Harley-Davidson Motor Company

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Introduction

Harley-Davidson Motor Company is an American manufacturer of motorcycles based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company sells heavyweight motorcycles designed for cruising on the highway. Harley-Davidson motorcycles (popularly known as "Harley") have a distinctive design and exhaust note. They are especially noted for the tradition of heavy customization with its special engine roar and signature teardrop gas tank which is considered a unique experience that symbolizes the best of the American dream. Harley has been manufacturing motorcycles for more than a century and has earned themselves an enduring place in America’s automotive history. We believe Harley is overall a successful company but our case study shows that there are few marketing developments can be achieved.

Problem

As our group discussed, we believe that the problem with Harley begins with their product raw material expense. Those expenses then roll over to the retail price of the bikes causing the limited target market of the company to have a median income of $80.000. The motorcycles are heavy, which are designed for the American male.

Analysis

Most of Harley’s customers are male, only about 11 percent are female. I think this is the problem of Harley since they are only producing heavyweight motorcycles. Being too heavy is a major problem with female customers. Harley somehow needs to customize their products so it can fit both male and female customers because not every man is big and strong enough to ride a Harley bike. Another problem which I think Harley might want to consider is the price. As it said in the case, the largest group of Harley owners, and target market have a median income of more than $80,000. Since the economy is going down plus too many people are unemployed, not everyone will be able to afford to buy a Harley bike. It will even affect the old customers to consider carefully before deciding to buy another Harley bike. According to Forbes, the average income of an American family is about $45,000 or less. Yet Harley might want to consider reducing the price or produce a bike that won’t cost too much. They certainly don’t want to miss this big group since 28 percent of their customers are first time bikers. In July 17, 2008 the company announced its results for the second quarter ended June 29, 2008 on its website as revenue for the quarter was $1.

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