Harley-Davidson President resigns | Page 4 | GTAMotorcycle.com

Harley-Davidson President resigns

Mad Mike

Well-known member
You may be onto something. Adding additional dealers that only carry the small bikes and electrics leaves the old dealers to carry the big bikes. That fixes many of the problems and can work well (I'm thinking like VW/Audi, Honda/Acura etc.). If a barge dealer wants to sell the other bikes, they can, but those that are worried about diluting their barges with adv bikes can remain with the current line. This gives HD more dealerships (although I don't think that is their problem) but more importantly puts the bikes in the hands of a sales team that loves them and isn't focused on sliding buyers into the higher profit bikes.

The other way for HD to update the dealership culture is to meter out the big bikes. Let the dealer have a big bike for every two of the new design bikes they move. That incentivizes the dealers to care about the new lines. Those that crap on them will get steamrolled as they won't have stock to work with.
My guess is they brought in the auto guy to do exactly that. There are some clues that's going to happen in their accelerated strategy, this is exactly what car manufacturers do to make sure they hit their market mix -- the dog wags the tail.

HD has struggled to get their dealer base to move off the hog. The Vrod was moderately successful but did not sell well enough to survive, largely because dealers only sold them to riders who asked for them -- even then they would always try to sell a hog first. The Street line has had dismal sales so far, much of the blame has to be on dealers, they simply don't stock the bikes - the tail wags the dog.

Having smaller urban dealers also reduces dealership overhead. The existing dealer network operates from large stores that resemble car delaerships, not bike shops. By lowering overhead makes selling smaller and unique bikes profitable.
 

bitzz

Well-known member
HD has struggled to get their dealer base to move off the hog.
You guys make it sound like all Harley wants to sell is FL's (Since most of you know nothing of Harleys, that's the large frame one, like the Road King, or the cop bike).
Let's get this straight, Harley wants out of the big air cooled bike market... the problem is the people that want to buy Harley's want big air cooled bikes... no matter where they sell them.
Harley's big air cooled bikes will not pass CAFE or euro5 emissions for much longer. To go forward they NEED a water cooled head. Harley is being legislated out of their core market.

... and while we're talking about their core market, North America, Harley knows their buyers are aging out, AND the economy is flat. Harley wants/ needs new market. Harley wants to be in Asia. In 2020, Asia is where it's at

Harley cannot push their dealer network much harder than they already have.
They almost had a revolution when they dictated ALL Harley dealers be a one line dealer (That's where Honda got the idea... and look how well it's worked out for them), which wiped out about a third of Harley dealers, and the ones that stayed had to spend LARGE to keep the Harley line (You will notice that ALL Harley dealers now have large, clean, modern showrooms with lots of exposure. They have to be located on a major thoroughfare or have highway frontage for a big sign).

Forcing dealers to move 2/3 for 1 on a product mix is a very dangerous business model.
They tried that with the Buells. Harley dealers DID NOT want the Buells, but Harley stuffed them down the dealer's throats, they couldn't get big bikes without buying a certain number of Buells... which led to dealers DUMPING Buells at a loss. That ****** off a LOT of Harley dealers.
 

GreyGhost

Well-known member
Site Supporter
They tried that with the Buells. Harley dealers DID NOT want the Buells, but Harley stuffed them down the dealer's throats, they couldn't get big bikes without buying a certain number of Buells... which led to dealers DUMPING Buells at a loss. That ****** off a LOT of Harley dealers.
That's exactly the point. As I understand it, the dealers were ****** and actively disparaged Buell. They made some cool bikes (and some turds) and if they had a salesforce that actually wanted to get them on the road, I think they would have done better. Instead they were treated as a necessary evil and little effort was put in to selling them. No matter how good Buell was, when the people selling them are ****** off and hate them, it makes it hard to want to buy one.

As you put it, HD needs to modernize their fleet, that requires dealers to want to modernize their fleet. If dealers dig in their heels and say FL only, that will work for a bit until the whole empire collapses.

I think HD missed the ball a bit with the Livewire. Given the size of the FL, I think they could have made at least one version of an electric bike that looked similar to a conventional HD. For a portion of the HD buying population (short rides, show off, polish chrome), it may actually be a good fit. Less maintenance, you can park it in your living room, infinitely faster than any gasser etc.
 

TK4

Well-known member
I think HD missed the ball a bit with the Livewire. Given the size of the FL, I think they could have made at least one version of an electric bike that looked similar to a conventional HD. For a portion of the HD buying population (short rides, show off, polish chrome), it may actually be a good fit. Less maintenance, you can park it in your living room, infinitely faster than any gasser etc.
HD seems to have completely forgotten about the Street 500/750 line.
Build some variants - ADV, streetfighter, tracker, whatever - just don't walk away ?
 
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BigEvilDoer

Well-known member
HD seems to have completely forgotten about the Street 500/750 line.
Build some variants - AVD, streetfighter, tracker, whatever - just don't walk away ?
Have you ridden one of those bikes? They're junk. My GF loves cruisers, especially HD (she grew up in a family obsessed with them), and I thought I'd go to a demo day and take her out on a few different HD's for fun.

The Street 500/750's motor is peppy enough for what it is. I'll give it a passing grade. The welds on the bike looked like they were done by a blind platypus. Fit and finish by a 4 year old with crayons, bubble gum and some tinfoil... And the brakes, wow. I have never ridden a bike with brakes that bad. Pulled the front brake lever to the bar and it barely started slowing the bike down. Added the rear, hard, marginal reduction in speed, and then started engine braking to the mix before speed started reducing at a reasonable rate. Here's an article documenting the brake fade/fail I encountered. Harley-Davidson Street 750's Brakes Completely Fail In Magazine Test

I could not in good conscience ever suggest this bike to an experienced rider, much less a new rider that they're targeted at.
 

GreyGhost

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Have you ridden one of those bikes? They're junk. My GF loves cruisers, especially HD (she grew up in a family obsessed with them), and I thought I'd go to a demo day and take her out on a few different HD's for fun.

The Street 500/750's motor is peppy enough for what it is. I'll give it a passing grade. The welds on the bike looked like they were done by a blind platypus. Fit and finish by a 4 year old with crayons, bubble gum and some tinfoil... And the brakes, wow. I have never ridden a bike with brakes that bad. Pulled the front brake lever to the bar and it barely started slowing the bike down. Added the rear, hard, marginal reduction in speed, and then started engine braking to the mix before speed started reducing at a reasonable rate. Here's an article documenting the brake fade/fail I encountered. Harley-Davidson Street 750's Brakes Completely Fail In Magazine Test

I could not in good conscience ever suggest this bike to an experienced rider, much less a new rider that they're targeted at.
Well that's an even bigger reason for HD to work hard at that segment. Although you have a long list of complaints, most of them could be dealt with by process/QC improvements, you wouldn't need a full redesign to fix them so you could get the fixed bikes into showrooms quickly. That's low-hanging fruit for the new CEO. "Sorry for the crap that we sold. We should never have turned out turds like that with our name on them. We have identified and fixed the problems and we invite you out to our showrooms to look at this product as we are very proud of it."
 

BigEvilDoer

Well-known member
Well that's an even bigger reason for HD to work hard at that segment. Although you have a long list of complaints, most of them could be dealt with by process/QC improvements, you wouldn't need a full redesign to fix them so you could get the fixed bikes into showrooms quickly. That's low-hanging fruit for the new CEO. "Sorry for the crap that we sold. We should never have turned out turds like that with our name on them. We have identified and fixed the problems and we invite you out to our showrooms to look at this product as we are very proud of it."
Agreed. Low hanging fruit there for the next CEO to look after.. but, it just shows you that HD simply didn't care about this product line and did a half-assed attempt at best. If they would have actually went and produced a solid product for this market they may well have had success.
Offer the bikes to schools to get wider recognition. If you get enough of them out there, there's a good chance that students will buy what they ride in the school. I've had bunches of students end up on Hondas simply because they rode them all weekend long.

So, in theory, if someone is indoctrinated into the HD Kool-Aid at the beginning of their motorcycle "career", I'd be willing to guess they'd stick with it over the years, furthering the user base instead of hoping the dying customers binge on one big last purchase.
 

FullMotoJacket

Well-known member
Site Supporter
HD seems to have completely forgotten about the Street 500/750 line.
Build some variants - ADV, streetfighter, tracker, whatever - just don't walk away ?

Hopefully they'll go all in on the electric dirt bike and electric scooter (PDI'd with the belt nice and loose like the one in their marketing pic). Schadenfreude is always amusing.

.
 

Trials

Well-known member
Needs to run on 60 degree V-twin Harley batteries ;)

and it needs to be at least as good as the Oset already is.
and it needed to be in the stores in healthy numbers at a good price as of last month.
 

FullMotoJacket

Well-known member
Site Supporter
The Street 500/750's motor is peppy enough for what it is. I'll give it a passing grade. The welds on the bike looked like they were done by a blind platypus. Fit and finish by a 4 year old with crayons, bubble gum and some tinfoil... And the brakes, wow. I have never ridden a bike with brakes that bad. Pulled the front brake lever to the bar and it barely started slowing the bike down. Added the rear, hard, marginal reduction in speed, and then started engine braking to the mix before speed started reducing at a reasonable rate.
I wish I could find the video of a news report from the factory post restructuring I saw on TV 20ish years ago. It showed a worker pulling up from the assembly line on a Dyna (I think) onto a rolling road. The rig was set up against a wall with the control panel on the other side of the belt. A mattress affixed to the wall, and another mattress on the inside against the control panel, the employee on the bike on the belt running it WOT wearing a T-shirt, jeans, work boots, and an obligatory American flag bandanna/do-rag. I was spitting coffee it was so funny.
 

blackcamaro

Well-known member
Well the CEO was with the company since 1994 and left them with a $435 million net profit last year so I'm not sure things are anywhere as bad as some are suggesting. Are they down? Sure, most of the motorcycle industry is.

Total U.S motorcycle sales were down -2.6% last year. Harley -5.2% Honda -1.5%, Yamaha -3.5%, Polaris -5.9%, Kawasaki -6.6%, Suzuki -4.9%, Can-Am -1.2%. Of the 450,000 bikes sold in the U.S. Harley sold 125,000 of them...not bad. United States Motorcycles Market - Data & Insight 2020 | MotorcyclesData

Weird how on forums it's only Harley that's ever in trouble though. Bet Suzuki would love to have Harley's problems.

I personally don't think motorcycles are in style right now as a toy. It happens and these things go in cycles. It seems like $30,000 side by sides are the hot ticket in North America. It'll change again at some point to the next cool thing.

I think killing off (or merging into softail) the Dyna line was a mistake. Guys my age (35) tend to ride Dyna's and not really into the softail's. Good used Dyna's are getting somewhat tough to find for decent money and there is certainly a following. I don't think anyone buys a new softail street bob, low rider and fat bob. Low rider S should sell now though just based on the following of the old one.

I'm personally not crazy about the softail line. Never have been but I do like the older ones better then the newer models. I'm not a buyer for those bikes so I've never thought much about them and what it is I don't like about the newer line but I just don't.

The touring line moves bikes. Things seem fine there.

Kill the street line in North America. No one wants it. Harley is a premium product and people expect as much out of them. Like @BigEvilDoer mentioned above, it's junk. Let Honda do the entry level bike thing. They do it really well.
 

osons

New member
You guys make it sound like all Harley wants to sell is FL's (Since most of you know nothing of Harleys, that's the large frame one, like the Road King, or the cop bike).
Let's get this straight, Harley wants out of the big air cooled bike market... the problem is the people that want to buy Harley's want big air cooled bikes... no matter where they sell them.
Harley's big air cooled bikes will not pass CAFE or euro5 emissions for much longer. To go forward they NEED a water cooled head. Harley is being legislated out of their core market.

... and while we're talking about their core market, North America, Harley knows their buyers are aging out, AND the economy is flat. Harley wants/ needs new market. Harley wants to be in Asia. In 2020, Asia is where it's at

Harley cannot push their dealer network much harder than they already have.
They almost had a revolution when they dictated ALL Harley dealers be a one line dealer (That's where Honda got the idea... and look how well it's worked out for them), which wiped out about a third of Harley dealers, and the ones that stayed had to spend LARGE to keep the Harley line (You will notice that ALL Harley dealers now have large, clean, modern showrooms with lots of exposure. They have to be located on a major thoroughfare or have highway frontage for a big sign).


They tried that with the Buells. Harley dealers DID NOT want the Buells, but Harley stuffed them down the dealer's throats, they couldn't get big bikes without buying a certain number of Buells... which led to dealers DUMPING Buells at a loss. That ****** off a LOT of Harley dealers.
They have had water cooled heads from 2014.
 

J_F

gringo diablo
Site Supporter
40 years ago they had some neat bikes
sadly they were junk

15 minute official promo video
not a single pirate to be seen

 
Wow another CEO resigned this time from Harley Davidson. That makes 11 CEO resignations in just a few weeks. The others were: Disney, Bayer, MasterCard, Victoria's Secret, Hulu, Uber Eats, IBM, MGM resorts, Linked In, and SalesForce. All of this in less than one month.
 

sburns

Well-known member
Let's get this straight, Harley wants out of the big air cooled bike market... the problem is the people that want to buy Harley's want big air cooled bikes... no matter where they sell them.
Harley's big air cooled bikes will not pass CAFE or euro5 emissions for much longer. To go forward they NEED a water cooled head. Harley is being legislated out of their core market.
big bikes without buying a certain number of Buells... which led to dealers DUMPING Buells at a loss. That ****** off a LOT of Harley dealers.
I think they have already started moving passed air cooled with the new M8 engine. Some of them are what they called twin cooled, but doesn't seem like all the bikes with the M8 are watercooled, which seems kinda strange as I thought the M8 required water cooling.

Funny thing about the large touring bikes, there are guys who what even bigger bikes, calling for XL versions. Just what I've read on some HD forums. Some big dudes in the US, can't see them on anything smaller then a HD tourer.

As for the street series, mostly everything I have read makes them appear as junk bikes just to entice budget friendly buyers to the brand but offer very little. Maybe it is just a marketing product to get buyers into the dealers and sell them up to a different bike. But then again I have also read comments from owners who are pretty happy with them.
 

Roadghost

Well-known member
Sportster is the only air-cooled bike left. I prefer the air-cooled push rod engines because they're simple and reliable. I've never had problems with them.
 

Brian P

Well-known member
Moderator
Site Supporter
Harley's big air cooled bikes will not pass CAFE or euro5 emissions for much longer. To go forward they NEED a water cooled head. Harley is being legislated out of their core market.
Well, their core market is the USA. Euro 5 is about an order of magnitude more stringent than even the California USA emission standards with the exception of the evap requirements (TBH I'm not sure if Euro 5 addresses evap at all ... prior Euro standards did not). Judging by what's on the road in Europe, the European market for oversized, overweight cruisers and touring bikes has to be minuscule. (There are next to no Gold Wings, either.)

If the EPA and CARB don't change their requirements - and given the small size of the motorcycle market in North America, there's little motivation for that - H-D could keep on selling those models in North America but they would be trapped in North America. Not that there's much demand for them anywhere else, anyhow.

It sounds like the 500 and 750 were a failed attempt to break out of this mold.
 

sburns

Well-known member
Here's their problem in a nutshell. Always behind the curve. They should be making hand-sanitizer!
I am not so sure hand sanitizer is more effective then washing with soap and rinsing your hands. 🤷‍♂️
If anything they are ahead by offering a product to help keep you clean, from a non-traditional source manufacture.
 

pfbmgd

Well-known member
It sounds like the 500 and 750 were a failed attempt to break out of this mold.

They failed because they were crap bikes . The sales people will always push the 883 for a starter bike .
 

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