Don’t adjust your computer screen, you’re at the right website…and no Harley-Davidson hasn’t taken over A&R, but the Milwaukee company certainly has been busy the past few weeks. To recap, Harley-Davidson recently agreed keep its Monemonee Falls and Tomahawk plants in Wisconsin after the labor unions agreed to workforce concessions (getting paid $215,000 a head for each laid off worker in the process) and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce handed out a $20 million tax break.

That victory was offset by Harley-Davidson getting dumped last month by long-time ad agency Carmichael Lynch, with a classic “it’s not you, it’s me” press release (which if high school dating us taught us nothing, means it really is YOU). Meanwhile this week, Harley was dumped in a different fashion when Interbrand, the world’s largest brand consultancy firm, dropped the Bar & Shield brand 22 places on its T0p 100 brands list, down to 97th, and devalued the Harley-Davidson brand by over $1 billion in brand equity. This is of course nothing compared to the coup de grâce, where Harley-Davidson sold MV Agusta for €1, after buying the bankrupt Italian brand for $100 million two years ago.

Hoping to right the ship, Harley-Davidson announced today that it has created a 13th Board of Directors seat, and filled it with Levi Strauss & Co. CEO R. John Anderson.

Anderson’s presence to the board will bring experience in growing sales in Asian markets, not to mention managing one of the largest apparel brands in the free world. Levi Strauss & Co. is of course the owner of the Levi’s jeans brand, which has customer profile that’s very similar to the one Harley-Davidson is trying to crack into. Harley-Davidson isn’t saying what the exact motivation was for bringing Anderson into the fold, but with his operational and foreign experience, we imagine it has to do with finding places to trim fat from the carcass, and helping the Bar & Shield grow in the booming Asian markets.

Welcome to the party Mr. Anderson, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Source: Harley-Davidson

  • irksome

    Sounds more like he’s being brought in to help them sell more pirate costumes.

    Let’s see, what’s the scorecard now: Bought MV for what, $10 million? And sold it back to the same guy for $1? Okay, what else: Screwed the pooch on Buell by trying to sell them through their existing dealers and then screwed Erik Buell. Blackmailed the union into accepting massive layoffs, thereby disenfranchising their supposed core constituency. Oh yeah, don’t forget the $16 an hr “casual workers” (their term) who will doubtless produce casual motorcycles casually. Oh yeah, and then bribed Wisconsin into giving them a $25 million tax write-off which should go over real big with anyone trying to keep a job and make ends meet WITHOUT a free gift from the state.

    What about axing some of the obviously overpaid execs who’ve perpetuated an archaic line of ’50s technology bikes and turned HD into a marketing firm that happens to still produce motorcycles? What happens when their buyers move up to RVs and walkers?

  • Mark

    So, what can a guy who’s company left the US, and now uses third world slave labor to sew a bunch of rags together and sell them for more money now than when they were made here offer HD?

    I suspect HD is very interested in learning how an iconic American Brand managed to abandon America while still successfully perpetuating it’s great American Brand image.

    I predict HD will close their Milwaukee manufacturing within 3 years despite the worker concessions and $25 million in tax breaks by the state. HD workers and the State just gave HD the down payment on that new plant in India or Brazil.

    I suggest that all current HD production employees brush up on their Indian and Portuguese, the righting is on the wall.

  • MikeD

    Who cares, let this ship go down full to the brim with it’s Crew (Board of Directors ).

    H-D= Horse Wagon Handling, Performance & Technology at F1 Car Prices.

  • Tom

    Mike, thousands of people will be out of work and many more hurt economically. Cheering the destruction of the lives of fellow Americans is quite un-American and best left to religious nuts living in caves in Pakistan.

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  • MikeD

    True, but not to worry… this won’t happen from one day to another (H-D is like a bad Pest, it won’t die easely).

    However, i sugest they(workers) keep in mind that that cash cow(H-D) won’t be around forever.

    P.S: There’s always unwanted casualties, all u can do is count your losses…I have lived it.

  • MTGR

    Finally, just what HD needed, yet another over-paid executive-in-charge who know nothing about the motorcycle industry and can slow the committee meetings even further!

    (and before everyone goes off on me, yes, that was an attempt at sarcasm – things can only get so ridiculous before humor becomes the only real way to respond)

    Considering their track record so far, Mark may have hit it on the head with the whole lets-learn-how-to-do-it-overseas-for-cheaper thing. Then again, Mike may also be right – at this stage what point is there in caring anymore?

  • Steveo

    I dont wish HD to leave. But frankly bad business is bad business. giving tax breaks, and concessions only means that other areas need to subsidize HD bad decisions.

    Our founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they saw what happens in our federal and even state budgets.

    If HD can’t make it just like everyother company let them sink. I am sorry if the company you work for is poorly run and the CEO might bankrupt your job but that is life. If HD bankrupts, odds are someone will purchase them cheaply turn something around and produce a vehicle that may actually sell.

    Bailouts are killing this country, and frankly I think they should be required to pay them back, if I ask for a loan to pay my taxes I still need to pay them back.

  • Steveo

    P.S. I grew up in west michigan, the home town of electrolux, Federal Mogul, master unit Die. I did watch employees offer concessions and tax breaks and the companies still left.

    To put it in perspective, electrolux had a paid absentism of 30% meaning only 70% of the work force paid actually did something. also 20 yrs ago employees out of highschool scored fair paying jobs and were young and fit. 20 yrs later they are paid more work less and are out of shape. Why did the company leave? Hmm maybe to get away from the employee not taking up their end of the bargain.

    Lastly my 93 yr old grandfather (in law) still tends a garden, and has chickens, he spent 50Yrs welding and repairing paper mill equipment (he retired when the new boss would check on him incessantly and asked when he was retiring, he said I guess right now and walked off the job). He still says the worst thing you can do is stop getting better, and the best thing we should do is let people starve if they don’t want to work bet that will get them working again. BTW he is blind has not driven in 15yrs, and has to stop every 20 or so steps because of dizziness but he still works and won’t stop.

    Boo Hoo I had a hard life boo hoo I cant make my debt payments, boo hoo I can’t get fast food everyday. Boo Hoo we are fat lazy over paid under efficient cows hoping for a hand out. Get over a job loss, learn to be a little leaner in the wallet and a little fatter with common sense.

  • Mark

    Steveo, you are drinking the right wing propaganda cool-aid. Blame it all on the fat lazy American workers. You can think what you want, but the facts are the facts.

    The American worker has become more productive every year for the last 10 years and is now at an all time high, yet wages are lower in real terms. So who’s not upholding their end of the bargain?

    I’ve worked and managed in both Union and non-Union shops over the last 30 years, and I can tell you that there are as many slackers in the work force today as there were 30 years ago. You will find them in any workplace and in any country, they are a constant and small percentage of any workforce, but the right wing propaganda machine has convinced you that this is now the norm.
    It’s an evil deception created by the right wing elite to get workers to vote against their own best interests and it works, as proven by your ridiculous statements.
    It’s exactly this attitude that is destroying this country, you are being used as a shill the right wing elite and they are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Sean

    Mark, relax bud. Go for a ride. Not everything is a MASSIVE RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY!

  • Steveo

    Hmm I doubt it seriously that I was raised by left winging hardcore straight ticket liberal parents that believe the same thing I wrote.

    Look around, Health care, manufacturing, and taxes are all way overpriced. I will not lie many items are better made in the USA>

    To quote the head designer at MPM (a mold company in my hometown) the chinese made products are just as precise but they lack a refined and quality steel. Mark you need to look at taxes, welfare, and handouts.

    If you have never studied it google the Laffer Curve you can’t argue fact, math or history.

    Harley is poorly run, produces inferior products and has milked the wealthiest per capita market segment. Problem is they age and have not adapted to a new generation. This happens to a lot of companies nowadays its going to happen a lot faster.

    (fact again ask your grandparents what soap, shave cream and other brands of products they used as kids) (most were bought out or closed) reason was they did not adapt. Chewing gum is a great example.

  • Steveo

    One more company that fails at marketing.

    RC cola wins hands down in 3 way taste tests period, time and time again. But they are a small bottler. Harley won hands down for years on brand image and market control. Now they did not adapt and follow trends.

    I guess that I grew up and didn’t want to be a 24/7 biker gang member or a weekend wannabe with a lot of cash for chrome. So I bought a honda, suzuki and yamaha bike and am happy with the crowd I fit in.

    (just another example the auto shop next door to mine has 6 harley riders. I asked them one day if I could revalve their front ends with race tech valves I promised labor for free, if they pulled the forks and bought parts. Everyone of them declined said that it isn’t worth it. “I don’t need that stuff”) this is and still is Harley’s ideal cliental they do not want someone that will try to either improve the product or find out its inferiority.

  • Aptimus Prime

    This is smart. Motorcycling is having a culture crisis, and no one knows more about cultural marketing that Levi Strauss. They are one of the world’s most ubiquitous brands.

    More motorcycle companies need to follow the likes of Harley Davidson and Ducati by branching out into merchandising and cross branding exercises. Both Harley and Ducati are chided for cross-branding, but it’s mainly the culture that they promote that rubs everyone the wrong way. Harley stands for bloated bikes with bloated people who can’t handle money properly. Ducati stands for living room art and and people with more dollars than sense.

    I don’t believe that the people who own HD’s or Ducatis exemplify those traits, but those companies have actually created very bad culture marketing. The earn a profit due to the ignorance of the casual customers who know the brand but not the connotations of the brand. The core functions independent of the marketing hype and the whims of casual customers.

    Mark, you need to get an education. Real wage means nothing, it’s purchasing power parity and the cost-of-living index that are most important. If real wages went up 10% every year but inflation was 12% we still all be worse off. Real wage is not an indication of fairness or quality of life.

    Left-wingers took over the Congress in 2007 and during the first 18 months of their reign the price of oil more than doubled (IN 18 MONTHS!!!). Since we have an oil economy for better or worse, a double in the price of oil completely ruins our balance of trade, it causes a liquidity crisis as we ship money overseas, and it destroys the purchasing power parity of the middle class. Many liberal democrats are heavily invested in alternative energy. If you want to go in search of conspiracy, I suggest you look no further than the current Congressional leadership. I don’t subscribe to the theory that Democrats did it on purpose, but at least the conspiracy has factual basis, unlike most of the crap people allege.

    IIRC when the price of oil doubled, the US was supposed to be the big winner as we transitioned to a new green economy with 3-4 million new domestic jobs. Right, so now that everyone (regardless of how poorly educated or how liberal) realizes that doubling the price of oil causes liquidity crises that leads to a massive economic collapse and high unemployment, who exactly has been hoodwinking American voters since 2007? We threw out a lame duck and replaced it with a rotten pigeon.

    Do you even know what tax the rich really means? It means the Federal government gets to suck $300 billion out of California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Those blue states have massive budgetary crises. Any guesses as to why? The bluest of the blue states willingly impoverishing themselves every election cycle while ceding all of their state power to the federal government. They blame everything on the private sector. Mind boggling.

    You need to grow up quick, Mark. The woes of the proletariat are real, but the “solutions” proposed by Washington DC are a horrible prank upon the American people, particularly those who live in the blue states.

    The conspiracy is that you still don’t understand what’s going on. That kind of ignorance is certainly intentional?

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  • Mark

    Steveo, Art Laffer is a fraud. Supply side economics was called Voodoo economics by George Bush 1 during his campaign against Reagan. George Bush 1 was right, unfortunately Reagan won and began a brainwashing of America that exists to this day, even some Democrats still believe this crap. Our current state of affairs is the direct result of this flawed economic policy.

    Supply side economics turns common and proven 250 year old economic theory on it’s head. Although it seems to make sense on it’s surface, it is deeply flawed and ultimately leads to economic destruction.
    An economy is considered in balance and healthy when supply equals demand. In other words, when demand for all goods and services consumes the total supply of those goods and services. If supply exceeds demand, it forces the price to drop, conversely, if demand exceeds supply the price increases until the supply/demand curve is back in balance. Over time , our industries became increasingly more productive, increasing the amount of goods and services in the marketplace. The only way for demand to keep up with this ever increasing supply of goods is by increasing the purchasing power or demand of the consumers through higher wages. This was clearly articulated in Adam Smith’s book “Wealth of Nations” in 1776 and has been our free market’s guiding principle until Reagan embraced the fringe right wing economic supply side theories.

    Laffer and the supply sider’s theory was, rather than increase wages to balance an ever increasing supply of goods, just make the goods cheaper, which will increase consumption given the same level of purchasing power. For this theory to work required an ever increasing supply of cheaper and cheaper labor in order to continue to increase supply while still keeping prices low. This led directly to a flood of labor outsourcing to lower wage countries which also drove wages down in this country at the same time.

    Sooner or later the economy reaches a point at which it can no longer consume the goods and services that are being produced, and prices cannot continue to decrease since the market is already flooded to capacity with cheap imported goods.

    This became apparent to Alan Greenspan, but he and many of his right wing corporate cronies despised the idea of increasing wages as this would empower the middle class and threaten their monopoly on power. Rather than driving wages upward to increase demand, Greenspan, through the fed lowered interest rates so that the consumer could easily borrow the money to consume the available products. Well, we all know what happened next.

    My point is that our economic problems are a direct result of flawed policies, designed for the best interests of corporations and the financial elite at the cost of American prosperity. They are no longer founded on the common sense, proven principles that made our country the envy of the world.

  • Mark

    Aptimus Prime, wages adjusted for cost of living (inflation etc.) is what I mean by “real wages” and it’s a fact “real wages” have not kept pace.

    “The blue States are impoverishing themselves by ceding their power to the federal government”

    What kind of teabagger BS is that? You have no idea what you are talking about.
    Blue States are the most productive States in our country, they generate the vast majority of our countries GDP.
    Blue States invest much more in their citizens, the facts are that citizens in blue states are on average better educated, more productive, healthier, and have lower crime rates. If it wasn’t for the blue states, most southern red states would be considered 3rd world. Blue states have been carrying the load in this country, and are happy to contribute to the greater good.
    I get a kick out of you teabaggers complaining about the federal government infringing on your states sovereignty, when you guys haven’t been pulling your own load. Those are the first states to cry for help from the federal government when hit by a hurricane, flood or any other disaster. The vast majority of money used for their disaster relief comes from blue state taxpayers. Put your money where your mouth is and clean up your own mess next time or just shut up and be thankful.
    You should also be aware that all states are required to balance their budgets every year. Blue states have managed to balance their budgets every year while still providing better benefits and services to their citizens than red states. You get what you pay for!
    The reason many blue states have budget issues this year is due to a severe drop in tax revenues because of the bad economy. Unfortunately states create a budget the prior year and base their spending on income received the previous year. The blue states have been hit particularly hard since that is were most of the economic activity occurs. It is only natural that they will be impacted the most when the economy shrinks or grows.
    To try to blame their problems on left vs. right ideology is intellectually dishonest and nothing more than teabagger talking points.

  • MikeD

    WoW… this thread got too smart for me…lmao. See ya. (^_^ )

  • aptimus prime

    Mark, if you don’t understand the concept of Federal tax flows by state, you are wholly and completely unqualified to make any comments about politics or government organzation. Tax flow numbers are not part of a political ideology, they are simply a government account of how much money a state sends to Washington DC and how much money Washington DC sends back to the state for various programs.

    About $300B is removed from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and the Tri-State Metropolitan area. These states are fighting a perpetual uphill battle against the U.S. Federal government, and they must tax their own citizens quite heavily in order to make up for the budgetary shortfall. Furthermore, the cost of living, thus wages, are considerably higher in those areas which means they are in higher tax brackets even though their purchasing power parity is significantly less than people who live in other parts of the country.

    If the 100M people who lived in these mega-wealthy blue states abolished the Federal government and then raised the state tax bracket to 39%, the roads in NY, Chicago, and LA would be paved with platinum. As it stands right now, the wealthiest blue states vote to give their money to the Federal government. The Federal government gives it to poor red and blue states who use the money to attract businesses out of the wealthy blue states. Federal taxation is the kind of masochism that can only be explained by 100% pure unadulterated ignorance. It certainly disproves any remarks you have made about the blue state education system which is obviously not functioning properly unless Canterbury Tales is an important pre-requisite to life on this planet.

    The workers of NY, NJ, CN, MA, IL, and CA are the big losers b/c their economies suffer and their wages stagnate while other economies enjoy their wealth.

    You don’t even know what tax the rich means, and you certainly don’t understand the economic implications or consequences of tax the rich. You don’t understand the concept of federalism either. It doesn’t matter what color state you are from, without basic knowledge of government organization and federal tax systems, your opinion is worthless.

  • Jim

    Is Anderson has experience in Asia selling product and MAKING product. Will HD start making bikes in Asia?

  • Mark

    aptimus prime, I understand Federal tax flows by state very well, most blue states pay more in federal taxes than they receive back in federal benefits. It proves my earlier point that the rich blue states are subsidizing the poorer red states.
    I don’t have a problem with that, and neither should you. We are all part of the United States, we are all on the same team and despite what you think, this country is far better off as 50 “United” states rather than 50 separate states competing with each other. A rising tide lifts all boats.
    Just as the richer blue states, carrying more of the tax burden help the poorer states, so too should the income tax. No one would ever consider or even suggest that the Federal government should limit it’s spending on disaster relief based on how much tax was paid by the individual state effected. You could argue why California or Illinois tax revenues should be spent cleaning up the gulf oil spill when it only effected a few Gulf states.
    Individual income tax is no different.
    A progressive tax system is the only way to assure a strong and vibrant middle class. A middle class doesn’t just sprout out of nowhere, it has to be created and maintained by government policy, which includes tax policy, otherwise it would not exist. Look at all the previous great societies, none of them had a middle class as vibrant and prosperous as ours, and is the very reason why this country became the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth. This middle class was the reason why so many companies and individuals were able to become successful, they had the purchasing power as well as the education and opportunities to succeed.
    Those who believe that increased taxes on the rich will somehow hurt the economy are ignorant of the facts. During our greatest economic expansion years after ww2 to Ronald Reagan, the top tax rates were 94% and 74%. This forced wealthy employers to reinvest their money back into their business to reduce their tax burden, which promoted even further economic expansion. Even though a business ends up paying more taxes, the benefits of doing business in a vibrant economy greatly out way the extra tax burden.

  • Aptimus Prime

    Mark, you claim that the problems with our country today are due to right-wing conspiracy, but upon learning the cause is actually Federal tax flows, you attempt to proclaim the virtues of the arrangement. I’m glad to have dispelled any myths about vast right wing conspiracy, but I wish you would understand how detrimental the Federal tax system is. It has no inherent virtue, it is simply how the Federal Government pays their exorbitant bills. The current system is impoverishing the wealthy blue states and creating false economic incentives.

    You say we don’t need for our governments to compete, but again, you don’t understand. The Federal Government robs us, and then we go to Washington DC to fight over earmarks and pork barreled spending so our representatives can get the money back. Representatives in the most populous states (particularly the blue states) cannot overcome the effect of social security and medicare so they basically spend our country into oblivion while trying to make up the difference. I don’t fault them b/c their states would collapse if they didn’t do it. Competition is inevitable, the current Washington DC version of competition is not what was outlined in the Constitution.

    The current system is literally rotting our country from the core. The only reason this continues is b/c of all the hopelessly myopic people who are trying to achieve social justice without even the faintest understanding of labor and capital mobility. The arrangement we use today was basically solidified during the WWII and Cold War era during which time the Federal government was paranoid about its ability to pay for defense. Seeing as only 20% of our Federal budget is defense, I think those fears have been alleviated.

    Mark, I fear for the education in the blue states b/c some teachers are clearly making things up. No government has orchestrated the material ascendancy of mankind. Governments rise and fall, but market economies have existed forever and they cut across all cultural and racial barriers. Market-based trade is a discovery not a man-made creation. Furthermore, if you know anything about the ascendancy of the middle class in the West, you would understand that the nobility tried to destroy the middle class. They failed. Communists tried to destroy the middle class. They also failed. The middle class is not created by government or sustained by government except via education maybe.

    You also need help understanding taxes. Reinvesting net income doesn’t not reduce profitability b/c reinvestment is not an expense. Furthermore, the rich were scamming their way out of taxes in the old days with at-risk investments. Back then, it was possible to write off the market value of a loss so the wealthy would dump $10,000 into an investment. The tax shelter actuaries would work whatever voodoo was necessary to make the $10,000 appear to be worth $30,000 on the books. Then they would just write it off. For $10,000 a rich guy would save $20,000 in taxes. That’s why Congress changed the law to “at-risk”. You can only write off as much as you put in basically.

    BTW, the Laffer Curve is not a hoax. Liberals have told you that b/c Republicans have been playing the same Laffer Cuve fiddle for 30 years, and Dems know the effectiveness is fading. They simply tell everyone that Laffer is a lie b/c it’s easier and more effective than explaining why the Laffer Curve may not be effective at this time. Supply side economics is not a hoax either. It is an economic tool for fighting price inflation and maintaining an economy when times are good. Right now, times are bad and we have deflationary pressures on our economy. That’s why supply side is not possible, not b/c some douchebag told you it was a hoax.

  • Tom


    Its not just the past 250 years. Supply Side Economics goes against human history and human nature since the founding of civilizations 6000-7000 years ago. “Give more money and power to the rich and power elite minority and they will naturally dole out more money and lessen their own power to give to the poor.” This is such infantile fantasy that people who cling to this failed religion deserve ridicule.

    Further, Prime, to call the Democrats who took over Congress as “Left Wingers”….hmmmm, to quote Innigo Montoya to Vizzini, “You keep using that word(sic). I do not think it means what you think it means.” Globalizing corporatists hold power in “both” parties. Mark is correct with the observation that Left vs Right paradigm is for a previous age that has no bearing on today but teabaggers and 1960s holdovers are the only ones who really want to keep that crap battle going. This is 2010 with its entirely new set of economic, international, and social dynamics….not 1987.

  • Mark

    Tom, I agree, I was relating the 250 years to our history.
    This whole reality of globalization is very interesting and brings up some serious concerns as to who it really benefits.
    I question whether or not our political leaders and most citizens really understand how devastating it can be to an economy if our trade policies are not readjusted to this new game.
    Prior to globalization, our economy, for the most part consisted of American companies competing against each other for market share. If one company lost market share it was made up with another gaining market share. There was no net loss of employment as workers would move from the company that was shrinking to the company that was growing. It had no effect on the overall employment numbers. Of course there were imports, and it did create increased pressure on our industries to compete, but it also forced American companies to innovate and create new products and markets to offset losses from imported goods. The old saying of “whats good for American companies is good for America” was true for the most part. Workers benefited directly from the growth of American companies and industries.
    Globalization changed all that. It is no longer The Ford team vs. the GM team, or Apple vs. Microsoft or even GM vs. Toyota, but rather the USA vs. China vs. Mexico etc. Rather than labor moving from one company to the other based on shifting market share, labor must now move from country to country.

    These corporations are not bound or have any moral obligation to any one country, and rightly so. They have an obligation to there share holders and nothing else. A win for them no longer translates to a win for the USA. In most cases it hurts our economy because it puts greater pressure on the companies that still manufacture here to outsource their labor as well in order to compete. As much as Ihate to see HD or any American company outsourcing, I really can’t blame them based on the realities they are facing.
    The problem is that too few of our political leaders really understand what this is leading to. They are certainly not going to hear it from the corporate lobbyists, the corporations want it this way, they won’t here it from bankers, as they are making money lending billions to American corporations to invest in over sea’s operations.
    The fact is globalization is benefiting, at least temporarily, everyone involved except the American worker. Very few in government realize how devastating this is to the American middle class, or if they do, they certainly don’t know how to fix it.

    In my opinion, we need to start playing to win, every industrialized country in the world figured this out a long time ago, we are the only country who’s government is allowing it’s workers to be destroyed by it’s own corporations. We need to implement protectionist economic policies through import tariffs. We can no longer afford to keep our market open, with no entry fee to play. We need to create an environment that eliminates the cost benefits of outsourcing and encourages companies to build products in our country if they want to compete in our market. I am not against corporations, I believe they have a right to make as much profit as they can. But, the bottom line is, a profitable American corporation that outsources all it’s labor has absolutely no benefit to common American citizen other than it’s share holders and CEO’s. If those are the only people we care about benefiting, we are all doomed.

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  • Skipper

    This sounds about right for HD. They have no one there that seems to know anything about motorcycles anyway. Harley Davidson’s big push is to sell aftermarket crap to the suckers that buy there outdated land whales. Blue jeans will add a little class to the standard Harley pirate costume that every Harley rider has to wear to help there image. Maybe Harley can get labor tips from Levi on far east slave labor. Harley is bleeding money every day so the best way to save money is cut labor costs. Harley should try and make a better motorcycle and put less stress on there line of aftermarket crap. If you ever have the bad luck to go into a Harley dealership you will notice that only about 10 to 15% of the floor space is for the actual crap bikes they make. The rest is for the aftermarket crap like belt buckles, do rags and t-shirts. It is hard to believe that a company that makes such a poor outdated product can still be in business. Harley buyers buy the “Lifestyle” not the motorcycle – that is why Harley can get away with selling such a poor product. The bike is only a small part of the “Lifestyle”. These morons spend all there money on decals, HD clocks, HD panties, HD belt buckles, HD jackets, HD fingerless nosepicker gloves and all the rest of the bullshit the HD has designed to steel the money from the ignorant people that sucker for the HD Lifestyle.

  • MikeD

    Dang Skipper, thats some serious words… And to think i was feeling like i was being a little too harsh towards the MotorCompany. LMAO.

  • Tom

    Skipper, you should check out “The Power of Cult Branding: How 9 Magnetic Brands Turned Customers into Loyal Followers” and you can find it on Amazon. Its a good read and perfectly encapsulates not only Harley, but other cult brands as well. All cults have a life-span to them unless they evolve to be relevant to each generation. You people just are not buying into the Harley lifestyle and as you say, Harley has no other revenue streams to compensate. As a result, when the cult is no longer seen as cool and young people don’t want to buy into a fading pathetic religion, it will inevitably die.

  • Mark

    Tom, very true. I find many similarities between the marketing approach and branding philosophies between HD and Ducati. However, although they use similar and successful “Cult Branding” techniques, the big difference is what the actual brand stands for.

    HD is selling a brand philosophy based on the past, a tradition of a by gone past that is reflected in not only it’s brand culture, but also in it’s products. It’s one thing to stay true to your brands traditions and history, like Ducati has, but to actually design your product as a literal reflection of that tradition and history is deeply flawed.

    I don’t think that was the true intent of Harley and Davidson when they founded the company. They wanted to build a modern motorcycle, they embraced current technology and were very involved in racing to improve their products. They were a very forward looking company. This is what happens when a company is no longer run by engineers or designers but marketeers and financial (Wall Street) types.
    Another example of how Wall Street is controlling and destroying our industries.

  • Tom

    The problem with Harley is that they initially had Indian as a major rival that pushed them the engineer bikes that would better their competitor. When Indian died in the 1950s, Harley reigned supreme and never found a suitable foil against which to measure their development. Apple has Microsoft. Boeing has Airbus. Ford has Chevy. Toyota has Nissan. Man vs Food. For each brand that develops a cult, it needs a rival to base its raisson d’tre against and for Harley, their main foil was technological advancement itself rather than some rival company.

    Now, Indian over in North Carolina is basing its business model after the so-called custom chopper builders pricing their bikes over $30,000. Looks like Brammo and perhaps Motoczycz are teh only two American bike makers who actually engineer anymore while Harley and the others remain derivative also-rans.