Archive for March 9th, 2009

amc-hdAnyone can purchase Harley-Davidson industry reports which discuss motorcycle demand and forecasts.  Topics often include market size, product segmentation, technology trends, environmental and regulatory factors, trade, market environment, product forecasts and the like.

Or you can wait and watch your inbox as the news or sales promotions roll in for an indicator on the state of the state.  Statistically motorcycle sales are way off.  Tell me something we don’t already know!  Yet adding to this drum beat was the announcement and regulatory filing from Harley last week that worldwide sales by its dealers fell 13% in the first two months of the year, a clear sign that the recession continues.  In the U.S., which represent nearly two-thirds of the company’s business, sales were down 9.4% and international sales were down 21.5% compared with 2008.  All this after the “We Ride Free” campaign where its message is: trade up!

The latest Harley deal to arrive in my inbox was from American Motorcycle Classics (Albany, Or.).  It’s a $3679.00 discount on a 2009 FXDFSE CVO Dyna Fat Bob.  Does that pull on your heart-wallet string?  I’m not so sure!  Because $22K is still a lot of coin in this time when so many are in dire need of cash.  The 90% of the population who are employed and can afford it know the value of money in these dicey times and those who don’t are unlikely to qualify for a loan.



Maybe Harley-Davidson should consider the possibility of selling off some of their brands?  The Buell and MV Agusta Group would be likely candidates for the “selling block” and might help restore the company or remove massive debt loads?  Just a short seven months ago Harley paid $109 Million for the Italian motorcycle maker to increase its presence in Europe.  This was somewhat logical back when stock was in the mid-$40’s and sales in the European market were increasing 16%-20% every quarter, but clearly HOG shareholders would like a “do-over” as sales are in the tank and the stock has now closed below $8 a share!  It’s interesting that Harley exec’s got this deal through the board at a time when Harley’s 2008 sales were down more than 7% and after a 5.3% drop in 2007.

Now the trouble is, does anyone have interest in Harley – or the equity – to make a deal?  That doesn’t bode well for the company unless they are looking at efforts to turn themselves around with the help of taxpayer cash?  Think about it: well-financed Asian motorcycle companies like Honda (NYSE: HMC) or Tata Motors Ltd. (NYSE: TTM) could pull the Harley nameplates off the scrap heap for next to nothing — without having to take on burdens like massive debt loads or union pension obligations. But even they are not willing to because they don’t think they can make money with it.

Yet, somehow we’re supposed to look the other way after reviewing Harley’s dreadful balance sheet and debt situation and continue to believe those same managerial geniuses will turn around the brands without shedding their massive debt obligations?

It just doesn’t make any sense at all.

Photo courtesy AMC

Disclosure: Author has no ownership in HOG.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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vrscHarley-Davidson is recalling 97 LED turn signal mounting kits, P/N’s 69951-08 (Black) and 69593-08 (Chrome), for installation on 2002 – 2009 VRSC model motorcycles (excluding VRSCF model). 

Due to the design of the mounting bracket, (P/N 70497-08, which secures the LED turn signal controller to the motorcycle frame, the controller may come in contact with the oil filter.  This is the load equalizer that mounts near the oil filter on the frame, which enables the LED lights to work.

  • Vehicle Make / Model:  H-D / VRSC     Model Year(s): 2002-2009
  • NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 09E007000
  • Component: Exterior Lighting: Turn Signal
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 97

Consequence: Over time this contact can lead to a hole in the oil filter and allow excessive oil to get on the rear tire, causing a loss of traction and possibly leading to a crash and potential injury or death.

H-D is notifying owners and will remove and replace the existing bracket with a new bracket (P/N 70497-08A), free of charge.  The recall is expected to begin on or about March 2, 2009.  Owners can contact Harley at 414-342-4680 and refer to RECALL NO. 0138.

Photo courtesy H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Krissie Mason

Krissie Mason

I’m not talking about ‘Seinfeld’ Cosmo Kramer’s coffee table book about coffee tables…  I’m referring to Krissie Mason’s efforts to publish a coffee-table type book which is profiling Women Motorcycle Riders

Although I can blog as well as anyone about the world’s follies, sometimes blogs help make upbeat connections.   Such was the case last week when Krissie, an award winning pro-portrait photographer and writer reached out to me for help in getting the word out on her most recent coffee-table book/project.  

She is looking for a broad cross-section of women riders…age, profession, socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicity, geographically diverse, to name just a few.  The book will celebrate the beauty of Ordinary and Extraordinary…images and stories of women like your neighbor, or your hairstylist, the pastor’s wife, the rock-star, the L.A. plastic surgeon, the hotel maid, etc…. Women whose son has Downs, whose daughter just earned a Black-belt, whose husband was just deployed, whose significant other was diagnosed with cancer, whose child just had her first recital, whose mother is going back to college in her 60s,….who are … and the list goes on.  

From trailer park to penthouse — women are part of the motorcycle riding culture, and they experience joys and sorrows identifiable by people from every walk of life…and they all ride Harley motorcycles…the grand leveler if you will, the common thread!

If you are interested and want to be considered for this project then please contact Krissie at:

Krissie Mason


krissie at chickarazzi dot com

Photo courtesy web site.

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