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Introduction

Founded in the first decade of the 20th century, Harley Davidson is a motorcycle company based in the US. It specializes in selling motorcycles for cruising on highways. Their motorcycles have a different design from other companies that manufacture motorcycle. Their motorcycles have an exhaust note too. It was able to survive the Great Depression, and this made it one of the two major motorcycle manufacturers to conquer the challenge (Pope & Mack, 2009, p. 167). In addition, the company was able to carry on even during the period when the poor quality products were being controlled by the government. It was able to come through the period when American companies faced a stiff competition from their Japanese counter parts. The company has been able to maintain a loyalty in its brand community. Through events, museum, and clubs, the company has been able to be active.

Harley Davidson History

In the fiscal year 1903, Harley Davidson motorcycle was formed in Milwaukee. Bill Harley was able to create a motor cycle that was one cylinder. The motorcycles were created for racing. They were then powered by a combustion engine that had one cylinder. Their workshop was a shade that was wooden. On the door of the workshop’s shed, Harley inscribed the words, Harley Division Motor Company (Pope & Mack, 2009, p. 166). 800 dealers of motorcycles were able to be gotten ten years after the company was formed. Five years afterwards, they were able to sell their motorcycles to the Detroit police. By the fiscal year 1925, Harley Davidson was able to sell its motorcycles to over 2500 police units. In the fiscal year 1909, the company created the first brand of Harley-Davidson’s V-Twin. This brand became a hallmark in the motorcycle industry. However, in the fiscal year 1911, the V-Twin was left out because of having troubles with the valve. In the same year, the brand, V-Twain was reintroduced back into the market. Consequently, it became a great success and brought a lot of gains to the company.

In the fiscal year1918, Harley-Davidson contributed to the military efforts of the American army. This is because the company delivered many motorcycles to the US military. The motorcycles were significant as they were employed in the First World War. The company gave almost 20000 motorcycles to the US military during the war. During the same year, the company sold half of its motorcycles to the US military (Pope & Mack, 2009, p. 167). In the fiscal year 1918, Harley had its first success that was notable. To prove that its motorcycles were dependable, Harley took part in racing activities. Additionally, with 188 miles per gallon, the bikes were able to win the economy challenge. In the fiscal year 1921, Harley was the first motorcycle to be a race champion. It raced on a board track with the average speed of 100Mph in California. Consequently, many racers owed their successes as racer to the Harley motorcycles. In the fiscal year 1941, model WLA was produced by the company. The motorcycle had leg shields made from metal, high clearance fenders, and black out lights. From 1941 to 1945, America was involved in the Second World War. Consequently, Harley was able to produce many of its motor cycles to the military. Harley created 88,000 WLA models for the American military by the end of the Second World War (Pope & Mack, 2009, p. 167). In addition, they were able to produce 20000 models for the Canadians. The end of the war resulted in a lot of motorcycles that remained. The ex-soldiers arranged for the motorcycles to be custom made for them. To decrease the weight of the bikes, the fenders were either shortened or entirely removed. The bikes were referred to as bobbers. Consequently, this invention resulted in the making of choppers.

However, Harley’s sale was reduced by the introduction of a cheaper import of motorcycles from Britain and Japan. In addition, many customers complained that Harley had motorcycles that were of poor quality. This was as a result of the Harley Company producing their motorcycles very quickly. The company was countering the cheap motorcycle imports from Britain and Japan. Ironically, this led to the rebirth in the hearts of Americans for motorcycles. This made the company take a lot of gains. In the fiscal year 1969, Harley-Davidson was bought by American Machine and Foundry. Nevertheless, the company was bought back in the fiscal year 1981 by the senior management. In the 1980s, the Harley Company slowly became a renowned for its motorcycle business. The company was able to beat out Honda, a motorcycle company that was successful at that time (Pope & Mack, 2009, p. 168). In the fiscal year 1983, the Harley Owners Group was created with 30000 members. Presently, there are a million members of the company who exist globally. In the fiscal 2008, the company was able to open the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. The museum was supposed to create a bond between the company and the riders who employ the motorcycles. Consequently, this would improve the brand publicly.

Harley-Davidson Goals, Values, and the Company’s Segments

The company devotes itself to philanthropy. This has been able to set it apart from the other motorcycle companies. For Harley, satisfying the customers is more than making motorcycles. The company believes that developing the close ties with the customers and stakeholders are the best way of leading the business. This is what has created the brand to be a legendary in the world. The company holds fundamental values like respecting people, telling the truth, being fair in the businesses and supporting intellectual curiosity. To the company, its values are the center of how its businesses are managed. Additionally, these values direct the course of action and serve as a platform on which major choices are made by the company. The values are vital as they illustrate how the workers, suppliers, and dealers in the company relate to each other. The company runs under two divisions such as motorcycle and related products and financial services. Under the financial services, various companies that do business with Harley. These companies offer retail and wholesale financing as insurance providers and agents (Pope & Mack, 2009, p. 168). In the fiscal 2008, Harley-Davidson financial services have reduced by 61%. In the fiscal year 2009, a billionaire, Warren Berkshire, was able to put in $300 million in Harley. This made him the greatest shareholder in the company.

 In the motorcycles and related products segment, there are various parts like General merchandise, licensing, parts and accessories, and motorcycles. The global net revenue of the fiscal years 2008, 2007, and 2006 is 15.4%, 15.2%, and 14.9%. Awareness amongst its customers is created for the company’s most vital brand. Normally, this is with regards to licensing. Harley-Davidson’s licensing products comprise of small leather goods, toys, jewelry, and t-shirts. Many of the company’s licensing activities take place in America. However, the company has begun to expand its territories internationally. For instance, in the fiscal year 2010, the company was able to open up its five India dealership (Pope & Mack, 2009, p. 169). Historically, the high import tariff placed on motorcycles prevented the company from conducting its business in India. In the fiscal year 2009, the company declared that 300 to 400 hourly jobs will be mitigated. This was on top of the 1100 jobs that they had planned to remove in that time frame. In the fiscal year 2009, the sales of motorcycles decreased. This is because Harley was shutting down several of its facilities. Despite this loss, the company still remained profitable during the economic crisis. In the US, the sales were able to reduce by 35% while in the non American sales, the sales reduced by 18%. This means that the company had more sales in its firm outside the US than in their headquarters. Revenues gained from licensing motorcycles for fiscal years 2008, 2007, and 2006 were $45.4 million, $46.0 million and $45.5 million. The global sales of all the motorcycles in the years 2008, 2007, and 2006 comprised 80% of the total net revenue.

Harley Davidson’s Marketing and Distribution Approach

In the US, the company has 686 full-service dealerships that are independently owned. Harley Davidson has been able to split its marketing strategies into various segments like customer events, dealer promotion, direct mailing or advertising on the national TV. In addition, the company has been able to create special promotional events and sponsor racing activities in many rallies and shows. The lifestyle and products created by Harley-Davidson have been promoted through the Harley Owners group. The company has become one of the largest motorcycle companies that is sponsored by great organizations. For instance, The Buell Rider’s Adventure Group (BRAG) has been able to collaborate with Harley-Davidson to support major events and motorcycle rallies (Pope & Mack, 2009, p. 171). Companies such as Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Hyundai are some of the forces that compete with Harley-Davidson. In fiscal year 2000, the company formed the Motorcycling academy. This was done to reach out to the clients that do not ride motorcycles and other motorcycle riders too. Through dealerships all over US, the company has been able to train both riders and non-riders. This makes them be able to experience their lifestyle and products.

Internationally, Harley-Davidson has been able to take its products so that they can compete according to the standard and performance of other motorcycles. For instance, the Buell 1125R, MV model, and Harley-Division XR 1200 are some of the products sold internationally. The company has been able to compete with Japan, Australia, and Canada. In Canada, the company has been able to have a filed based registration in the years 2008, 2007, and 2006 of 41.9%, 39%, and 38.2%. The company has been able to have full service dealership outside the US. For instance, it has 71 dealerships in Canada, 201 in Asia, 383 in Europe, and 32 in Latin America. In the fiscal year 2008, Harley-Davidson generated revenue of approximately $5 billion. This was a 2.35 decrease to the fiscal year 2007’s $5.73 billion. In the fiscal year 2009, the company shipped 264000 new motorcycles (Pope& Mack, 2009, p. 172). This was a reduction as in the fiscal year 2008; the company was able to ship 273000 motorcycles. In terms of diversity, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda are more equipped than Harley. Presently, there has been a reduction in the sale of Yamaha’s motorcycles. Consequently, this has resulted in several shutdowns of its factories in Japan. Honda has been able to have favorable sales in Asia. In addition, it is aiming to expand its markets in India. Honda seeks to recover in the European continent while gaining maximum profits in the US. The other motorcycle companies have managed to diversify and offer their customers many other products than motorcycle. Kawasaki manufactures motorcycles as a part of the products they offer their customers. The best manufactures of off-snow vehicles and snow mobiles is the Polaris Company. Moreover, it is renowned for its production of motorcycles employed for touring and Victory cruisers. Polaris had done that by the year fiscal 2009, they should have achieved the $ 3 billion in overall sales. Currently, its main focus is to ensure that new products like luxury touring motorcycles are developed. 

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