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Posts Tagged ‘Project RUSHMORE’

2nd Guessing Music Selection

2nd Guessing Music Selection

After years of Project RUSHMORE research including thousands of hours of development with skilled mechanics and engineers driving from location to location, Harley-Davidson today acknowledged that the BOOM!™audio infotainment software has been affected by a virus.

The virus manifests itself as “ghosting” problems.  Riders state that the infotainment system is second guessing their music selection, even after making the music choice.  Some riders have reported that the infotainment will randomly reset and the LCD displays a Laffing “Devil’s Fork” logo in place of the H-D corporate logo.

devils-forkThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to order up a recall because the motor company has not fully been successful in detailing all the issues and there was no consistent pattern of crashes tied to the virus effect.

This raises red flags at the company and in cooperation with Russian and Ukrainian scientists, Harley-Davidson Audio engineers have recently re-located to the basement of the Design Lab to review prototype parts, drawings, pre-production models and other original materials to gain more insight into the virus.

Once available, H-D Riders can go to the software download center and grab the file on a USB memory stick. Then insert it in your Boom!™ Box Infotainment System’s USB port and follow the onscreen instructions to update your system.  The new application will be called Harley-Davidson Nose, and as the name implies it knows everything about you, the motorcycle and the infotainment system.

In addition, as a customer bonus for the trouble of sitting in your garage and working on motorcycle software updates, the motor company will provide the H-D Levity App (HDLA) which spices up “even the most boring of work days” by letting you send happier emails, hold more engaging meetings, and write more mind-blowing presentations.

Happy April Fool’s day!

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

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A Mid-Year 2014 Road Glide?

A Mid-Year 2014 Road Glide?

The Harley-Davidson Road Glide is different.  

Different design, different ride and the motorcycle has incredibly loyal customers.

Customers who appreciate the wind control and handling that comes with a frame mounted fairing are not typically going to switch to another model.  However, the Road Glide does take people off competitive brands and without it in the H-D line up dealers are missing an opportunity or worse, will see erosion of market segment share.

Sales numbers do talk and during the last earnings call, CFO John Olin stated that the Road Glide represented approximately 9% sales volume and would be back from its temporary hiatus.

And now in the buzzfeed there is more speculation about what the 2015 Road Glide fairing may look like.  Thanks to Worth Harley-Davidson, the Kansas City, MO., dealer posted photo’s on a Facebook page.  

Why wait for the 2015.  This nice custom fairing could hold all your aftermarket Project RUSHMORE electronic purchases?!

UPDATE:  July 8, 2014 – “Official” spy photos of the 2015 Road Glide are HERE.

UPDATED: August 1, 2014 – Harley-Davidson officially reveals the 2015 Road Glide.

Photo courtesy of Worth H-D.

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2013 Harley-Davidson Road Glide

2013 Harley-Davidson Road Glide

Harley-Davidson Inc. reported it’s Q4’13 financials today posting a 9.7% year-over-year rise in earnings to 34 cents per share from 31 cents in the year-ago quarter.  The year-over-year increase was due to higher revenues and lower operating expenses in the Motorcycles segment.

Revenues improved 1.7% to $1.19 billion and operating income rose 5.1% to $122 million from $116.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.  Net income increased 6.8% to $75.4 million from $70.6 million a year ago.

For the 2013 full year results revenues increased 5.7% to $5.9 billion from $5.58 billion in 2012 and net income increased to $734 million from $623.9 million a year ago.

Harley-Davidson shipped 46,618 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide during the 4th quarter which was down 0.95% from 47,067 motorcycles in the fourth quarter of 2012.   In the U.S., shipments improved 6.3% from the year-ago quarter to 27,387 units and commands roughly 50% share of the U.S. market,

Keith Wandell, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson called the year “outstanding.”

So were there any other highlights?

Well yes… John A. Olin – Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President stated, “As we anticipated, U.S. retail sales growth in the fourth quarter slowed from the third quarter’s growth rate, behind 2 key drivers…”   “The second was the impact of the absence of the popular Road Glide models in the 2014 model year.  When you look at Q4 of 2012, the Road Glide represented 9% of that volume, and that Road Glide customers are incredibly loyal to that motorcycle. And that’s probably the biggest impact that we had on our 2013 retail sales in the fourth quarter.”

Mr. Olin also talked about a “fatten the tail” strategy.

Huh?

I’m not 100% sure of the context, but simply put, a financial fat tail describes a rare and extreme event.  On one end of the spectrum, are products like Project RUSHMORE that encourage trade-up at a high revenue and at a very high margin, and typically are aimed at H-D’s core customer. But, Rushmore is selling extremely well with outreach customers. And in addition, the Street Glide is the #1 selling bike to women, young adults, African-American and Hispanic’s.

Suffice to say that the Road Glide was a huge part of H-D sales and it’s no longer there.  Yet, the quarter was great!  Congrats to the H-D team.

Photo courtesy of The Bike Exchange

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Gold top 10 winnerIt’s that time of year when folks are getting ready to ring in the New Year and its customary to provide a Top 10 list.

I decided to pull together a nostalgic list of some of the more ridiculous Harley-Davidson executive quotes.  There are some doozies and it makes a person wonder if they were cocktail chatter or actually written down and prepped by the PR team.  Honestly, it was difficult to narrow it down to just ten, but here they are: 

  1. “I would be really upset if you felt our strategy was about “meeting the nicest people on a Harley” because I can tell you that ain’t the strategy…” Harley CMO Mark-Hans Richer (Source: HERE)
  2. “These new bikes are leaner, yet still have a mean streak – they’re the real deal, made of real steel.” Harley CMO Mark-Hans Richer (Source: HERE)
  3. Little did we know we were doing a cross-promotion with God.” Harley CMO Mark-Hans Richer (Source: HERE)
  4. “‘Come Together’ is not merely a song in our [advert] spot – it’s an anthem for our relationship with our fans.” Harley CMO Mark-Hans Richer (Source: HERE)
  5. “We don’t do trend bikes, or fashion-statement motorcycles. We try to make something that will last forever.” **Brian Nelson, lead stylist on Project RUSHMORE  (Source: HERE)
  6. “I couldn’t care less if I ever wore a tie again.” Harley Chairman of the Board, president and CEO Keith Wandell  (Source: HERE)
  7. “None of us get up every morning and want to make people’s lives miserable and see people lose their jobs. If you think that’s the case, I apologize.”  Harley Chairman of the Board, president and CEO Keith Wandell  (Source: HERE)
  8. “We can’t survive on our core customers alone.” Harley Chairman of the Board, president and CEO Keith Wandell (Source: HERE)
  9. “The safety of our customers is our highest priority,” Harley General Manager of Motorcycle New Product Delivery Tony Wilcox (Source: HERE)
  10. “We think it’s a dichotomy” Harley Chairman of the Board, president and CEO Keith Wandell (Source: HERE)

There it is.  Do you have any memorable quotes to add to the list?

**Note: Mr. Nelson (#5) is not a company executive.

Photo courtesy of Sam Churchill.

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2014 Tri Glide Ultra Trike

2014 Tri Glide Ultra Trike

Harley-Davidson has issued another safety recall on its 2014 Project Rushmore motorcycles.

This time it’s for a defect that could result in the loss of brake fluid.  It potentially affects 436 trikes manufactured from July 24th through September 2nd.  It’s due to an incorrectly machined part, and the trike may have an excessive steering angle that allows the inner fairing to come into contact with a brake fluid reservoir, resulting in a loss of fluid.  The steering damper may also be damaged.

The result could be a loss of brake fluid from the rear reservoir which would reduce brake performance.  The steering damper damage could reduce the rider’s ability to control the motorcycle and either condition increases the risk of a crash.

This is the second recall of Project RUSHMORE motorcycles. Last month, Harley recalled about 29,000 bikes and trikes for hydraulic clutch system problems (HERE).

The information listed at NHTSA is:

NHTSA Campaign ID Number :13V491
Subject : Fork Stem Bracket may cause Loss of Brake Fluid
Manufacturer: Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Harley-Davidson is in the process of notifying owners, and dealers will inspect the trikes and replace the fork stem bracket, as necessary, free of charge.

The recall is expected to in late November 2013. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s recall number is 0152.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

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Kingfisher-LogoI’m talking about Kingfisher.

Beer was introduced into India by the British, who eventually set up a brewery that produced Asia’s first beer — a pale ale called Lion. However, these days, lager is the only type of beer you’ll find available in India and “The King of Good Times” is Kingfisher.

It’s India’s most recognized and widely available beer. Its name has been associated with sports, fashion, and even an airline.

And sooner than anyone would have thought… in Bawal, India a Harley-Davidson assembly line worker will be having a Kingfisher and relaxing with co-workers.

But, I’ve gotten ahead of myself…  let’s jump into the the way back machine and set the dial for — 2009.

The fact is we must focus both our effort and our investment on the Harley-Davidson brand, as we believe this provides an optimal path to sustained, meaningful long-term growth,” said CEO Keith Wandell at the October 15, 2009 announcement to discontinue production of Buell motorcycles.  On October 30, 2009 the last Buell (Lightning XB12Scg) rolled off the company’s East Troy, Wisconsin. assembly line.  It was the last of the 136,923 motorcycles built in the company’s 26 years of operation.

Harley-Davidson Street 750

Harley-Davidson Street 750

It was a combination of factors in making the decision, but essentially the global recession forced a reckoning and Harley-Davidson decided to refocus on its tent pole products or what I’d call doubling down on its core lineup of heavyweight bikes.  As a result, the motor company abandoned entry level motorcycles (Buell Blast), exited the sport bike (Buell and sold MV) and thumb their noses at the adventure market (Buell Ulysses).   In the process the motor company made a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts upset about what looked like a myopic approach of only looking at spreadsheets versus doing a bit more market research and addressing a need.

Jump ahead 4-years and witness the financial rebound of the company and the launch this week of the new Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Street 500 motorcycles.  Could it be a Buell Blast ReDeux?  The smaller 500cc motorcycle basically fills a void left when they discontinued the Buell motorcycle line which included the 492cc Buell Blast.  More important in this announcement is the fact that the motorcycles will be made both in the U.S. and Bawal, India, marking the first time the company will manufacture a complete motorcycle at an overseas facility.  I’ll repeat that… the first time the company will manufacture a complete motorcycle outside the U.S.!

Harley-Davidson Street 750  (Side View)

Harley-Davidson Street 750 (Side View)

The manufacturing news in of itself will be fodder for many future blog posts, but sticking to the motorcycle announcement, the new ‘Street’ bikes are the first Harley-Davidson motorcycles to be designed from scratch since the V-Rod 13 years ago.

It makes this Road Glide owner wonder if that’s an indicator of where all the engineers were redirected in lieu of updating the ‘Glide’ with the all new Project RUSHMORE features that were incorporated into the new 2014 touring models?

The fact is the company has aggressively expanded its marketing efforts because realistically, there is no replacing white Baby Boomer men. And this means they have to attract younger men, non-Caucasian men, women, and do that from countries as disparate as India, Italy, Brazil and the U.S. with much more success.  By turning inwards, relying on a single-brand tradition and nationalism over the last 4-years and divesting itself of brands that were dimming the lights on a brighter future–the motor company can and now has expanded into other segments.

At the Street 750/500 announcement the Harley-Davidson, CEO Keith Wandell said, “The younger riders don’t want their dad’s chromed-out Harley,” “They want the Dark Custom, sinister look, the ability to rebel.

Sounds like a bit of marketing spin, but with more than half of its dealerships outside the U.S., Harley-Davidson has really put a lot of investment behind a push to expand and broaden its customer base including new motorcycle buyers–worldwide.

Photo’s courtesy of H-D and Kingfisher.  Note: Kingfisher, “The King of Good Times”, is India’s most recognized and widely available beer. Its name has been associated with sports, fashion, and even an airline.

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Finance-HDThe iconic “I’ll be back” catchphrase made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1984 movie “Terminator” can now be used to describe that financially, Harley-Davidson is back! 

There is no getting around it.  Harley-Davidson had an exceptional Q3’13.

There was of course the strong financial performance, the biggest launch of new motorcycle models in the company’s history that resulted in excellent retail sales and who can forget the epic 110th anniversary in Milwaukee.  In the initial 45 days at retail since launch, the Rushmore motorcycles sparked the largest year-over-year new model sales increase in 20 years. Sales were up markedly in both the U.S. and internationally. In fact, it was the best international model year launch ever in terms of initial volume.

H-D have been telling us for quarters that they are laser focused on the international businesses. They are targeting 100-150 international new dealer points through 2014 and, over the last 3+ years, have opened 110 new dealer points, with two-thirds being in emerging markets.

Last week H-D reported Q3 revenue of $1.34B and net income of $162.7 million, or 73 cents per share.  For the motorcycles and related product segment revenue was up 8.4% in the third quarter, including a 10.7% increase in motorcycle revenue largely driven by the strong mix of the touring bikes.  U.S. sales were up 20% from July through September and profit jumped 21%.

During Q3’13, parts and accessories sales were up 7.0%, driven by the success of certain product categories such as LED lighting and audio. General Merchandise was down 12.6% compared to Q3’12 due to what H-D referred to as lapping the strong sell in of 110th anniversary apparel and accessories, which began in Q3 of 2012.

Important to the Road Glide riders is the fact that H-D discontinued the Road Glide Custom and Road Glide Ultra.  Management was quick to point out that these models, represent, on an annual basis, about 4-5% of the overall Touring volume.  In terms of retail sales, H-D had brisk retail sales of the Road Glide in the third quarter.  It will be interesting to see if there is any sales headwind from discontinuing the Road Glide in Q4.

One of the items that jumped out at me is that wholesale and MSRP prices have increased by an average of about 3.5% on the new 2014 models. By region, U.S. prices are up roughly 4.25%; EMEA, up 1.5%; and Asia-Pacific and Latin America, each up about 2.5%.  The significant new “content,” which was added to the 2014 model year motorcycles was expected to increase costs by 2.75%.

H-D did not change the 2013 forecast of motorcycle shipments of 259K-264K.  Poor weather in the U.S. during Q2 was again cited as the primary reason for challenges in hitting the high forecast number.

Photo courtesy of H-D

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