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Author Topic: Hate to see any plant closing  (Read 1039 times)
Maggie
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« on: January 31, 2018, 12:16:12 AM »

:-(

https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/1078008001


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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2018, 12:27:22 AM »

Too many similar models, mostly heavy with poor mpg. Evolve or die, just sorry to see layoffs and closings.
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2018, 02:35:08 AM »

I tried to find the article, but I can't locate it at the moment. It reported that the millennials are buying fewer cars and homes than any other generation.
Since I'm working off memory, I can't recall if it was a reliable source of data.

Evolve or die? Do you mean HD or us? <----just an attempt at being humorous/rhetorical, I understood you.
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jdbrot
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2018, 03:14:58 AM »

Well the market has changed as the boomers are aging. All motorcycle sales are down and unless they figure out why and how to appeal to new riders I don't think this will be the last bad news.
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2018, 05:40:50 PM »

I am not sorry to see HD closing a plant - but am sorry to see 800+ employees loosing their job and for the state of the entire motorcycle market.

I wonder how the folks in York, PA are reacting to the news. Are they lamenting the loss of jobs in another state or simply rejoicing for their gain?
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CelticCross
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2018, 06:15:20 PM »

I wonder how the folks in York, PA are reacting to the news. Are they lamenting the loss of jobs in another state or simply rejoicing for their gain?

As with many transitional issues, some combination of the two. Originally form York, I have several relatives who work at the Harley-Davidson facility. They need to provide for their families, but certainly would not want others to lose their jobs.

The concern is always there; the future of H-D manufacturing in York isn't a new issue, and the work force there has been on the short end in the past. Notably, in 2009, the York facility lost quite a few jobs...

link...  Stakeholders react to York Harley decision (from 2009)

Fortunately, the job opportunities sometimes come. Unfortunately, the job opportunities sometimes go.
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2018, 09:48:02 PM »

There was an article in the financial news the other day calling Harley Davidson a "Must Sell".  They're logic was a lot of what has been said here.  That the motorcycle market especially in the USA is shrinking and that the portion of it belonging to HD is mostly older retired and retiring people.  These people aare somewhat saturated already and the number of new ones is shrinking.  At the same time the analyst felt that HD has done nothing to attract the younger crowd.

At the same time, I have doubts that the analyst is right.  My doubts are based in the incredible value of the HD trademark, name and logos.  Many years ago during one of the bad spells for business that Disney has had over the years I remember an analyst saying that they were in an irreversible downhill slide.  The writer neglected the off the books value of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and such as well as the fact that Disney was acquiring Winnie the Pooh.  It is very easy to underestimate the staying power of a company that has the kind of cult image that HD has.

The problem with all that I said is that it doesn't help the laid off workers.  I know that I'm being an ass in a way, but the only thing that helps the laid off workers is new training and support towards retirement for the older workers.  In the end manufacturing jobs in general are going to be going away.  If not from business trends it will be from automation and modernization.  All of this means that the rust belt type jobs are dying.  What people don't understand is that there is no way to have a better world and a better life for the many in the long run without embracing technology, but the same technology is taking jobs.

One of the examples that hits me is when I go through Gary, IN.  In years gone by this was the home of steel in America and many thousands of people had jobs in the mills.  Due to foreign competition and bad planning the steel industry got reduced to a fraction of it's past.  Of course thousands lost their jobs.  The part that shows the real changes is that a few of the steel companies managed to survive ok, like Mittel Steel.  However when you look at those companies their production is highly automated and they have a fraction of the employees they had in 1980.

The bottom line is that I hate to see anyone lose their job, but sometimes trying to keep the jobs is like trying to prevent the tide from rolling in.
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2018, 04:38:30 AM »

Tradition is great, but at some point you have to change your market target.
Cadillac and Buick catered to an older clientele until their sales reached a low point.
They pivoted to a younger crowd and are doing fine now. Harley needs to pivot soon.
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SilverBullet
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2018, 03:33:15 AM »

Tradition is great, but at some point you have to change your market target.
Cadillac and Buick catered to an older clientele until their sales reached a low point.
They pivoted to a younger crowd and are doing fine now. Harley needs to pivot soon.

Good point Mark! I agree.
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sirkitrider-2
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2018, 06:30:10 PM »

One wonders how long it will be before HD roars up to the White House asking for a bailout??? :-(

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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2018, 07:18:38 PM »

Markets change as generations change.  Harley-Davidson has catered to the older rider group for years, concentrating heavily on the patriotic genre to attract customers.  The unfortunatel thing is that things change, and the millennial, as a group, in general, donít seem to have that patriotic bent.  Itís more of of a ďme, nowĒ attitude, with a sense of self, even selfishness.  The younger group is more interested in speed and flash than tradition, laid back cruising or touring.  Unfortunately for H-D, they donít fit that category very well, and their older group is fast becoming old enough to the point that they no longer can or want to ride, and it cuts into their market.  At this point, I think H-D needs to shift its focus if it wants to stay in business.  They tried to do that several years ago when they produced the Street Rod and it didnít work.  Traditional HD riders scoffed at it, and owners just didnít fit in with other HD riders.  At the same time, non-HD riders didnít identify with them either.  Now the Street Rod is made in India, I think, and itís a more traditionally-styled (non-cruiser) 750cc motorcycle.  Quite a switch, Iíd say.  Iíve been out of riding a couple years, so I donít know how well that oneís taken off, but there was quite a bit of skepticism when it was introduced.  Iíd say Harley-Davidson is experiencing some shaky times.  I just hope not too many families will be negatively impacted by these closures.
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2018, 10:50:40 PM »

H-D needs to start changing the target perception and stop selling the "lifestyle". What is the general idea when you think H-D? I see grizzled older guys in leather jackets. They have pretty good bikes, if they and the motorcycle industry in general don't get the younger crowd more interested in riding motorcycles the industry is gonna be in for some tough times.
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 12:58:59 AM »

HD needs to make a competitive bike in the $6-8k range or they can kiss any young riders away.  And for the love of it all, make it something other than a cruiser or cruiser-ish.

I just took a look at the website, I guess the Street 500 and 750 is their answer.  Priced right but not all that interesting compared to an SV650, MT07, Z650 or Ducati Scrambler... to name a few.
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 02:51:54 PM »

There's no reason Harley can't keep selling the big twins next to a full line of bikes of all size and type.
The trick is, can they make smaller bikes at a price and quality to compete with the Japanese.
They tried in the past and it didn't go so well. See Aermacchi.
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Dan
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2018, 06:10:15 PM »

There's no reason Harley can't keep selling the big twins next to a full line of bikes of all size and type.

Absolutely, their big twins are the heart of the company.  I know they tried more recently with Buell as well so credit them for that.
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JBCrabbypants
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2018, 11:18:58 PM »

I started to see myself and those of my generation as dinosaurs some years ago. I have very little in common with younger people, and what interests them. My cynical nature leads me to believe that there is almost nothing Harley-Davidson, or anyone else can do that would revive the motorcycle industry in any significant way.

I will say that I think that the future of motorcycling lies in relatively small displacement, utilitarian, internal-combustion, and advancing electric machines.

I'm not going to expend a lot of energy worrying about the future of motorcycling, I feel that I have enjoyed it's 'golden age', and there will be no shortage of fun and exciting motorcycles, new and used, to sample in the time I have left to ride them.

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EZMark
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2018, 03:46:18 PM »

I will say that I think that the future of motorcycling lies in relatively small displacement, utilitarian, internal-combustion, and advancing electric machines.
That's why so many people ride scooters in Europe and Asia.
Unfortunately, part of the motorcycle culture in the US is image, and utiltarian doesn't fit the image.
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JBCrabbypants
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2018, 03:58:42 PM »

I will say that I think that the future of motorcycling lies in relatively small displacement, utilitarian, internal-combustion, and advancing electric machines.
That's why so many people ride scooters in Europe and Asia.
Unfortunately, part of the motorcycle culture in the US is image, and utiltarian doesn't fit the image.


The image of motorcycling from the American 'old guard' will eventually fade into something much different than it is today.

It's happened before though, starting with all those 'nicest people' riding little red and white Honda's back in the mid-60's, effectively re-shaping motorcycling's public image from Brando's outlaw 'Wild One', to something entirely different. Honda did a better job of selling pure 'fun' than anyone before, or since, as far as I'm concerned.

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EZMark
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2018, 02:38:36 AM »

I think you're right. But I think the glory days of motorcycling are over. Today's youth are less interested in outdoor activities. Some areas of the country are even using their schools to teach and encourage youths to hunt deer, since the number of hunters has dropped and the deer population has not.
Of course motorcycles won't go away, but the manufacturers are probably going to have to adjust to lower sales numbers, especially in the US. Since Harley sells the most bikes in the US, and most of their bikes in the US, it's natural that they are feeling the impact first.
Since Harley sells so few bikes overseas and has such a limited product line, they can't count on Europe and Asia to pick up the slack like the Japanese can.
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JBCrabbypants
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« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2018, 05:01:55 AM »

I think you're right. But I think the glory days of motorcycling are over. Today's youth are less interested in outdoor activities.

Oh, I know the glory days of motorcycling are waning, and aren't coming back. I'm feel that I've been privileged to live in motorcycling's golden period. I'm not going to fret much about young people not getting into it in the same way most of us did, it's just a different world now.
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Dan
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« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2018, 10:20:25 PM »

It's happened before though, starting with all those 'nicest people' riding little red and white Honda's back in the mid-60's, effectively re-shaping motorcycling's public image from Brando's outlaw 'Wild One', to something entirely different. Honda did a better job of selling pure 'fun' than anyone before, or since, as far as I'm concerned.



I didn't get seriously interested in riding until 14 years ago, never really followed the motorcycle industry other than watching CHIPs on TV as a kid growing up.  However the "nicest people on a Honda" and "Kawasaki let's the good times roll" got into my headspace.  I suppose TV advertising had a lot to do with it.  It's so unusual to see a motorcycle ad outside of an MC website or magazine these days.  From a marketing stand point the MC industry is very passive these days.
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EZMark
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« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2018, 03:15:20 AM »

Oh, I know the glory days of motorcycling are waning, and aren't coming back. I'm feel that I've been privileged to live in motorcycling's golden period. I'm not going to fret much about young people not getting into it in the same way most of us did, it's just a different world now.
It really is. When I was a kid, there were all kinds of places near my house to ride dirt bikes. That's how we learned to ride, so we were already good riders when we got our street bikes. Dirt riding is a pack up and travel expedition now, and the choice of riding areas are few.
It's a lot harder to learn how to ride while you're dodging cars on the street.
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« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2018, 02:59:17 PM »

With so many "distracted" drivers on the road, is it any wonder that the motorcycle industry is having trouble convincing people that they need a bike? Between drunk drivers and people on their phones, I need to have my head on a swivel and be at my sharpest every second. I still wouldn't trade it for a car, though, and take two wheels whenever possible.
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« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2018, 06:50:29 PM »

Bruce, I've said what you just said a million times and believe it strongly, but this spring I've kind of wussed out.  I took the convertible yesterday and left the bike home.  Then late last night on my way home it began to snow, so maybe I was right.
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2018, 02:12:34 PM »

Was talking about this with a mate over dinner last night & he thinks it's a bit 'political'.  It seems that due to import tariff's by Mr. Trump on some goods going your way, the EU in it's wisdom is putting a massive tariff on imported H.D's, so reacting to that H.D are opening factories in Europe to avoid the tariffs & maintain European sales levels.  Least ways that's how it was explained to me, I was also shown this article from the Wall Street Journal ..... https://www.wsj.com/articles/harley-davidson-to-shift-production-overseas-to-offset-eu-tariffs-1529927301

That said, I think H.D have thier heads in the sand much the same way as the British motorcycle industry did back in the 1960's, whereby they dropped lower capacity machines in favour of the larger capacity machines in their range (sales of which were enhanced by racing victories) this let foriegn manufactures (largely Japanese) get a foothold on sales of lower capacity machines (at that time 250cc was maximum for learners) which were found to be reliable & so 'brand loyalty' came into being, after passing thier test riders bought larger capacity foriegn machines, British bike sales plummeted.
I don't know what the answer is but I think they need to diversify from purely big v twins, look what happened to HRD Vincent motorcycles (the most prestigeous British brand in it's day)
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« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2018, 03:34:14 PM »

The tariffs had nothing to do with the decision to close the plants and cut production, those decisions were made well before the tariffs. H.D. has reached its saturation point in the U.S. market, but the overseas market for them is still relatively strong. It apparently makes sense to those in charge to make their bikes closer (and cheaper) to their main markets. This has been coming for quite a few years-that's why H.D. started to outsource many of its parts.
  I happen to think they're wrong. You can't compare riding in the U.S., with its highways and wide open spaces, with that of Europe and southeastern Asia, where streets are jammed and narrow. There will always be a demand for larger displacement bikes and scooters here in the states. The various manufacturers should concentrate on developing a good "customer based' dealer and parts/service network.
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« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2018, 04:50:53 PM »

It is unfortunate for the employees that will be unemployed temporarily but the company is going to survive. No amount of advertising is going to "sell" a person on buying a motorcycle. Either you have a need for a motorcycle and/or love riding a motorcycle or you don't. Look a little closer at the motorcycle market in general and you will find that all makes experience "ups" and "downs" in sales. Doomsday prophets take notice...despite lulls in sales and little advertising Harley Davidson will survive whether you like them or not.
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Maggie
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« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2018, 07:03:21 PM »

Silverís dead on.   

Off Topic:
I often wondered the same thing about cars.  Have you ever bought a car because of an TV ad? Or gone to a specific dealer because of an ad?  There are ads that run in St.  Louis that would make me stay away though!!
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« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2018, 08:40:32 PM »

I have to differ on advertising. My brother in law has never ridden a bike. However, he went in to a Harley dealership right after he retired. After the salesman told him he needed a brand new Fat Boy and appealed to his masculinity, he bought a new $20K bike. He signed up for the Harley class and proceeded to crash every time he got on the bike. Needless to say, he failed the course. So now he has a new bike in his back yard with 17 miles on it. That he can't ride. (They had to deliver it because he couldn't ride it home without a license). So I would have to say, advertising works.
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« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2018, 09:07:19 PM »

pallettman I am sorry to hear about your brother in law's episode of bad luck. Hopefully he has not given up on riding his motorcycle yet. Maybe with a little patience and practice he will be able to overcome the initial problems. Hats off to him for taking the plunge into the motorcycling world. I know other riders that told similar horror stories only to develop into very adept and skilled riders with a little time on the seat. Maybe some encouragement from you would help him. He picked a beast of a bike to start on but he can do it if he wants to. Best of luck to him and best wishes.
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