Posts Tagged ‘2009 Models’

walkawayTaking a page from the Hyundai play book, Seacoast Harley-Davidson and the Rochester H-D shop have implemented what is called the “Walkaway® Vehicle Return Program.”

Designed to provide a unique way to help consumers in a challenging economic environment (read: “Got laid off down at the factory…”) that offers up financial protection for the risk adverse consumer.  Promotion details on what constituted a ‘life-changing’ event were not readily available and required a discussion at the dealer.

This is unprecedented.  Not only in the financial offering/protection, but that a dealer would cut against the corporate “grain” and offer up a program independent of the factory.  It’s not clear if the program is endorsed by exec’s or if company management huddled up in a conference room and compared this program to Adam Lamberts crash and burn sitar version of ‘Ring of Fire‘ on American Idol last night.

Photo courtesy of Seacoast H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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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.  

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Not sure how I missed this with the 13 press releases on July 22, 2008, but thanks to “ride-it-like-you-stole-it” for commenting on my 2009 line up post.

Harley-Davidson is officially moving into the three-wheel (trikes) motorcycle segment with the introduction of the Tri Glide Ultra Classic.  It’s based on a new chassis specifically built for the three-wheel market.  The Tri Glide will be sold (MSRP of $29,999) and serviced by the dealer network and covered by a two-year warranty.

It was about this time last year that Harley signed a deal with Lehman Trikes USA of Spearfish, SD to design and build Harley based trikes which I blogged HERE.  It turns out that Lehman Trikes posted a press release stating they are doing the conversion services for Harley’s Tri Glide motorcycle production.  Lehman will provide components, paint, and conversion services in the manufacture of the motorcycle.  The original Harley link on their web site last year is now a dead link.

A couple of notables on the Harley “three-wheel” strategy.  The motorcycle has a new rear-axle assembly that utilizes an aluminum center section with steel axle tubes. The rear suspension features dual air-adjustable rear shock absorbers.  It’s powered by a Twin Cam 103 cu in engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) and 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission used on current Touring bikes, but adds an optional electric reverse ($1,195) integrated with the rear differential assembly that is engaged with a handlebar-mounted reverse module. The Tri Glide has dual front disc brakes and a Hayes Brake dual-disc rear brake system with a lever-actuated, integrated park brake.

As I stated in my previous post it’s not clear who is the targeted demographic.  Is it something to take your poodle for a ride or a legitimate use to target the older demographic, or the more safety-conscious and/or disabled?

Interesting is the fact that the Harley-Davidson web site is devoid of ANY information or digital media animation about the Tri Glide.  Makes me wonder just how much this three-wheel strategy is being rolled out?

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Harley unveiled the changes in their motorcycle line up today in the form of 13 press releases!  Call me crazy, but I find it questionable how a PR department see’s value in doing so many press releases in the same day?

At any rate, many of the changes feel a bit cosmetic or like minor “updates” with no major new model launched compared to previous years.  Maybe I’m biased toward touring bikes, but there was no “Rocker” type equivalent announcement or a news making launch of the U.S. XR 1200 to break through the ever increasing motorcycle market noise. 

Harley introduced a new frame/swing arm for touring models.  It has 50% fewer parts and 60% fewer welds which result in better maneuverability, heat management, luggage capacity and rear-tire life due to the new Dunlop D407 Multi-Tread tires.  Touring models have new 17-inch 28-spoke “cast” aluminum wheels, 180mm rear tire and a new exhaust system that passes under the frame vs. under the seat.  Exception is the Road King Classic.  In an acknowledgment of the “widening-girth-of-America” the cargo/passenger capacity was increased approx 70 pounds and slightly larger injection-molded saddlebags were added this year.  The Road King Standard has this funky Red colored light (vs. amber) on the front fender..gives it a police special look.

The V-Rod gets “Muscle” (as if it didn’t have enough already!), a new model with a heighten angular appearance over the standard model.  It has air scoops eerily similar to the mid-80’s Yamaha V-Max.  The Screamin’ Eagle treatment from the Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) is added to the Fat Bob and Road Glide models.

I don’t see these changes creating a lot of additional demand or perking up sales in the near-term for heavyweight motorcycles, but Harley has taken some solid steps to improve their line-up.

HD photo source Harley-Davidson.

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