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Okay, you're the new CEO of Harley. Your job: make it better. What do you do?


Here's my .02 worth:

I would introduce a new model line. Harley loses a lot of business to customers who want a custom chopper "bar hopper". I'd bring in some high profile hotshot builder like Jesse James, Billy Lane, or Roger Bourget to head up the new division. (Sure that would cost millions right there, but hey.... I'm the new boss)

A harley factory custom chopper.... lean, mean, and loud. Give it some radical paint artwork, and make it affordable.
 

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They do sell customized bikes (Screaming Eagle Road Glide,Road King....etc..) ,but, when it comes to customizing , it's a "to each his own" kind of theory with Harley drivers . One mans pleasure is another mans pain , so they say .
 

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Affordable! Wow! Your really shaking things up at HQ. That would be cool though...a HD chop.
Me, I'd first have to overhaul the customer service side of things before I made more great products to provide sh*t support on. Could just be my bad luck and that of most people I know in my area, but man they need help. I'm sick and tired of being given wrong parts/info etc., and having them given to me like they're doing me a favor by doing it.
I know I should not paint all dealers and HD as a whole with the broad brush I have. Don't get me wrong I love HD. But If I were boss, I'd have that achilles' heel looked at.
 

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If I were the boss I'd have handled 2003 a little differently. Seems to me the MoCo forced everyone into a couple of choices of paint and convinced most customers that it was the boldest styling move since the fat bob tank. Saved them a boatload of money on paint in the process. Marketing brilliance, really. And the Gold Key package...

From a customer perspective I'd have liked to have seen something to really showcase Harley heritage. Maybe something 50-ish with a springy seat and kick starter (compression releases, of course). The Heritage Softail is close, but I want them big old soup can rear shocks. How about the Heritage theme on a Lowrider chassis and a powdercoat black Heritage Springer front end? I want big fat blackwalls and hardly any chrome.

But lets see, the MoCo saved a boatload on paint and had the public thanking them for it. Whereas I'd have spent a boatload of development on a bike that me and maybe one other guy would want. Better off that I remain a customer.

Chilly
 

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nerdicus said:
Okay, you're the new CEO of Harley. Your job: make it better. What do you do?


Here's my .02 worth:

I would introduce a new model line.
They're already doing this - its called the V-Rod, and most of the Harley world seems to have greeted it with sneers and whining. (These are usually people who haven't ridden one..)

As for the idea of making Harley custom choppers - the biggest obstacles are that as a "major" manufacturer they have to build bikes that pass Federal noise and emissions standards; and they have to build bikes that aren't going to attract personal-injury lawsuits. A radical stretched-out chopper is pretty near impossible to ride safely in many conditions. Also, custom choppers seem to be a little short on things like turn signals and rear view mirrors. Lastly, the economics of building true custom bikes are really not that good for a company like Harley. How big is the market for $50,000 (or even $30,000) bikes? Answer - not that big. And when you factor in the cost of designing and testing such beasts, Harley would probably lose money doing it. I think they are perfectly happy to leave the niche of ground-up custom bikes to folks like the Bourgets, Jesse James, etc. Harley probably makes twenty times more money from its HDFS financial services business alone than all the custom bike builders in the US do combined.

What Harley really needs to do is spend some money on the Buell line. Buell captured just 2% of the US sportbike market (they did even worse overseas). Sportbike riders are a whole other market - at least as big as the current Harley/cruiser market - that they are just not getting through to. Buell's latest "naked" bike is pretty good - but until they put an engine in it that can at least keep pace with the offerings from Honda, Kawasaki, etc. they are going to be swimming against the tide. If I were Harley CEO I'd either fix Buell so that it made money and grew market share, or get out of the sportbike business completely.
 

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It would absolutely be the customer service/sales folks.. You do not need a sales person to sell you a bike. HD sells itself just like a BMW. You would never ever find a rude BMW salesperson. In my experience, many of the HD sales folks are down right rude and need attitude adjustments.
 

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flycasterjoe said:
It would absolutely be the customer service/sales folks.. You do not need a sales person to sell you a bike. HD sells itself just like a BMW. You would never ever find a rude BMW salesperson. In my experience, many of the HD sales folks are down right rude and need attitude adjustments.
Yeah, they look down upon you. For some reason, anybody that works as a sales rep, parts, or service, for HD, think you know nothing. They get short with ya, they act like I don't know what I'm talking about, and they look at as if you couldn't afford an HD. I'm in a current situation where they can't tell the difference between a fatboy seat and a Deuce seat. Boy are they wrong. I can't wait to tell them "I told you so!"
 

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dave51 said:
Think I'd change the name to Dave-Davidson.
The BEST answer yet! Blahahahahahahaha! :D :D :D


wyo - citizen of the Republic of Dave
 

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I would fire the butthead that told me the reason that my new bike leaked was "it's a Sportster" :mad:
 

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More scantilly clad chicks on the showroom floor!!!! :D :D :D
 

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Not do much different. They are a smart company maximizing their investments.

Having said this, I don't think custom choppers would be a big idea. Small market. I can count on one hand the number of extreme choppers I see on the street for every 1000 bikes.

Harley needs to bring in new riders and younger riders. The baby boom population (Harley's bread & butter at this time) is getting older, and we're reaching the end of this demographic.

The V-Rod is a start. Look for another hot Revolution based bike this autumn. Delivering appealng bikes to a youthful rider is key also. I'm afraid the new Buells are falling short. They are tiny, underpowered bikes.
 

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I would have all the parts that are currently foreign made, starter, shocks, forks, etc. replaced with American made parts. I'm sure we can build quality products just as well as the the foreigners for the same price. Lets make 'em like they were long ago. American!!
 

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ftby24 said:


Yeah, they look down upon you. For some reason, anybody that works as a sales rep, parts, or service, for HD, think you know nothing. They get short with ya, they act like I don't know what I'm talking about, and they look at as if you couldn't afford an HD. I'm in a current situation where they can't tell the difference between a fatboy seat and a Deuce seat. Boy are they wrong. I can't wait to tell them "I told you so!"
I really didn't have this kind of an experience when I bought mine. They wanted to do nothing but answer my questions and help me out but then again maybe I am just naive.

As for changing the MoCo, I would like to see more reasonable prices on accessories for the bikes. It is almost like you are forced to go elsewhere to get a decent price. I think this would pull more people into the show room which in turn sell more bikes and make me rich.:D
 

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I'd go shopping around my "franchises" and everytime I ran into one of the ass*oles that permeate these sales and "service" people I'd pull their franchise, until word got out that I won't have some two-bit stealerships dragging my company's good name through the mud.

Oh yeah, and send Dave Price a big fat check to keep this forum open so I could keep track of what my customers were thinking!
 

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Hey Gilesie,
You've got something there. I'm Charles Davis Jr. ...... Hence I'm "cHarley Davis'son.
I've heard it all my life. I'm sure my son will also, but since I didn't name him after me it will end with him.
 
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