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Author Topic: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO  (Read 4813 times)

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Bill E

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Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« on: October 29, 2020, 09:59:55 PM »

This is an article from Forbes magazine today.  A lot of promises from CEO Zeitz.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrylight/2020/10/29/harley-davidson-adore-your-core/

I hope he’s being honest and that H-D starts putting out some top of the line cycles.  For me though, after a life of Harley purchases (6 bikes and endless accessories), I’m done giving them my $ until they stop with the lip service and I see some proof they can get it together.  I’ve already committed to a Triumph purchase and it will be added to my garage next week.  Sorry Harley, but you did it to yourself.
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Mark

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2020, 10:46:23 PM »

Again, no mention of quality improvement.  Also, can anyone say there’s anything in the 2020 lineup that excites them?  Several times I’ve traded for a new bike, not because I was ready to trade, but because a new model excited me.
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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2020, 11:13:49 PM »

Several things HD could do - that their competition is already doing - that could sell more bikes.  Things like auto shift, adjustable on the fly suspension, adjustable windshield, etc. Those are not the only new things out there already, but would give some riders reasons to buy new. HD is following not leading in innovations.  But they have been lagging at that, their competition has moved ahead while they squandered R&D efforts on an electric bike so expensive it has a limited appeal - at best.

Wish them well, do not want to see HD fade away.  Keeping core customers happy & loyal is not exactly a cutting edge business strategy.  HD has taken existing customers for granted on issues such as quality control for a long time & if they can address that & play catch up to the competition, that would be a good sign. The new paint sets on the CVOs for example are nowhere near what they used to be & that no doubt has hurt sales. No bets on their actually accomplishing catch up innovations or improving QA reliability - at the present rate of sales decline HD will sell out to ?? & from there it will depend on what whoever their new owner is decides.   
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Ironhorse

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2020, 01:25:01 AM »

More promises from a company that fails to deliver,....yup it's 2020 alright.

I'm keeping my Harley, but my next bike will be a GoldWing.
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Cat Eye

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2020, 04:54:32 AM »

i wish that they would have defined who their core customers are.

Harley’s perception of core costumers vs reality has always been a  heated debate.

What do you think Harley’s core customers are:

Gender? 

Age.         

income?   

education? 

Miles driven a year? 
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Bill E

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2020, 05:37:22 AM »

 Good question... my guess is there are several types of customers that make up different “cores”.  I’m a core customer, I guess.  I’ve bought several new H-D bikes and have two that I’ll keep until I die. My 3 sons, ages 25-35, all have multiple bikes and say they are not ready for a Harley “yet“.  I had no desire to get anything but another Harley, but as I began seriously shopping, I realized I had been loyal to H-D without return on their part by way of putting a bike out there that was as good as other manufacturers. I just decided, I’m not going to give them my hard earned $ because I feel taken advantage of. The attitude is because you love H-D, you will pay higher $ for a lesser bike.  I love my Harley’s. I’ve been excited with each purchase I’ve made.  However, this time around the more serious I became about the next Harley, the more I realized I don’t owe it to them just because... and I found another bike I think is better, I’ve become excited about it, and I’m getting it.
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FLSTFI Dave

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2020, 07:02:56 AM »

I agree they should focus on what sells.  if 11 models added together are only 6% for total sales that is fat that can go.

That said, focus on core customers does make sense.  However they need to figure out what the core customer wants, and define the core customer. 

I would think my wife and I fit core customers or the people they want to keep.  Since 2009, between the two of us its been 15 new bikes, all but one touring bike.  In that have been 7 CVO bikes. We each ride an average of 24,000 miles a year. 

In these 11 years the quality has continued to go down.  My 2019 CVO is horrible quality.  I have had more warranty claims on it than my other six added together.  Resale value has tanked on the bikes.  The cost has continued to go up, the content on the bike has continued to go down.  The same frame and suspension is still used from 2009.  Head unit has been improved twice but still has lots of issues, blown speakers and not working as designed.  New motor is very nice, but had major issues for 3 years.  Suspension was at best ok compared to others brands in 2009.  Today it is plain garbage compared to other brands. 

Suspension for example, add Ohlin HD-259 rear shocks, 13" and Legend Axio front cartridges to a touring bike, my 13 King.  About 1800 dollars in upgrades and the bone stock Indian challenger rides better, handles better, for less money.....Not going to mention how much better the Goldwing is

Harley needs to update, and improve its touring bikes, as they account for almost 2/3 the sales.  They need to handle, they need good suspension but most of all they need quality and reliability.  Especially when charging more than the companion. 
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ultrarider123

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2020, 07:18:32 AM »

Well, since Bill already opened that box, I'll chime in. 

I've enjoyed, ridden, said some choice words over and had many, many enjoyable miles on the HD brand for the past 40 or so years.  My last two HD's were CVOs.  Ginger was probably one of my overall favorite Harleys and one Vickie still misses. 

Most here know I've moved to another brand.  I'm very happy with that move.  It's not perfect but it is much more refined in ride, motor, infotainment and sound system and build quality/attention to detail.  Harley can do that, too.  There is nothing stopping either brand or any brand from working toward becoming the best in class in their class.  What is stopping the MoCo, however, is pride, arrogance and animosity toward the very folks that keep them in business.  Until that attitude changes within the company, nothing else attempted will succeed.

I've been asked a few times will I ever own another Harley Davidson?  I don't say no but I do answer that currently, there is nothing for the past few years or, from what we can "see" for the near future that they do or will produce to move me back to them.
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DOCGSS

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2020, 10:44:22 AM »

I think from a business point of view Harley is on the right track. I do not believe that Harley's core customer base is merely looking for the best motorcycle period, if they were they would be buying only Goldwings or if reliability is the issue, Yamaha. Brand loyalty and purchase decisions are far more complex and emotional. My wife's 2018 Honda Oddesey van has had more recalls than all of the vehicles I have owned out together but she loves it. My BMW 440i I love and it has the third worse reliability record behind Fiat and Mercedes, BMW and MB enjoy incredible brand loyalty in spite if terrible reliability and high costs.

I own 3 motorcycles on of which is my 2020 HD SG CVO which I love and I have always had a HD in my stable. I think HD needs to make incremental changes to improve their bikes, so that they do not lose the HD character, if I wanted a Goldwing, and they are very impressive, I would have bought one, frame and suspension is where I think they should start. But in the end this repost is for the stockholders to whom they have a fiduciary responsibility, not to their customers. A lot of attitude change needs to happen there. Like warranty support instead or looking for a way not to honor it.
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Mark

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2020, 11:02:17 AM »

This isn’t helping either...Indian reports third quarter sales up by 40%. HD sat on their butt, fat and happy, for too long.  Indian has taken over flat track racing, just won first and third place at the King of the Baggers race at Laguna Seca, have introduced three water-cooled models, and their most recent bike, the Challenger, is basically a sport bike disguised as a bagger.  Meanwhile, HD hasn’t upgraded or come out with anything new, except a $30k electric motorcycle that no one will buy.   

https://auto.hindustantimes.com/auto/news/polaris-announces-40-higher-motorcycle-sales-in-third-quarter-41604045800388.html
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Ironhorse

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2020, 12:14:37 PM »

There is nothing stopping either brand or any brand from working toward becoming the best in class in their class.  What is stopping the MoCo, however, is pride, arrogance and animosity toward the very folks that keep them in business.  Until that attitude changes within the company, nothing else attempted will succeed.

Spot on!

So what that says is that HD doesn't care to make the best motorcycle, they only care to make profits. And the best way to make profits is to keep the "core customers" coming back with promises and bling. Could they make "the best" motorcycle? Probably,....but they choose not to. Instead they build a "good enough" motorcycle, as in "this is good enough for the core customers". Let's not beguile ourselves, the top of the line CVO with the biggest engine is still slower compared to the stock Honda GoldWing or Kawasaki Concours. So let's ask ourselves, is that by design? We don't know. What we do know is that HD has had every opportunity to design and build something that should be able to at least keep up with the Japanese imports in performance and dependability.  The question is, why haven't they? And what does it say about us who know this, and still buy the new Harleys?

I'm all for brand loyalty, as long as the brand is loyal to the buyer. And the best way to show that is by making a better and more dependable product at a reasonable price. This is 2020, folks are tired of hearing lies and promises and getting nothing in return but the same old thing or worse.

But I could be wrong.
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charles05663

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2020, 12:36:09 PM »

Spot on!

So what that says is that HD doesn't care to make the best motorcycle, they only care to make profits. And the best way to make profits is to keep the "core customers" coming back with promises and bling. Could they make "the best" motorcycle? Probably,....but they choose not to. Instead they build a "good enough" motorcycle, as in "this is good enough for the core customers". Let's not beguile ourselves, the top of the line CVO with the biggest engine is still slower compared to the stock Honda GoldWing or Kawasaki Concours. So let's ask ourselves, is that by design? We don't know. What we do know is that HD has had every opportunity to design and build something that should be able to at least keep up with the Japanese imports in performance and dependability.  The question is, why haven't they? And what does it say about us who know this, and still buy the new Harleys?

I'm all for brand loyalty, as long as the brand is loyal to the buyer. And the best way to show that is by making a better and more dependable product at a reasonable price. This is 2020, folks are tired of hearing lies and promises and getting nothing in return but the same old thing or worse.

But I could be wrong.

I suspect that is by design.  This way they don't eat into their upgrades.  I want a faster/bigger motor.  That is great.  Here is a $4000 upgrade that will give you the power you are looking for.  Oh, and if it breaks, it is your fault.

Sadly, HD is mostly about selling upgrades and accessories.  It is a big part of their strategy.

 :oops: :nixweiss:

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Ironhorse

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2020, 12:55:29 PM »

Sadly, HD is mostly about selling upgrades and accessories.  It is a big part of their strategy.

It's gotta be. Over on the Honda GoldWing and Kawasaki Concours sites when they want to add performance it's usually exhaust and an ecm flash, that's it. You don't see them tearing engines apart for heads, cams, throttle body injectors and all the "might as well" changes like lifters, cam plate, cam bearings, push rods, valve springs, oil pump, tensioners and exhaust. 

Once again, HD looks at their core customers and think, "These guys just spent $35k on a motorcycle, I bet we can convince them to spend $4k more on performance upgrades". Now how is that being loyal to the core customer? Is that taking care of the people who got you there, or sticking it to them?
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RivRaptor

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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2020, 01:14:32 PM »

A quote from the article, could someone please explain, "As reported by the Wall Street Journal, HD (Delivered on its strategy) Mr. Zeitz's strategy of shoring up the core customer base led HD to a profit surge in the 3rd Q of 2020.  Focusing on Core customers pays off." 

Huh?  What?  Is he referring to layoffs and closings or dropping some models?  Or are there some new & improved bikes out I don't know about?  Better replacement parts for existing bikes (rotors one example) I missed?  I'm confused-(Heavy dose of sarcasm inserted here!). Isn't it a little early to be tooting his horn?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2020, 01:24:30 PM by RivRaptor »
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Re: Promise from Harley Davidson CEO
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2020, 03:43:40 PM »

Three years ago I sent a letter to the old CEO about the water in the gauges. They blew me off saying that is the way they are designed to breath. So today I sent the new CEO a letter to see what his thoughts are. He said it takes 3-4 more times of effort to keep a buyer. I purchased 8 Harley's in the past 25 years and 5 were CVO's. I'm really looking at the Indians.
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