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Old 23rd October 2017, 20:06   #31
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

I currently ride with several HD guys in the US. Plus at least 4 guys in my office are diehard fans. So imagine my lunch/coffee discussions.

The stereotypical description of Harley owners are changing. Well, there are some who want to relate to that description. Millenials have not caught up with the trend. Recently HD converted an entire town to riders. There are doing everything it takes to get newer riders. Plus there is increased competition from Polaris via the Indian brand. They killed the Victory brand to aggressive pursue HD.

The falling sales in the US is not just limited to Harley. Only the Dirt bike/ATV segment continue to grow at a good rate (close to 10% in 2015). 2016 sales was about 487K units, lesser than 500K figures of 2015. Pre 2009, seen figures like 655K units.

Well the above is not affected the premium players as much. The premium Triumph, Ducati and BMW continue to climb. I heard Triumph is squeezing smaller dealers into dedicating more floor space for their line. Also consolidating dealers after success of recent models.

Another reason I can see is the well organized used road bike market. You can buy low mileage newer models for 1000s less than retail. While the case is not same for dirt bikes and the segment is pushing forward with double digit sales growth. 72% of the HD dealers who took the powersports business survey said used sales is very strong. Rental fleet sales are also upbeat.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 24th October 2017 at 01:00.
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Old 23rd October 2017, 20:22   #32
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
.

There are several Harley owners on the forum, are there enough posts related to reliability, fit and finish to keep propagating the myth?
That is not a myth!
Remember the Street 750's poor brakes issue in India?
The way HD Management handled that issue was hardly gracious.

HD surely lost a few customers in India for it's entry level bikes, due to that fiasco alone.
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Old 23rd October 2017, 21:11   #33
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

For someone who can afford a high-end Harley , say a Fatbob , it makes more sense to go for a Triumph Thunderbird . Reasons being :

(a) It has immense road presence
(b) Its belt driven
(c) ABS comes as a standard , unlike Harley .

If I have that much of funds at my disposal , I will surely invest on a Triumph Thunderbird Storm . I haven't seen much of this bike on Bangalore streets , but compared to a superlow or a fatbob it does look like VFM
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Old 23rd October 2017, 21:54   #34
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishek46 View Post
That is not a myth!
Remember the Street 750's poor brakes issue in India?
The way HD Management handled that issue was hardly gracious.

HD surely lost a few customers in India for it's entry level bikes, due to that fiasco alone.
Yes, I do know about the 750's brakes. I have ridden the bike, know people who own the bike and also know that it has nothing to do with reliability, fit or finish.

Cheers

Ride Safe.

Last edited by GTO : 24th October 2017 at 22:43. Reason: Watch the tone - NO TROLLING on Team-BHP
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Old 23rd October 2017, 23:15   #35
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjt2012 View Post
...Still people buy because of its cult following, which sooner or later people will realise was stupidity.
In 2015 I was stupid and bought this machine:

Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down-img20161215wa0013.jpg

2 years down the road, a month back in Dussehra, became stupid one more time and exchanged previous instance of stupidity with this machine:

Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down-img_20171009_1829423.jpg

Over a decade ago, early 2006, despite this machine struggling to do even 30k numbers in a full year (now it does nearly 40k / month), I picked it:

Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down-bullet_10y2.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
3. Reliability, fit & finish aren't perfect.
Looks like I have the knack of picking up most unreliable, old school and ugly machines and then enjoy them like this:

Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down-img_20171018_1050033.jpg

Looks like people with least (or no) ownership experience have most insights

Not amazed!

-BJ

Last edited by bj96 : 23rd October 2017 at 23:35. Reason: typos and odds
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Old 24th October 2017, 00:13   #36
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

My 2 cents: Its not all negative for Harley. Their models are good and also they are picking up on reliability.

But - Harley does face a tough sell in many markets. The north east has limited riding season to boot, the Europeans(KTM, Ducati, Triumph) have upped their game, Dirt bikes are the big hot thing right now and smaller is better is the name of the game currently.

Second is a demographic issue. If you dont ride the big bikes of harley, you are not as welcome to a group. Even a 60 year old lady who rides in our office says that "Oh your bike is small". One more example was a rider switching to a ducati as the hog group rode from one bar to another. More of chatting about the amount of chrome on the bikes and less of riding was a complaint! I own a ducati and the clubs really treat you well.

Third - Japs have launched a lot of cruisers in the market. Honda goldwing, honda shadow and the suzuki to name a few. Harley has nothing to offer to the sport bike riders.

Fourth - Owning a new harley is more expensive than owning a entry level sedan. The service costs are higher than a car, and when the sales team is selling you a service package, you do know labor aint cheap. Heck ducati ranks better than a harley in reliability?

American market is different than the indian market. In india Harley is a highly aspirational brand with the lifestyle and plus its new in the market. In the US, you can find alot of Used bikes of all makes and models. My state of New Hampshire has the highest per capita ownership of motorcycles when our riding season is only from May till october and has one of the biggest used motorcycle store in the country with a ready inventory of close to 600 motorcycles. Would you rather buy a New motorcycle for $20000 or would you buy something used for $8000?

On a note for education loans - Average college costs $35000 per year. That's $140000 when you graduate. Now will you spend another $20000 for a bike when the cars are cheaper?

Maddy

Last edited by tsk1979 : 24th October 2017 at 01:00.
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Old 24th October 2017, 04:39   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bj96 View Post
In 2015 I was stupid and bought this machine
It's a great looking bike you have there, point taken; it's each persons perception and experience of the product ; did not mean to judge .

Last edited by mobike008 : 24th October 2017 at 10:41. Reason: Please avoid quoting large text for a short reply
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Old 24th October 2017, 08:18   #38
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

Anyone that has seen Wild Hogs will know the two categories of riders in it.

What category does the large majority of Indian HD riders fall into?

Before someone flames me: I started using motorcycles in India in 1977, in what was a different country and different roads/road manners. Riders were not safe even then, but I never felt as at risk on my bikes on Indian roads in those years as I did in the recent times before I decided to sell my Bullets and call it a day. I agree it may just be an age thing along with the realisation that the inevitable spills will cause harm to the body that will now take a lot longer to heal. But even in 2007, when I bought my last RE, it was to take it for rides on roads less travelled in the hills of Western Maharashtra where it was a quick ride to get there from home. Now, even that takes an hour or more of riding each way with assorted traffic thundering around you, so the risk/reward equation stopped making sense. If I want to get to the hills, the Gypsy serves better now.

But it is not easy now in India to be the kind of Wild Hog that Travolta and friends were. Hilarious movie, though, even for folks that aren't HD fans.
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Old 24th October 2017, 10:49   #39
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

Harleys or superbikes category is meant for liesure riding (IMO, commuting on a Harleys or most other superbikes is not a great idea especially in a country like India as traffic conditions are not conducive for riding these big bikes due to heating, power and weight issues) but, if owners choose to use their big bikes for commuting then it is purely their call but, they will certainly not have a comfortable time on saddle

As another member rightly commented, Harleys and Bullets feel like raw materials and have nothing refined about their experiences. Having owned a RE Classic 500 for nearly 4 years, I had developed an affection towards the brand but, when I discovered big bikes then I started thinking with my head and realized hanging on to emotions that RE is a wonderful experience is a naive thing to do especially when you are exposed to big bikes which have powerful, extremely smooth motors which ride and handle in an almost surreal way. Well, yeah RE experience was nice but, only till the time you are not exposed to big bikes

I enjoyed my 4 years on Classic 500 and, one fine day decided to upgrade to a Triumph Bonneville and owned both of them side-by-side for nearly a year.

This is when reality struck me, It started to dawn on me that I am riding the bullet lot lesser and each and every-time would reach for keys of my Bonnie since the difference in riding experience was absolutely stark. This allowed me to take a quick decision to get rid of my bullet and enjoy the finer things in life. I personal belief is to move on in life and not hang on to emotions even if happier times lie ahead of us in future

Here is a comparison report of Iron 883 vs. Bonnie that I shared back in time. You can see how easy it was for me to chose a Bonnie over an Iron 883

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superb...ml#post3354264

Coming back to Harleys, I have ridden most of them (Street 750, Iron 883, 48, Fat Bob, Dyna Super Glide in India) and have Infact spent a full day riding in torrential rains in Japan when Harley invited Team-BHP to experience the improved 750, 883 and 48' .

If you compare Harleys with competition who are launching truly improved bikes, there was nothing really improved with new Harley's except a lot of marketing lingo about improvements which are mostly cosmetic

Here is my Japan Harley Ride report :

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superb...ml#post3816579

I'm yet to ride my favorite model from Harley line-up (Fat Boy) but, I'm assuming it may be nothing radically different as I have ridden the Triumph Thunderbird Storm which has a butter smooth engine and wonderful ride but, as with all cruisers handling does not truly exist.

And, according to my personal opinion such motorcycles do not belong in India (low GC..anyone?) and can only be enjoyed on arrow straight beautifully tarred roads of USA or other such countries (Well, come to think of it, what is there to enjoy riding a motorcycle in an arrow straight line? I personally dont enjoy straight 4-lane highways and start yawning 50kms into it)

No offense to Harley owners, I find everything about Harley's appalling (except the 750 which I actually enjoyed riding the most, sadly Harley fanboys think is not even a Harley), their engines are coarse, braking experience is sub-par, ride experience is like steel rods going through your back when you go over slightest of bad roads, less said about handling, it's literally scary to take corners. Only time you feel comfortable astride a Harley is when you are on straight tarred roads. This essentially takes away the fun of riding a motorcycle. Ask any motorcycle enthusiast, if you cannot enjoy corners then that motorcycle is NOT worth riding/buying

I lived in USA for a little while and multiple business visits since 2003, I totally agree with Jeroen comments that most Harley riders are 50+, big guys with tattoos and beards living their alter ego's over weekends. Their idea of fun is large group rides and enjoying the ruckus they create with their loud engines..Haha

Another thing that legendary is Harley owners attitude which is not even favorable to their own clan because they look down upon Harley owners with smaller bikes. I have heard multiple stories of how smaller Harley owners are sneered at which does not add up to the overall experience of owning one

To sum up, Unless Harleys can completely overhaul their entire technology which is highly doubtful from the existing rustic, torquey, enjoy-in-a-straight line theme to compete with their competitors, I personally feel they will continue to lose their market-share as time goes by and I truly doubt if they can do anything about it as globally both young and old alike are choosing different styled category motorcycles (Classic, Naked, Adventure/Sport) theme as comfort, smoothness, handling is becoming a priority over style-statement which made Harley popular in the first place
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Old 24th October 2017, 11:15   #40
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
Yes, I do know about the 750's brakes. I have ridden the bike, know people who own the bike and also know that it has nothing to do with reliability, fit or finish.
Well, I too have ridden it. I found the switch-gear, brakes and few other bits to be shoddily finished (Just, like many other reviewers) !

And by the way, it was because of the same Whining customers, PR mess etc, that HD rolled out revised brakes on the Street after sometime.

The Street is a good bike with an excellent engine, despite the fit/finish and braking issues. That is why owners love their machines, in spite of it's flaws.

Last edited by GTO : 24th October 2017 at 22:44. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 24th October 2017, 14:39   #41
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

Moderator's Note: Ok, we do see some very clear signs of thinly veiled attempts to create a stir through some "less-than-charitable" comments on others from some of you on this thread. Please stop now.

Everyone has a right to have a view and air that as well within reasonable limits. If we do not agree with someone's view, just note that and move on. Or on the contrary if you are really up to it present the alternate facts to support your views. Sarcasms and barbs on individuals is highly discouraged.
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Old 24th October 2017, 20:45   #42
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
I will not agree with the 4th point, that is Whoever is a bit passionate about Motorcycles knows Harley Davidson.
I totally second you on this. I have been asked by my office guard and a parking wala pointing to my Street Twin "Sir kya yeh Harley hai?" I had to tell them yeh UK ki Harley hai.
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Old 27th October 2017, 16:35   #43
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Harleys or superbikes category is meant for liesure riding (IMO, commuting on a Harleys or most other superbikes is not a great idea especially in a country like India as traffic conditions are not conducive for riding these big bikes due to heating, power and weight issues) but, if owners choose to use their big bikes for commuting then it is purely their call but, they will certainly not have a comfortable time on saddle
I think you've nailed it with your post. I could not agree more.
The Harley and the RE brands survive purely because of their legendary-nostalgia-retro-badass imagery. Harley also does this take on the 'freedom' thing which I personally think is pure hot air. Another thing contributing is the group rides and camaraderie to be found in the HOGs and various RE bullet communities.

I have owned both brands and I still am holding on to a Harley. The bikes are raw, too much vibrations, loud and very unrefined. They are sure shot attention grabbers and an have an instantly identifiable branding. I cannot deny that there is a certain feeling of machismo and badass-ery when riding the Harley with its V twin sound and customisable features. But I don't think that is enough to survive in this day and age of discerning riders, better refined bikes with more features, butter smooth engine and much better handling.
The maintenance and servicing costs of HD bikes are also prohibitive.

If they change too much and modernise a lot, they run the risk of loosing their core fan base. I guess there will always be a small niche market for Harleys and RE bikes. But there is no escaping the fact that they are a brand that is on a decline, but may not disappear altogether in the foreseeable future.

My two cents.

Cheerio!
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Old 29th October 2017, 08:30   #44
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson: Sales down, profits down

If you guys attend any of the hog rallies you will realize that those people love their Harleys and are passionate about it. Premium motorcycles are destined to be nitch and limited market in the coming future. With self driving and ev tech about to go mainstream I see the ice motorcycles having limited success run in the future. With these tech the newer generation will see the motorcycle as an unnecessary hazard so I see more shrinking market. Not just for Harley but every other major premium motorcycle manufacturer. And once these bikes go electric the ice tech these manufacturers pioneered and nurtured will be useless. Then I see them being challenged by newer companies and start-ups competing with them on a very level playing ground.
I think we got about a decade and a half to enjoy these beautiful machines so stop being judgemental and enjoy your ride.
ps - I own a Harley which I ride daily
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Old 1st February 2018, 08:58   #45
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Default Harley in trouble. Profit & sales down, Kansas plant to shut

https://jalopnik.com/harley-davidson...er-1822557878/

Quote:
Harley-Davidson worldwide retail motorcycle sales fell 6.7% in 2017 compared to 2016. The company’s U.S. sales fell 8.5% and international sales were down 3.9%.
Quote:
They will be closing a plant in Kansas City, Missouri, the company disclosed today, while reporting fourth-quarter profits that fell 82 percent (!) compared to the fourth quarter of last year.
India however looks stable for now.

Wonder what is stopping them from bringing the Street 500 to our market. With fall in sales in the US market, they should be more aggressive in expanding to countries like India.
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