18 July 2017


Back on Harley's problem attracting new customers.

I was riding before there was Evo.

The Evolution motor is what really let HD sputter along on life support.  Without that, they'd have died the death they richly deserved for the quality control they'd established.

What got them off life support was they stopped selling motorcycles.

They started selling a lifestyle, that a Harley Davidson motorcycle was an integral part of.

It was tailor made to sell to the baby-boomer demographic and like all such tailored sells, it doesn't much appeal outside its target market.

They failed to anticipate where the saturation point of this market was and create a second line of products for a motorcycle lifestyle that appealed to millennials.  Millennials, in general, already have a lifestyle they're happy with and lack the dissatisfaction common to boomers with their status quo that drives a lifestyle change and buying a new scoot.

It's a hard sell, to put it mildly.

Harley is going to have to learn how to sell motorcycles again.  To sell them without the baggage of the lifestyle they've been pitching for decades now.

It remains to be seen if they're agile enough.


  1. How many millennials have a drivers license at all, much less a bike license?

    1. A lot of them around Austin seem to have moped licenses, I think that's what you need for a Vespa. Those seem incredibly popular with millenials around here. Other than that they mostly bicycle. And bitch about how public transportation here sucks. And ride Uber and bitch about that. I agree with a lot of McThag's points except for millenials in general being happy about anything. Smug and self righteous? Sure, they've got that. But they don't seem very happy. In fact they seem to like to be unhappy. Always got to protest something even if (unlike the boomers when they were that age who knew what they were against) they don't know why. The difference between millenials and boomers is, that something like a Harley won't fill the void in their life. Maybe 20-30 years from now. Right now they're waiting for someone else to come along and do that for them.

    2. No matter how hard you complain, if you do nothing to change your situation, you're happy with it.

  2. One problem Harley has always had IMO is that they can't seem to figure out how to make or sell anything but big burly Hogs. And a lot of people who might like a motorcycle aren't in the market for a big burly Hog; beginning riders who are intimidated by the thing's size and weight, women riders, younger riders...

    1. Go ahead and read my post again.

      They're selling at LIFESTYLE that includes a Harley. They're not selling motorcycles at all, those come with the lifestyle.


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