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Archive for November 20th, 2008

santa_cruz_closedThe sign in the window tells the story.  It’s not something that Harley-Davidson dealers have experienced since the 1980’s, but it’s starting to happen across the U.S. – foreclosure and going out of business sales.

Today it was announced that in Dubuque, Iowa, Wilwert’s Harley-Davidson is being foreclosed after almost 50 years in business.  According KCRG news and the county Sheriff’s department the building is set for public auction on January 15, 2009.   The sale notice states there is a judgment awarded to American Trust and Savings Bank in Dubuque for $1.6M.

Last week and shortly after running an ironic “End-of-The-World” sale the Santa Cruz Harley-Davidson dealer removed their equipment from the shop and closed.  Owner Mike James cited poor motorcycle sales due to the struggling economy ending 11 years at this location and a 80 year run in the city.  The dealers satellite shop in Watsonville, CA closed earlier this year.  He was quoted in the Mercury News

“We may be the first Harley dealer, but we won’t be the last.”

Things like this can really have a “domino effect” and in the end affects a lot of people beyond just the immediate employees.  There is a local HOG Chapter without a sponsoring dealer and more important many people from the dealer as well as the owners have contributed greatly to local charities and fundraisers.

It’s a sobering reality and I hope the best for the employees and owners.  Interestingly is that the only comment from corporate Harley-Davidson is a “no comment” on these things.  Is that corporate lethargy and money talking?   In this environment addressing customer concerns and making sure they don’t become further disappointed by parts and service issues should be important….

UPDATE: To clarify, Todd Wilwerts Golf Vehicles is NOT affiliated with the Harley dealer or is it closing. 

Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz HD web site.  

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turkeysWith Thanksgiving fast approaching, and everyone’s thoughts turning to the big feast, I decided to look at some of Harley-Davidson’s turkeys that made news in 2008–albeit for the wrong reason in my opinion. 

It’s never nice to point out the flaws in plans, products or ad schemes if they are questionable, failed or are in the process of going downhill, but it would also be irresponsible to simply just forget the follies of some of Harley’s bigger turkeys.

Click through the list to get a juicy taste of these ’08 Turkeys:

  1. Hired Hip-Hop Artist Run DMC For Judges At HD “Hot Model” Contest
  2. We Don’t Do Fear Ad Campaign
  3. Headcount Reductions Announced Q1
  4. HD Stars in Indiana Jones Movie
  5. Mv Augusta Group Purchase
  6. HD States Obvious Market Declines In Q2 Results
  7. HD Announces Tri Glide Ultra Classic and Ford Announced “Big Hog Daddy” Hauler
  8. Sex Sells – Ad Campaign with Marisa Miller
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