Harley Davidson

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The Harley-Davidson Motor Company had a small beginning, but has risen to unimaginable success. The road to success has not been simple and the company has been faced with many hardships. The support of outrageously loyal owners have allowed the company to struggle but maintain its composure. Harley’s top management has implemented plans to achieve prosperity, which has lasted throughout the years, and they are constantly looking forward.
To understand this company’s success it is important to know a brief history. H-D began meagerly in 1903 and is the brainchild of two men, William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. Their first shop was a small wooden shed in their hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The shop was more of a hut, not much larger then a Moravian College dorm room. On the front door there was roughly carved sign that read, “The Harley-Davidson Motor Company.” From this tiny beginning H-D grew to become the ruler of the American motorcycle industry (
Arthur’s brothers Walter, and William Davidson soon joined up and they began expanding the motorcycle industry. About this time H-D filed articles of corporation, and the stock was spilt four ways amongst the Harley’s and the Davidson’s. This begins a family tradition that still thrives today.
H-D rapidly expanded and grew in popularity. In 1953, following the demise of its last American competitor, Indian (Hendee Manufacturing), Harley-Davidson becomes the sole producer of motorcycles in the United States. Harley remains alone for forty-six years.
After World War II, in which H-D produced 90,000 bikes for military use, Harley began to experience its newest and most competitive foe, foreign manufacturers.
The introduction of Japanese motorcycles into the United States drastically affected H-D. Japanese bikes were more efficient and cheaper. Also the Japanese marketed their bikes as clean and wholesome, and tried to pit Harley’s badboy image against them. Now Harley’s management faced a difficult situation, either to evolve or face elimination.
At this time, late 1960s, H-D was still a privately owned corporation, but to avoid takeover and also to gain financial backing H-D merged with the American Machin...

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...f H-D motorcycles. Harley has endured strong Japanese competition, weak parent companies (AMF), and numerous production difficulties. Through all of their trials and tribulations H-D most valuable asset has been its enormous cult following of die-hard bikers. With such positive brand image and tremendous success in the stock market, I think it is safe to say that the patented sound of Harley-Davidson motorcycles will be heard for as long as this country stands.


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