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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Young’

HOG-StockNeil Young wrote the song Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World in 1989.

Neil and a member of his band, Pancho Sampedro, were glancing at newspaper photographs on the funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran as the angry mob set America flags on fire and chanted death to America.  Sampedro commented, “Whatever we do, we shouldn’t go near the Mideast.  It’s probably better that we just keep on rockin’ the free world.”

And speaking of rockin’… listening in on the HOG Q2’13 financial call today felt upbeat with a positive vibe.  Sure there was plenty of financial mumbo jumbo, but every profession has its buzzwords to create the illusion that things are more complex than they really are.

Here are the Q2’13 financial highlights:

  1. Consolidated revenue of $1.79 Billion
  2. Net income was $271.7 Million
  3. Diluted earnings per share were $1.21
  4. Added 104 dealerships outside the U.S. since late 2009; the latest was Salvador, Brazil.
  5. With nearly 1500 dealers worldwide H-D sold 90,193 motorcycles
  6. U.S., dealers sold 58,241 motorcycles
  7. In international markets, dealers sold 31,952 motorcycles
  8. Through 6-months, net income was $495.9 Million on consolidated revenue of $3.37 Billion
  9. U.S. (Heavyweight) market share increased to 53.0%
  10. Completed its first year of seasonal surge production at its plant in Springettsbury Township
  11. For the 1H, H-D mostly attributes cool, damp weather — not the economy — to a 2.7 percent drop in U.S. bike sales.
  12. Supply and demand are back in balance… read that as an opportunity to raise model prices again!
  13. First corporate confirmation there will be no Road Glide models in the new 2014 model year as they retool and refresh the model
  14. 60 bands over 3-days at the 110th Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee

The most interesting question?

It came from Craig Kennison (Baird & Co.) – “Did you ask the Pope to pray for better weather?”  I liked the snarky question which was in reference to the fact that H-D attributes cool, damp weather — not the economy — to a 2.7 percent drop in U.S. bike sales and being somewhat of a drag on H-D parts and accessories.  If you don’t ride you don’t need to do much motorcycle service or buy parts.

In conclusion and more important to all the riders, the company remains on track to announce its 2014 model year bikes in the 3rd week of August.

Photo courtesy of H-D/Google.

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Neil Young sang the song “Long May You Run“.

“We’ve been through
Some things together”

Last August, specifically on the 8th I was returning home from a week long ride in the Canadian Rockies and spent a night in Kennewick, WA (Tri-Cities) where I stopped at the local Harley-Davidson dealer.  Nice place and the dealership is owned by Shumate Motorsports or more importantly the owners are John Michial Shumate and his wife, Jennifer Shumate.

Interestingly on this day they were having a mother of all sales.  Strangely not on motorcycles, but on EVERYTHING else.  It looked like a going out of business sale and when I ask the sales clerk what it was all about she responded with something about needing to make room for all the new products so they were unloading inventory.  Sounded fishy.

Turns out that my inner voice was correct.  Just a couple of weeks later (September 2009) the owners filed for bankruptcy.  In court documents the Tri-City couple stated they’d racked up more than $10 million of debt for Shumate Tri-City LLC, Shumate Inc. and Shumate Spokane LLC.  Their first motorcycle shop was in Kennewick.  Then in 2004 the couple took over Spokane’s sole Harley-Davidson dealership, at 6815 E. Trent Ave. They also owned stores in Walla Walla and Lewiston, ID.

Sure these dealers are just locations on a map, but they also represent what life is about, experiences as you travel across the country making new friends and I’ve been to all of them over the years traveling around the pacific northwest.

According to reports, the Shumate’s filed an adversary proceeding in October 2009, accusing the motor company and affiliate companies of violating the Washington State Consumer Protection Act and of breaching a good-faith obligation.  Specifically the Shumates stated that Harley-Davidson disrupted their ability to carry on normal dealership operations by obtaining a temporary restraining order in August prohibiting them from selling motorcycles, parts, accessories and clothing that constitute collateral to which Harley-Davidson Credit Corp. claims it’s entitled. They contend Harley-Davidson then used that temporary inability of the Shumate dealerships to operate normally as the basis for the issuance of letters announcing the manufacturer’s plans to terminate its dealer contracts and franchises with them.  This maneuvering occurred when at the same time the motor company approved a new posh and competing dealership in upscale Coeur d’Alene, ID.

I don’t have visibility into all the internal workings or choices made at Shumate Motorsports, but one can’t help but have empathy.  If you believe Harley-Davidson advertising we’re supposed to have one part “stick-it-to-the-man” and one part sympathy for H-D, after all, they are losing millions bringing us these premium-priced motorcycles and the lifestyle.  Ain’t that America, where the public is beholden to corporations who pay little tax yet demand sympathy, as their lobbyists keep the government’s hands off of them and they wine and dine luxuriously in private while walking around in public with their pockets turned out?

At any rate, the latest update is a bankruptcy judge in Spokane will next week set a date for selling Spokane’s only Harley-Davidson dealership, plus the three other stores.  The Shumate Motorsport attorney (Barry W. Davidson of Spokane – see the irony?!) stated that it was Shumate’s intent to close his Spokane and Idaho operations but they were going to try and keep his Tri-City and Walla Walla stores open.  It’s not clear they will be successful in that effort.

Long may you run…

Photo courtesy of Boston.com

Previous posts on H-D closures HERE, HERE and HERE

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rusty_bike2Neil Young said it best HERE with his anti-establishment message.  Conventional wisdom is you can’t change the world with a song, but I remember the musical impact of No Nukes in the late ’70s.

So, along comes Harley-Davidson marketing looking to tap that “change the world” sentiment not through a song, but through Super Ride 2009 — test rides on any new bike now until June 30th.  No obligation. The claim is that you’ll feel something that’s been hard to feel lately: excitement about the direction you’re headed. It’s more of the same ‘ol lust for life, anti-establishment marketing campaign — screw it, just ride!  For some time now a sizable majority of motorcycle riders have a like mind about such marketing buffoonery!  What’s next TV ads with a denim-clad American riding to the tune of “Fortunate Son,” the blistering Vietnam-era protest song by Creedence Clearwater?

super_rideYet, I saw good example of marketing meets anti-establishment while watching part of the ACM Awards the other night.  I still haven’t figured out why there are two country music award shows and I’d like to tell you how great the show was.  But it wasn’t.  Not because I dislike country music, rather because so much of the material was just plain boring.  Does country really believe that in this new economic music model it’s immune from listeners running away?  Then I heard the acoustic set of John Rich’s Shuttin’ Detroit Down.” 

Let me just say that I think John Rich has tapped into the national psyche with “Shuttin’ Detroit Down”.  Because I’m down with the truth.  I don’t mind people getting rich adding to society, earning it the hard way, but when you create a fallacious game and ruin our entire country’s economics, I get UPSET!  When you’re a CEO and get multi-million dollar bonuses for running a company into the dirt then like many of you I get UPSET!!

I had heard the song before and gave it no mind as the music sounded like AM radio and a ride in the country with the windows down in my pickup. But lyrics matter, and to hear John Rich sing it acoustically was to hear a completely different song.  I’m not going to recite every lyric, or bore you with politics, but this song resonated with me…

“My daddy taught me in this country everyone’s the same; You work hard for your dollar and you never pass the blame

When it don’t go your way”; “Well pardon me if I don’t shed a tear; They’re selling make believe and we don’t buy that here”

“Because in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down; While the boss man takes his bonus paid jets on out of town”

Give it a listen and tell me what you think.

UPDATE: April 7 —  Displacedbrett provided the identity of the group (Murder By Death) and song (’52 Ford) which was used in the Harley commercial.   

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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