Posts Tagged ‘Test Ride Promotion’

Indian Challenger vs Harley-Davidson Road Glide

Earlier this week, Indian announced the “Challenger Challenge,” a campaign that invites motorcyclists to test ride the Challenger and the Harley-Davidson Road Glide® Special back-to-back for a head-to-head comparison.

It’s not the typical, behind-the-scenes advertising effort by Indian to sell a product in its own time and in its own way.  Instead, it’s a high-visibility campaign marked with in-your-face marketing which proclaims — the Challenger will absolutely “smoke the competition.”

That’s a blue-collar craftsmen and beer-bellied “motor-head” inflammatory call to battle!

Will Harley-Davidson laugh and say, ‘Good try, bad result‘ expecting it to reinvigorate the Road Glide sales or will the Milwaukee gurus sit up and make a hard-eyed comparison of the competition’s strengths?

I’ve posted previously that motorcycle growth rates domestically are decelerating.  Wall Street is worried that the motor company has tapped out demand for their line-up as sales cool.

Challenger Challenge Stats

My initial reaction of the Indian campaign was, it being reminiscent of the 1980’s when commercials were a sign of the times — desperate, struggling times that car manufactures hoped would turn prosperous.  You might remember, “If You Can Find a Better Car, Buy It” ad campaign?  The face behind that familiar slogan was Ronald DeLuca — the advertising whiz hired by Chrysler Corporation chairman Lee Iacocca to turn around Chrysler’s late-1970s death plunge in a recession-weary America.

Indian has the not-so-simple task of convincing Americans that the motorcycling passion isn’t an archaic lifestyle teetering on the edge of the toilet bowl.  Or if Millennials are truly killing motorcycles, then why not ride it out in style with a new Indian Challenger!

Carey Hart and Big B

The Challenger Challenge is set to launch at Daytona Bike Week on Friday, March 6th.  The product demo tour will visit Indian Motorcycle dealers around the country, as well as select motorcycle rallies and events, including Sturgis in August. In addition to the national tour, select Indian Motorcycle dealers will have a Road Glide on hand to ensure that any customer who visits their dealership can take the Challenger Challenge.

Of course there will be a full-court press with social hashtags and digital media including a video series where Carey Hart and Bryan “Big B” Mahoney, pit the new Indian Challenger against the Road Glide Special in a series of rubber burning tests that showcase power, torque, braking and handling.

We will know soon enough if the campaign is more about finding new customers who don’t necessarily want to own a motorcycle or boosting the Indian public image and extending the brand’s good name.

Photos courtesy of Indian Motorcycle.

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Bellemont Harley-Davidson

Bellemont Harley-Davidson

For years the heavyweight motorcycle market grew at double-digit rates, thanks to low interest rates, a solid economy, a rising stock market, rising home values and baby boomer enthusiasm.

With the exception of interest rates all other factors have changed and not for the positive. It was reported in JSOnline that Robert W. Baird & Company, surveyed 75 Harley-Davidson dealers and found that new bike sales were down between 20 – 25% from a year ago.  Used motorcycle sales fell between 5 – 10%.  In addition, 63% of the H-D dealers that Baird surveyed in late April and May 2009 were selling bikes below MSRP compared to 36% a year ago.  They also reported that dealers found promotions (Sportster promo which just ended) worked to help bring in foot traffic and to a degree helped stimulate sales.  Dealers want more H-D promotions.

Marketing 101 - Overcome Buyer Resistance

Marketing 101 - Overcome Buyer Resistance

In response the company launched the “Test Ride” promotion, but it has received mixed results from dealers.  The thinking is that historically H-D dealers didn’t provide test rides on motorcycles.  Some did, but many did not and the new promotion means each dealer will designate one motorcycle from each category of the product line up as it’s demo bike.  The test rides are supervised by a dealership staff person who tags along on another bike.

So what does this have to do with Arizona you ask?  Well — I spent the Memorial Day weekend driving the Sedona – Flagstaff – Grand Canyon loop and stopped in at the Bellemont H-D dealer for a quick scan.  Nice enough folks.  It’s an old rustic building and not one of those extra large overpriced mega-stores, but what caught my attention were these amateur bright yellow-green signs on every motorcycle seat in the show floor which read:  DO NOT SIT!  I found this amusing and obviously they never received the how to overcome buyer resistance memo!! 

I don’t know if this just local lunacy, but clearly if you want to attract people who have never ridden a Harley and plant the seed for a future purchase you would want to influence their mind set….especially anyone who ventured into the store.  So, my advice is toss out those bright yellow-green tags because this is a vicious circle in which no dealership wins.

Photo taken at Bellemont H-D.

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