Harley Bloody Harley

April 20, 2017

All Posts, News

Harley Bloody Harley

Harley-Davidson is still bleeding. This morning the motor company announced it will lay off 118 workers at its York, Pennsylvania assembly plant. It promised to add 118 jobs in Kansas City, It didn’t say when it would start hiring.

The announcement came two days after Polaris said it was adding two, new Indian baggers to its product line. Polaris, which announced it was discontinuing its Victory brand in January, will now offer a dozen Indian models. The new touring bikes are the Chieftain Limited and the Chieftain Elite. According to Polaris, the new bikes will feature 111-cubic-inch engines, “infotainment” and navigation systems and many pounds of shiny chrome. The Limited will retail for $24,449 and the Elite will cost $31,499.

Since the beginning of the “economic recovery” in 2008, Harley has pursued multiple marketing strategies. The company is now telling potential investors that it can create two million new American riders; sell half of its motorcycles overseas; create 100 new models in the next decade; and increase profits. Harley has been trying to sell touring bikes and Polaris is aggressively contesting Harley’s share of that market.

Sales Dropping

Harley-Davidson’s sales continue to fall.

Harley announced this week that its “consolidated revenue” for the first quarter of 2017 had dropped $250 million from the first quarter last year. The company’s net income dropped from $250.5 million to $186.4 million.

Sales declined everywhere except “Latin America,” where the company sold 456 more motorcycles than last year. Harley sold 33,316 new motorcycles in the United States in the first three months of 2017 which was about 2,000 fewer motorcycles than last year. The company sold 21,773 motorcycles in all the rest of the world which was also down from last year. The company said it sold 55,049 motorcycles worldwide which was down about four percent from 2016.


In a press release, Harley boss of bosses Matt Levatich said, “First quarter U.S. retail sales were in line with our projections and we remain confident in our full-year plan despite international retail sales being down in the first quarter. We are very pleased with our continued growth in U.S. market share and the progress our U.S. dealers made in reducing their inventory of 2016 motorcycles in the quarter.”

“We recently announced our plan to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally. We are energized by our focused strategy, and we believe our powerful brand and commitment to excellence will position us to drive demand for our products and grow our sport.”

The company plans to ship between 80,000 and 85.000 motorcycles between now and Independence Day.

Harley’s Chief Financial Officer John Olin said, “We believe the U.S. industry continues to be adversely affected by soft used bike prices and weakness in the oil-dependent areas and we continue to expect the industry will remain soft for the full year.”


56 Responses to “Harley Bloody Harley”

  1. Shovelhead Says:

    I no longer have the shirt, but wore one that said…”Hungry? out of work?
    Eat your Rice Burner”
    I think it was late 70’s early 80’s time period.
    I also remember standing in front of the local watering hole with some Brothers when A guy pulled up in a brand new Jap bike, can’t remember what it was. When the guy started backing the bike in with the rest of our Harley’s, one of the Brothers told him, he may survive if he parks the rice across the street. Needless to say, the guy left, never to be seen again at that Bar.
    I loved the 70’s, Disco and all!!

    Respect to 1%ers

  2. Sieg Says:

    I remember…think I still got a tee-shirt buried that sez “Better a Sister in a Whorehouse than a Brother on a Honda”.

    Most of my Brothers had the wings on them some damn place, I just wouldn’t ever commit to that…was gonna get the oakleaf, but fortunately, waited a bit, and started seeing the writing on the wall, so I didn’t.

    Can we go back to the seventies now? Suck parts and all, it was still better.


  3. Davr Says:

    I absolutely hate going to HD for anything. The only saving grace is the good service I get, simply because my local HD service manager is a three piece patch club member like myself. If it was not for that, I’m sure service would suck too!

  4. IcemanB&W Says:

    Very well put Paladin. I don’t think I could articulate it better. I share the same sentiments. It comes down to loyalty. I don’t feel a reciprocity from H-D, and for me loyalty can’t be a one way street.

  5. Paladin Says:

    For me, it’s about loyalty. I’ve built and raced HDs off and on for most of my life. As such, I’m well aware of and can work around their mechanical shortcomings. What I can’t work around is the company’s disloyalty to those that supported HD through its lean times and bowling ball years.

    Harley Davidson has ripped off, sensationalized, and commercialized a lifestyle it can’t be bothered to understand, all in the name of corporate greed, and has rewarded those loyal to their brand by providing sub-standard service, exorbitant prices for service, parts and a motorcycle price that can’t be justified, based on its fit, finish, and reliability. When a company cheapens their product and raises their prices, the future doesn’t look good. The adage; “You can get better quality, but you can’t pay more” comes to mind.

    When one hitches one’s future to the coat tails of the fickle, urban rich, one is always at risk of being dumped for “the next best thing”. The urban rich are devoid of loyalty, as is Harley Davidson. Will a perfect match become a perfect storm? Only time will tell.


  6. Filburt Says:

    I was told this weekend at a HD dealer that they are a “MSRP” dealer take it or leave it! I left it.

  7. Rebel Says:

    Dear Sieg,

    Let me just throw this ot there because you probably remember. Guys used to get Harley-Davidson tattoos and say, “I would rather see my brother dead than on a Jap bike.”


  8. Steel Says:

    HD going the way of many companies in that quality, service and reliability suffer because bean counters trying to squeeze out a buck force bad decisions for the product. While a company needs to make money to stay on business, these bean counters decisions eventually do the opposite because the product sucks. Suits will never learn and keep making these bad decisions by listening to bean counters. HD is going to end up being bought up for the name just like the AMF days and the bikes will suck even more. History repeating itself. Some American company brings a truly quality bike to the market at a fair price they would sell I believe. Too bad dickheaded suits can’t get this simple idea.



  9. Sieg Says:

    “I’ve often looked at the Yamaha Star 80” (!!!!) “and said to myself why can’t Harley build a bike like that.”….”I wouldn’t mind a radiator where my factory oil cooler is and with a well designed Harley lower fairing…”(!!!) “The water cooled engine in a intermediate sized Harley would be my kind of bike.”(!!!!)

    Dafuque, couple fools in here took a wrong turn at the moto-guzzi page. Or was that the pig page?

    HD only ever really needed three models, the Sporty, E-Glide, and StupidGlide. Gave you everything you needed to build a bike, at a reasonable price.

    York and KC? Well, that’s why toolboxes have wheels. I’ve got a radical idea to turn HD around. Close York, close KC, cut production back to around 30K a year TOTAL, bring all production and assembly back to Milwakky, strip all the bullshit out of the company, clothes, riding clubs, all that crap that endears them to the RUB-scum, and make real motorcycles again. Lose the plastic, lose the Taiwani parts, and build actual, steel bikes. Let the rest of the world chase you, instead of chasing them.


  10. SomeGuy Says:

    I am gonna guess I am right in Harley’s prime demographic. I have ridden motorcycles pretty much my whole life, but could never afford a new Harley until I hit my early fifties.

    I was totally turned off by the way HD treats it’s customers. It took all of a year for me to trade the bike for a Victory. I got the feeling that because I was a middle aged, white, professional I would fall for any bullshit they cared to feed me and would never consider anything BUT a Harley.

    If I went in to all the detail it would make a long post no one would care to read, but suffice to say nothing HD can do will make me stop riding, but they were damn sure able to make sure I will never spend another dime in an HD dealership.

    Lucky for them there are middle class, middle aged white guys that want Harleys being minted every day, not like they are dying off or anything……oh wait…..

  11. Paladin Says:

    Dear Rebel

    Thank you.

    long May You Ride,


  12. Gottabejustright Says:

    “Namely buying a bike and going through the fucker to make it your bike…not one like the other numerous rub-rides.”

    Couldn’t’ have said it any better.

  13. Rebel Says:

    Dear Beltdrive Bob,

    Good bye


  14. Beltdrive Bob Says:

    ” What’s with the sensationalistic headline Harley Bloody Harley” Mr Aging Rebel as if H-D has done something wrong or is deserving to be cursed?It’s like you think he greatest name in motorcycles has let their customers down.Mr Aging Rebel you have shown no respect for Harley Davidson.What do you ride a Kawasaki?

  15. Dragon Says:

    Why bring out 100 new models when paring down to fewer models and improving those might lower production costs and thereby customer costs could simplify things? Adding a different piece of plastic or a louder radio isn’t necessarily an improvement, anyway.

  16. FF Says:

    “The resale value” LMFAO what a crock o’shit. Find someone with that much cash. Can’t? Oh well, trade it in back to HD, so they can rip you off twice.

  17. Beltdrive Bob Says:

    Yes RIDER 1 I am not holding my breath for the elusive bike that H-D could build.I’ve often looked at the Yamaha Star 80 and said to myself why can’t Harley build a bike like that.I would never buy the Yammy cause I support H-D.I wouldn’t mind a radiator where my factory oil cooler is and with a well designed Harley lower fairing you would not see much of the rad.The water cooled engine in a intermediate sized Harley would be my kind of bike.More power,quieter,not as hot,more reliable no need for a 6 speed,ect…With Harley’s manufacturing and engineering might they could easily build a winner.

  18. Paladin Says:

    @ LoneWoolf,

    There are those that post on this page that have met me, shared meals with me, know what I look like, and know exactly what I’m about.

    Why on earth would I, or anyone for that matter need to exercise any skill when labeling you as an obvious asshole? In fact, you are such an asshole that it can be detected from space.

    Berkeley Paladin, I and obviously many others unanimously agree that you are a blatant asshole. It is true that great minds do indeed think alike.

    Paladin (SoCal)

  19. LoneWoolf Says:

    stroker Says:
    this is in defense of Paladin.

    Do you know what Paladin looks like? I bet not.

    Years ago, in Berkeley, I knew a Paladin, but sadly the Paladin I knew has long since passed away. He loved Triumphs, and was a creative dude in many respects. He died young, and had a rough time the last couple of years. RIP http://www.write-aholic.com/desperately-seeking-paladin/

    I don’t know what your buddy Paladin looks like. But based on his frequent use of “Asshole” when he refers to me, I doubt he has the poetic talent of the since passed Paladin. Berkeley Paladin was much more skilled in calling me an “Asshole” without actually using the word.

  20. The Kraut Says:

    Harleys were more fun when they came as good subject matter for a build.

    They also were better when standard equipment was a carburetor and a kick starter standard.

    The mocos bullshit selling the image as a drive in and ride out option cheapens what “bikers and pirates” did to ride and remain unto their own kind before the “Halloween” be what ya aint horeshit debuted here in the world….

    Namely buying a bike and going through the fucker to make it your bike…not one like the other numerous rub-rides.

    Respect to those who warrant respect

    The Kraut

  21. stroker Says:


    this is in defense of Paladin.
    You come on here, and allude to “bikers and pirates.”
    To most of us here, that’s a thinly veiled insult, to a culture, and probably a “look” you don’t like.
    Strike one against you.
    When Paladin checks your shit (yeah, you come off as an asshole), you respond by this:

    “This coming from someone who believes that every day is Halloween.”

    Strike 2.

    Now….just how long do you think people on this site are going to tolerate your insults? Do you know what Paladin looks like? I bet not.
    So all you’ve accomplished is more childish prattle laced with arrogance.


  22. Paladin Says:

    Catfish OCNY Says:
    April 21, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    “Every day ISN’T Halloween? Well….Shit.”

    It’s not Halloween? Really? My God, I’m so undone! Just fuckin’ crushed I tell ya.

    Long May You Ride,


  23. RIDER 1 Says:

    @Beltdrive Bob, you have put a suggestion out there for what you would like to see. I’m sure you aren’t the only one who has voiced that same suggestion. Now how long do you think you might have to wait till you see something along those lines? Personally I would’nt try to hold my breath….

    RIDER 1

  24. RIDER 1 Says:

    Sounds to me like Harley has decided to focus their efforts on overseas sales rather than getting right with American riders. I don’t see Harley gaining the following that they have enjoyed in the good ol U.S.A.. They will not be able to sell bikes for what they sell for here. Sure there will be some rich folks out there but the average person will not be able to afford their prices.
    I have owned 6 Harleys over the years. Loved everyone of them but found things I didn’t like about everyone of them. When the average bagger is going for about 21k the buyer expects the bike to be mechanically sound and the fit and finish to justify spending that kind of money. They don’t want to hear a salesman tell them that if they are looking for that level of quality that they need to step up to a 30k CVO.

    RIDER 1

  25. Catfish OCNY Says:

    Every day ISN’T Halloween? Well….Shit.

  26. Beltdrive Bob Says:

    No to worry about H-D.They’ve outlasted the competition the latest being Victory.Indian will be the next Polaris failure.I bought a 2017 Road King but it’s heavy monster.Harley has to design a bike with the size and weight of the HLFST with the power of a M8 then I would buy it as quickly as I could make the deal.

  27. LoneWoolf Says:

    “Paladin Says:
    April 21, 2017 at 6:37 am
    And yet here you are, continually posting on a blog devoted to the very “bikers and pirates” you look down your nose at. You really are quite the asshole.”

    This coming from someone who believes that every day is Halloween.

  28. sherides Says:


    What’s your Stealership of choice?

    Sandy’s in Fremont is mine, unfortunately it’s quite a drive for us.
    The closest dealership to us is in GR (Hudsonville) and owned by Fox Motors.
    I don’t have many positive things to say about them. Especially after two years ago their Sales Mgr quoted me a price of $8900. for a 1999 Dyna that was in fair condition at best. Guess they thought since I was there without my ol man I wouldn’t know any better….


  29. IcemanB&W Says:

    Harley-Davidson forgot long ago who put them on the map… Veterans. The same vets that started the Motorcycle Club culture post WWI. It was largely veterans that rode HD’s and created the “outlaw” persona. They were loyal to the brand because they rode Harleys during the war. Over time, Harley just expected that continued loyalty because of the persona and culture that they became a part of. However, they have failed to hold up their end of the bargain and focused on garage queen bikes and the Sturgis crowd. The customer service is shit too. The last Harley I bought in 2012 was missing a fork spring coming from the factory. When I contacted them to get it fixed, they couldn’t be further from apologetic. That was enough for me to never give HD another dime.

    LoneWoolf – of course the Jap bikes are knock offs and don’t have the resale value, but paying more for the HD version doesn’t get you a better bike. The knockoff will last longer and be cheaper if you want to replace it. And as for us “bikers or pirates” not being “riders”, I guarantee we ride our bikes more than any RUB.

  30. puterindabasketchief Says:

    Seems the chickens have come home to roost.


  31. Paladin Says:

    LoneWoolf Says:
    April 21, 2017 at 5:45 am

    “While I regret that HD focuses on bikers and pirates more than riders,…

    And yet here you are, continually posting on a blog devoted to the very “bikers and pirates” you look down your nose at. You really are quite the asshole.


  32. Nags Says:


    Where you at in Michigan? My local dealer is phenomenal to deal with and they know when I walk in its not gonna be a $500 sale.

  33. LoneWoolf Says:

    Triumphs are now made in Thailand. BMW has the worst customer satisfaction rating. BMW technology is owned by BMW and leased to it’s dealers, no independents can lease or purchase the equipment. Most of the “standard” models offered by Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki are nock-offs of Harleys with even worse resale value. Ducati ownership is like dating an Italian fashion model, lots of drama, little service.

    While I regret that HD focuses on bikers and pirates more than riders, and I wish that at least some models had traction control, throttle by wire, adjustable front and rear suspension, riding mode selection, and came it at less weight, I will still stick with my basic standard Harley, in part so that I can still complete required maintenance.

  34. rookery Says:

    HD management is still hellbent on eliminating any independents from touching or working on their bikes. I know of workshops round here that have to order parts via via to circumnavigate Harleys Policys. Official dealers can lose their franchise if found supplying independent repairers with spares. Good enough reason never to buy a new model bike from them.
    Contrast that with BMW and Triumph who have been building a whole new customer base by giving away basic models to customisers to do their thing and actively encouraging people to alter the basics of what they buy.

  35. Union proud Says:

    When Harley stops building bikes that’s when I stop riding.

  36. Shovelhead Says:

    I still ride a 1973 FLH. Some years it’s a Full Dresser, other years it’s whatever I want it to be. Right now a 50’s style Bobber.
    I just happen to like older bikes that I can work on.

    I know there’s something to be said for just hoping on a new Harley, push the button and go. But these new Harley’s do absolutely nothing for me.
    I feel nothing when I ride them, just getting from point A to point B.

    When the local Dealerships started doing fashion shows in the 90’s. That was it for me. Harley completely abandoned their hard core base who carried the company through hard times in the 70’s, for the Yuppies with expendable money. And we all know this wasn’t a lifestyle for the Yuppies, it was just the flavor of the Month, then on to something else!

    If the company folds, I’ll feel bad for the Americans losing their jobs. But the company execs? They can go fuck themselves.

    Respect to 1%ers

  37. IcemanB&W Says:

    Like Paladin said, Harley sucks. HD bikes are now overpriced crap. Compared to the competition, they are simply inferior. I have to ride one because my lifestyle dictates it, but I know full well the Japs and others build a better, more reliable, longer lasting bike.

  38. BMW Says:

    (Continuing) that modifications sold by a dealer invalidated a warranty? How can a company fire experienced workers and replace them with temps before a lack of workmanship drives away the customers? How high can prices be jacked before people go back to building their own? I don’t think that I will ever buy a other Harley. I have owned more than ten Harleys, most of which I resto-modded myself. Ow that the gang that took over and used biker-lite is retiring, who is going to “appropriate” designs? I sure wouldn’t recommend buying Corp stock…


  39. BMW Says:

    No surprises here, are there? How many $2 t-shirts can you sell for $30 before you burn your customers into vanishing? How many foreign parts can a company put on a motorcycle before it loses it’s claimed “American” identity. How many times can a company CLAIM

  40. Dutchboy Says:

    HD decided to build a pressed together crank shaft (along with countless other “revenue generating” bugs then they wonder where the brand loyalty has gone? Here’s a clue HD, brand loyalty is a two way street. Screwing your clients is NOT a plan for long term survival.

  41. Lou Sassel Says:

    Unless things have changed, the York factory builds the soft tails and the KC factory builds the sportsters. Looks like the demand is shifting to the smaller bikes.

  42. Bone Head Says:

    …“We recently announced our plan to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally. We are energized by our focused strategy, and we believe our powerful brand and commitment to excellence will position us to drive demand for our products and grow our sport.”

    They have lost touch with their customers, plain and simple.

  43. Willie47 Says:

    Its almost as if they are returning to the bad old days of AMF, bean counters are running the place and the employees arent happy. I wouldnt buy a new Harley on a bet. I wonder who will save them this time.

  44. Paladin Says:

    The talking heads at HD will come up with endless excuses. Truth is: There bikes suck, are overpriced, under powered, riddled with recalls, and people are just plain tired of all of HDs bullshit.


  45. TerryB Says:

    I agree Harleyguy, the shop here on the Northside of Indy acts like it pisses them off to wait on you are the parts counter. then they say we have to order that..

    Sharon Cox, I hope you are right.

  46. Lurch Says:

    And this is on top of the 100 lay offs last year!

  47. RIDER 1 Says:

    Maybe thus will actually give the MOCO a reason to get back to building better bikes and better customer service. Sometimes it takes a swift kick in the ass to get remotivated!

    RIDER 1

  48. Harleyguy Says:

    Sales are dropping,no surprise. The dealers here in Michigan act like your bothering them when you want to order parts. Their shirts are made in Honduras. So much for BUY AMERICAN. Oh, I need a metric wrench to change my battery.

  49. Sharon Cox Says:

    While it is sad 118 people are losing their jobs, I have to admit I am glad the “fad” of motorcycle riding is fading. To me it is separating the wheat from the chaff. The true riders will continue on, the posers fall by the wayside.

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