Harley-Davidson was in hassle earlier than all the shutdowns, and issues have not gotten rather a lot higher within the interim. However now, as H-D’s factories within the US begin to get again to work, the corporate has a brand new plan to interrupt itself out of its .
A part of that entails paring operations again — particularly manufacturing. The corporate goes to be making fewer fashions, with fewer out there choices and in fewer colours, after which they’ll make fewer of them, in accordance with a report revealed Wednesday by the Wall Road Journal.
It appears Harley’s new boss, ex-Puma exec Jochen Zeitz, desires to make use of this new exclusivity of fashions at sellers to drive gross sales. Consider a Ferrari dealership, proper? They do not have dozens of vehicles simply hanging round ready for somebody to come back and purchase them. They’ve one or two examples of most fashions, and prospects need to order a automobile. Harley desires to do the identical.
That is all effectively and good, however the place does that go away sellers? If the manufacturing unit is not making many bikes, which means sellers cannot count on to have shares replenished as bikes promote — round 70% of sellers within the US will not obtain any extra new bikes this 12 months, in accordance with Beth Truett, director of product gross sales for H-D.
If that feels like a recipe for empty showrooms and probably struggling sellers, I agree. Harley’s reply to supplier considerations over this appears to be to promote extra used bikes. That is in contradiction with Milwaukee’s earlier directives that discouraged the follow within the perception that it cannibalized gross sales of latest bikes.
Will all of this work? Will it assist to place the brakes on the downward spiral through which America’s oldest frequently operating bike firm finds itself? Or will it speed up it, with sellers unable or unwilling to adapt to the brand new type of gross sales and all of the adjustments that it requires? At this level, it is laborious to be optimistic, however we’ll maintain some fingers crossed.
Harley-Davidson did not instantly reply to Roadshow’s request for remark.