The last Buell rolled off the East Troy, Wisconsin assembly line this past November 12th, thus closing the final chapter for the American street bike company. After creating 136,923 motorcycles over the last 26 years, it is a Buell Lightning XB12Scg that will be the last motorcycle to bear Erik Buell’s name.
It’s been a few weeks since Harley-Davidson announced the immediate closure of its subsidiary Buell, where dealers began slashing prices both to liquidate stock and to cash-in on Harley’s $5,000 sale incentive. Basic economics dictates that any time a price is raised or lowered it has repercussions to the product’s resale value, and in the case of Buell’s sudden price drop and dumping of basically new bikes into the market, the consequences for current Buell owners seem dreary. Or are they?
In order to find an answer to that question, we asked Joshua Minix, former government think-tank Economist, and current John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at Harvard Law School, to wade through the implications of Buell’s closure, and how it affects the used Buell motorcycle market. Click past the jump for his analysis.
If you have time this weekend, you might want to take a stop by your local Buell dealer for a screaming deal. We just got this photo sent to us via A&R Streetlevel, and after calling a few shops in the SF/Bay Area we’ve heard some great prices and negotiating salesman on the other end of the phone. We’ve even heard of deals as low at $3,995 for an 1125CR. At that price, it doesn’t matter if Harley-Davidson honors Buell’s warranties, you can by enough parts bikes to your heart’s content.
What do you do when the financial arm of your company goes from making $100 million a year to losing $100 million a year? Why you kill off two other brands in your company of course. That is the move the Keith Wandell and the Harley-Davidson board of directors made yesterday with their announcement of shutting down Buell, and selling off MV Agusta. Realizing that the Harley-Davidson brand accounts for the majority of Harley-Davidson Inc.’s income, Harley-Davidson executives saw there being little choice but to sacrifice its other two holdings to save their namesake.
After releasing grim third-quarter financials today, Harley-Davidson has also announced that it is discontinuing Buell Motorcycles. In a somber video (posted after the jump), Erik Buell confirms the news, and praises the Buell team for taking on the industry giants with “this little American sportbike company.” Buell will continue to sell its motorcycle stock, and Harley-Davidson will continue to honor any warranties and part needs for Buell motorcycles.
Buell Motorcycle will be idling its East Troy plant during the months of November and December. During that time, employees will receive 8 days of paid vacation (and be essentially unemployed the rest of the time), but will retain their full medical benefits. The move by Buell isn’t all that uncommon for manufacturers who are experiencing a slow down in production, but surely sucks that “Happy Holidays” cheer out of the non-unionized shop.
The Buell XB12 series seems to have a few more gremlins than usual, as this is the 3rd time, in less than one year’s time, that the motorcycle has been recalled by Buell and the NHTSA. This is also the 2nd time that the XB12 has been recalled for a front-brake line routing problem, which could cause the line to rub against the front wheel, causing a hole to form, and a complete loss of front-braking power.
Noticeably missing from the 2010 Buell line-up, is the Buell Blast. The quirky, modest, and reasonably priced entry-level motorcycle that not only powers the bikes from Mac Motorcycles, but also sheds insight on what would happen if Tonka made a two-wheeler. While the bike provided a nice stepping stone for anyone that wanted to enter the world of motorcycling, it never fit into Buell’s image as an “American Sportbike” company. So Erik Buell crushed it.
The big news for Monday is that Buell has updated its model line-up for 2010. While we could probably make this an at length post, detailing everything new and great about the true American Sportbike brand, in reality it boils down to just marginal increases in the products look, feel, and general performance.
However, there are a couple points of interest we would like to point out. The 1125CR now has the color white (which does look rather good), and an integrated battery tender plug.
We’re not quite sure if this is because the bikes sit at the dealership for so long waiting to be sold, or if they get relegated to the back of the garage while their owners ride something else. Either way, Buell clearly seems to expect their bikes to sit around and do nothing for a while.
Buell Racing is trying to go legit, and make a bid at the American Superbike class in the AMA. After already making a joke out of the Daytona Superbike class, Buell is going to offer a turn-key bike for AMA licensed racers who are looking to take on real superbikes like Honda CBR1000RR and Yamaha R1.
If you’re an AMA licensed privateer, looking to compete in the American Superbike class, with about $40,000 burning a hole in your pocket, Buell is hoping you’ll take up the cause and waive the American flag for them.