As much as we harp on the them, Harley-Davidson really is one of the few motorcycle companies that truly seems to grok the idea that motorcycles are about personal expression, and are an extension of a rider’s personality. This simple understanding has lead to the company’s brand marketing and lifestyle business strategy being taught in business schools around the world, tattoo parlors keeping a healthy array of Bar & Shield designs at the ready, and ensuring the State of South Dakota stays out of Canadian hands.
So it should come as no surprise then that the Milwaukee based company has started a factory-level customization program that will allow Harley-Davidson customers the ability to purchase a nearly one-of-a-kind motorcycle that is built from Harley’s 8,000+ genuine parts & accessories, which will then be built at the factory and shipped to the customer’s local dealer.
Called the H-D1 program, Harley plans on letting customers go wild with its parts bin, and when they need help, customization experts and consultants will be available to help advise on customization ideas. Slated to start February 4th, the H-D1 program is a clever way to get customers to think of Harley-Davidson for their customization needs, rather than going down the aftermarket route, although most smart dealerships are already active is pushing H-D Genuine Accessories on new buyers and current riders when they enter the store.
While this latest program seems to be just another layer being added into the Harley-Davidson “experience”, there could be some real potential for the H-D1 program if the customization consultants actually have a grain of originality and talent, and aren’t just dealers who sat through a slideshow presentation. If done right, Harley-Davidson could capitalize on a genuine opportunity to pull more of the custom chopper crowd back into its customer demographic, which could help breath some life and vitality into the stagnant company.
Of course things could just as easily go the other way, with this being the lipstick on the
hog pig that Harley-Davidson is trying to dress up. So far Harley-Davidson hasn’t release a great deal of detail on the new program, other than some hype marketing and website with a countdown ticker. Our favorite phrase at A&R is back for 2011, as time will tell on this one.