I have my doubts about Harley's viability (or much of American manufacturing's in general) going forward. And I happen to be a Harley owner. When you ask a premium price, you should deliver a superior product. Ford, Chevy and Harley Davidson don't stand up well in any comparison to the premium in Japanese equivalent products. They're banking on their names. And a long history of blue collar, union member loyalty. That only lasts for the generation or so whose parents worked for, and owned, those company's products. Meanwhile, business did all it could to destroy the unions (not without a significant amount of assistance from poor union practices also, I might add). They also sent as many of those jobs overseas as possible and automated many more. Which led to a destruction of the base loyalty in the process. They killed off their own market by destroying the jobs of the people that bought their products.

By necessity, most younger people bought cheaper imports. When they realized how much better made those imports were, the American manufacturers lost customers, for a generation or more. I'm not sure it's possible for them to recover that customer base. For damn sure it isn't going to happen as long as their quality is subpar and they continue to ask premium prices.

Harley Davidson is still banking on the name and the certain cachet that comes with it. Unfortunately, that cachet is becoming less and less important to the buyers of heavyweight motorcycles. The quality of the competition makes it hard to justify spending all that coin on a substandard motorcycle.

Written by

father, motorcyclist, old retired guy who’s just a little lost on a blue marble corkscrewing its way to oblivion

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store