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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

HD - 105th Birthday

Harley Davidson, the American Icon, is celebrating its 105th Anniversary this 08'.

In the beginning....back in 1903....

"It's a story no one on earth could have made up.
Four young men experiment with internal combustion
in a tiny wooden shed. Not only did the shed not
burn down, but the motorcycle they build goes on
to serve for over 100,000 miles, under five owners.
And that's just the beginning."

Harley Davidson history

Fighting Harleys...

In 1917, the United States entered World War I and the military demanded motorcycles for the war effort. Harleys had already been used by the military in border skirmishes with Pancho Villa but World War I was the first time the motorcycle had been adopted for combat service. Harley-Davidson provided over 20,000 machines to the military forces during World War I.

Harley-Davidson again produced large numbers of motorcycles for the US Army in World War II .....Over 90,000 military motorcycles.....would be produced, many to be provided to allies..


Harleys heard around the world....

Harley Davidson has come to symbolize the free spirit of the open road, not only here at home, but across the globe. It's made its impact in Europe, Asia, and even Africa. In fact, in 2005, sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 15 percent internationally over the prior year with the International markets accounting for about 20 percent of the Company's annual motorcycle unit sales.

Asian Invasion....

Believe it or not, Harleys' had a long presence in Asia, especially in the South Pacific regions. Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and others have had a steady and growing big bike following. There are HOG Chapters in Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, even Korea.

In April, 2006, in another move into Asia, Harley-Davidson opened a dealership in Beijing -- the Company's first dealership in mainland China since at least prior to World War II. And the Company has long been a major force in the motorcycle market in Japan, where Harley-Davidson retailed more than 11,000 motorcycles in 2005.

Harley-Davidson first exported motorcycles to Japan in 1912.

In April 2006, Harley opened its first dealership in Beijing, mainland China.

"All around the world, it's been synonymous with freedom, open roads, raw power and good times, and we expect the same things (here)," said David Foley, managing director of the China division for Harley-Davidson Asia.

"Harley-Davidson has succeeded for 100 years. We hope China will continue that trend for another 100 years," said Hollis Zhao, general manager of the Beijing dealership.

Outside the store, dozens of motorcycle enthusiasts roared into parking spots on their bikes, many with long hair, beat-up leather jackets and caps or headscarves.

Dong Fang, a 40-year-old artist, painted an eagle on his Harley Road King. "It brings freedom to my spirit," said Dong, who sported a black cap pulled low over his sunglasses. "Harley's represent the tears of a man. Men can be happy, they can be sad. When men are sad and they want to cry, they get on the bike and ride off."

CBS News

Harley-Davidson Applauds U.S. Trade Agreement With Vietnam

"Harley-Davidson applauds the agreement that USTR reached with the Government of Vietnam," said Harley-Davidson Vice President of Government Affairs Timothy Hoelter. "The bilateral WTO Accession Agreement opens up important new opportunities for Harley-Davidson in the important Asian region.

"Harley-Davidson has proven time and again that an American company, American workers and a great American product can compete abroad...."

The auto channel

Though Harley Davidson has not announced any immediate intention of setting up shop in Vietnam, the recent Beijing dealership in China shows the company’s interest in doing business in Asia. For those of us old enough to remember that little altercation between our two countries, this is pretty amazing. Times do change.

The Knee Slider

Harley Davidson has finally been allowed to export the American Legend to India...2008

But the love affair between India and Harley Davidson isn't new....... In fact, during World War II Harley-Davidsons came into India by the thousands, intended to transport men and deliver mail in the eastern Assam state of India.....First appearing on the streets as long ago as the late 1940s...

No matter what part of the world, when young enthusiasm is mixed with the passion of riding, creativity isn't far behind

Harley Davidson plans to tap into the huge Indian market by importing their product instead of building factories in the country. Other major motorcycle manufacturers such as Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda are not only looking to sell more bikes to India's consumers but have invested considerably into existing factories within the country.

As with most things in life as well as with business, timing can be everything. When Harley-Davidson first pursued selling its Hogs in India, the motorcycle market was growing at double-digit rates. Recently, even that market has slowed leaving many other manufacturers who had invested heavily in factories and dealership networks across India scrambling to retain market share.

However, the Milwaukee motorcycle company has a marketing advantage over other manufacturers that can't be bought or created. They have the Harley-Davidson mystique and brand recognition that has managed to carry quite a premium in every foreign market the company has entered. Harley-Davidson has the financial fall-back of merchandising and selling it's brand, giving it resources beyond any competitors.

It seems Harley-Davidson is facing the same uncertainty every rider faces when going on any road trip of any length, never really knowing what's coming around the next corner.

Clutch and Chrome

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