Promotions: The Only Way to Sell Harley’s Right Now

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At the end of last year, we announced where if you bought a Sportster motorcycle (sadly, not the XR1200), you could receive the MSRP value of the bike if you traded it in the following year for “bigger” model.

The promotion was such a great success apparently, that now that it has ended, Harley-Davidson sales have slumped off.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales fell 20%-25% after the promotion ended, based on an analysis done by Craig Kennison for Robert W. Baird & Co.

Baird surveyed 75 Harley dealers, and found that new bike sales were down from a year ago. Additonally, used Harley sales fell 5%-10%.

New motorcycle sales dropped after a recent promotion in which Harley guaranteed the value of a Sportster when traded for one of the company’s more expensive bikes. Riders could get a new or recently purchased Sportster’s original MSRP value when they traded up to a Big Twin or VRSC motorcycle through March 31 of 2009.

The report by Baird showed that 63% of the Harley dealerships surveyed in late April and May were back to selling their bikes below MSRP. Compare that to the 36% that were selling bikes below MSRP in the same period a year ago.

To stimulate sales, dealers said they wanted Harley-Davidson to launch more promotions, the Journal Sentinel reported. A current promotion allowing customers to test ride a Harley has seen mixed dealer reaction.

Source: PowerSports Business

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.