new boss | Page 14 | GTAMotorcycle.com

H-D has a new boss

TK4

Well-known member
I hope most dealerships are owned by conglomerates (Like Policaro) and have multiple revenue centers, or are a passion project and they own several other businesses. What a tough business model for a family that just run a motorcycle shop.
H-D seems to have decided to sell the sizzle not the steak, tell its dealers to suck it up, reduce manufacturing and existing inventories.
Hardly a long term plan.
 

Trials

Well-known member
Make Harley great again. :sneaky: they need to focus on historic core products; branded ash trays, miniskirts, tank tops, wall clocks and beer in cans.
 

Mad Mike

Well-known member
H-D seems to have decided to sell the sizzle not the steak, tell its dealers to suck it up, reduce manufacturing and existing inventories.
Hardly a long term plan.
I think this is one of HD's issues -- they don't seem to have managed their dealers as well as they should have. I'm guessing they tried to do what GM did a few years back - flush the lazy, clear the inventory backlog, and ask the survivors to step up their game. What they forgot to do is implement strategies to force their product strategy - they tail wagged the dog.
 

TK4

Well-known member
Make your dealers successful - give them good stuff to sell, then they'll buy more stuff.
Its a simple business model and it works.
 

Mad Mike

Well-known member
Make your dealers successful - give them good stuff to sell, then they'll buy more stuff.
Its a simple business model and it works.
Generally yes.

Not exactly that way in the auto biz. Dealers want to sell the big ticket items, not always the budget stuff. That's not always aligned with the manufacturer's strategy.

In the auto biz, dealers don't always get to cherry pick -- Want Cadillacs on your lot? Sell some Chevys. Want Camaros and Vettes? Sell some Sparks and Malibus.

When dealer mix is left entirely to the dealer, the low end stuff only sells after the high end is pitched. HD should have learned this with Buell and VRODS, I cant count the number of times (here and elsewhere) someone has written/said when they visited a HD dealer to see a Buell, Sreet or VROD only to be told they were not 'real bikes'. Not real because they have lower sales margins and less frequent service needs.

Manufacturers have to force product mix for a variety of reasons. Expanding market share, entering new markets, diversifying sales dependencies, optimizing production and more.

If the dealer decides the product strategy, the company will be in HD's position today.
 

sburns

Well-known member
Make your dealers successful - give them good stuff to sell, then they'll buy more stuff.
Its a simple business model and it works.
I guess you haven't been to a HD store to deal with the staff ... not always the best experience.. It was recommended to me I should get a dyno tune when I wasn't replacing anything remotely close to warrant a service like that. :rolleyes::rolleyes: (I gave the guy a shut the f-k up look)
Most of the staff are a bunch of tools, that are just bodies to fill a position. You could have the best bikes on the planet in there and you would still have to deal with id-i-ots. Maybe they might be better with new customers but once you get to know them...bah..
 
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GreyGhost

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I guess you haven't been to a HD store to deal with the staff ... not always the best experience.. It was recommended to me I should get a dyno tune when I wasn't replacing anything remotely close to warrant a service like that. :rolleyes::rolleyes: (I gave the guy a shut the f-k up look)
Most of the staff are a bunch of tools, that are just bodies to fill a position. You could have the best bikes on the planet in there and you would still have to deal with id-i-ots. Maybe they might be better with new customers but once you get to know them...bah..
Sound like motorad employees. All over you like blackfies in Algonquin until they realize you aren't dropping 30K that day and then poof, they don't want to talk to you anymore.
 

xrljoel

Well-known member
Sound like motorad employees. All over you like blackfies in Algonquin until they realize you aren't dropping 30K that day and then poof, they don't want to talk to you anymore.
Bingo.
I had a BMW K100RS for 18 years, and I sold it and bought a Triumph. I looked at BMW's and was interested in continuing that relationship but the Motorad shopping experience was crap.

My experience with HD shops has been good, though limited. Parts departments at Peterborough and Mackies were first rate, Service in Peterborough the same and the sales staff in both have been good, even though I wasn't there to buy anything. Maybe I just got lucky and talked to motorcycle enthusiasts in all my interactions.
 

backmarkerducati

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Bingo.
I had a BMW K100RS for 18 years, and I sold it and bought a Triumph. I looked at BMW's and was interested in continuing that relationship but the Motorad shopping experience was crap.

My experience with HD shops has been good, though limited. Parts departments at Peterborough and Mackies were first rate, Service in Peterborough the same and the sales staff in both have been good, even though I wasn't there to buy anything. Maybe I just got lucky and talked to motorcycle enthusiasts in all my interactions.
Back in the day.... many of the smaller town shops were at one time multiline, little to no attitude in these as they sold more than HD. HD forced all the shops to be HD only (although the same people may own another shop with different brands). Not a Harley owner but the smaller town shops usually didn't have the attitude, they were motorcycle people not "Harley" people, even after going HD only.
 

Hardwrkr13

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I've had very few bad experiences at HD dealers. Kingston and Classy Chassis (not an authorized dealer but they don't want anything else there) were both aholes.
Couple years back I did a 10-state 8,000km tour with 4 Harley baggers. 3 of the Harleys burned oil and needed top-ups, which wasn't an issue because 2 also broke down a couple times requiring dealer visits (so oil purchase was made there as well. One had a fuel pump go, another had a electrical issue where the bike would sometimes randomly start itself (twice) and then not start when wanted. Neither dealer we visited had the parts we needed like why the heck wouldn't a dealer have in stock a fuel pump or switchgear for their latest SG and EG?).
Lot's of free hotdogs and sales staff trying to sell me a new HD bagger though. Comfy chairs to sit and wait while the broken bike owners tried to get a fix for their bikes though.
One also lost a chrome engine case cover that fell off on the Dragon.
And yes, a year earlier when I was bike shopping the sales staff referred to the Street line as a girls bike.
 
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PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
Site Supporter
Anyone remember an oldschool HD dealer like Abs in Oshawa, for those who go back that far?

Not glitzy. Greasy shops full of old parts and junk. But knowledgeable long term employees who all rode and actually knew their **** and have probably forgotten more about motorcycles than half of us ever knew. Parts in stock and lots of old ones available as well if you need something, even something obtuse.

But now it's all about the glitz. 75% of the salespeople have never been on 2 wheels and couldn't identify a set of risers from a set of brake pads if they weren't labelled on the wall...but they sure know where the $50 Tshirts and the $1000 helmets are. The techs couldn't diagnose a problem if the computer doesn't tell them what exact part is wrong. Need a part? Yeah, we don't stock anything except oil filters and chrome farkles - we'll order that for you, see you in a week.
 

xrljoel

Well-known member
Anyone remember an oldschool HD dealer like Abs in Oshawa, for those who go back that far?

Not glitzy. Greasy shops full of old parts and junk. But knowledgeable long term employees who all rode and actually knew their **** and have probably forgotten more about motorcycles than half of us ever knew. Parts in stock and lots of old ones available as well if you need something, even something obtuse.

But now it's all about the glitz. 75% of the salespeople have never been on 2 wheels and couldn't identify a set of risers from a set of brake pads if they weren't labelled on the wall...but they sure know where the $50 Tshirts and the $1000 helmets are. The techs couldn't diagnose a problem if the computer doesn't tell them what exact part is wrong. Need a part? Yeah, we don't stock anything except oil filters and chrome farkles - we'll order that for you, see you in a week.
I remember AB's. It was just as you describe it. They also sold Kawasaki. There was no air of superiority or attitude. Just good service at reasonable rates in a shop owned and run by enthusiasts.
 

TK4

Well-known member
And yes, a year earlier when I was bike shopping the sales staff referred to the Street line as a girls bike.
The Street 500/750 appears to be aimed at the overseas buyer, I think I've seen maybe 3 on the streets of the GTA.
Certainly when you go to a show or dealership they're sitting off in the corner being treated like lepers.
 

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