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Rider
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Ehh just restructuring like all companies go through.

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IMO, HD needs a CEO from the motorcycle industry. They're now being run by a former tennis shoe CEO. A year or so ago, they hired a soup and cereal bar executive to a high level position to expand the brand...he's already out the door. BMW Motorrad North America and Ducati are both run by executives that ride. Every time HD suffers a decline, their senior mgmt. comes up with some strategic plan that’s chock full of BS catch phrases, but not once have they focused on talking to customers, or more importantly, former customers that left HD for another brand. With declining sales, HD is trying to get new customers to come in the front door, as existing customers walk out the back door.
 

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For a company whose brand is “All American” hiring a CEO is who is a German citizen — not an American, not a HD owner, not a motorcycle rider/enthusiast, and has no real motorcycle industry experience or proven expertise, etc. has got to be the most foolish leadership choice the board could make. Not only bad for the HD community, bad for the MC industry, but really bad for the stockholders and no surprise the stock has tanked.
 

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Zeitz was picked due to the huge sway/cash of Investment members and political board members. Flashiest tool in the box pick, not the go to tried and true motorcyclist type. His compensation is beyond understanding. From Motley Fool 4.3.2020- "The acquiescence by Impala (Investors) also means Jochen Zeitz will continue as the interim CEO with the exorbitant $8.5 million compensation package the PE firm originally objected to when he was appointed following the ouster of then-CEO Matt Levatich. " Impala got paid $425,000 according to the article to shut up and go along with the board. I would not be surprised to see Mr. Zeitz receive a nice golden parachute when he decides to jump. Time will tell, wish HD and their employees all the best.
 

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Unfortunately private equity firms have destroyed hundreds of old American brands in the interested of maximizing their short term take of cash at the expense of the customers, employees and vendors, then putting the company in bankruptcy to clear debts so they can sell to another PE for a profit. Looks like the same may be happening at HD.
 

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I recall the early to mid 90's when HD had to have been the envy of any manufacturer. Two year wait on new bikes and you were lucky if you bought at MSRP. Even then, it was not the best made, best engineered, or the least expensive. But it had a cult-like following and demand far outpaced supply. An American icon to be sure. They have been through worse. They will survive this as well.
 

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I recall the early to mid 90's when HD had to have been the envy of any manufacturer. Two year wait on new bikes and you were lucky if you bought at MSRP. Even then, it was not the best made, best engineered, or the least expensive. But it had a cult-like following and demand far outpaced supply. An American icon to be sure. They have been through worse. They will survive this as well.
Maybe.. it's been 4 decades since Ronnie had to bail them out... a lot has changed in this ol world... including customers and their expectations... the brand will survive no doubt... but how will it look?... once it falls from it's pedestal I highly doubt it will ever climb back on..
 

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Maybe.. it's been 4 decades since Ronnie had to bail them out... a lot has changed in this ol world... including customers and their expectations... the brand will survive no doubt... but how will it look?... once it falls from it's pedestal I highly doubt it will ever climb back on..
I agree. When the last baby boomer can’t ride any longer, the MoCo will be in dire straits. They’ve waited too long to try and remarket the brand to younger riders. HD is suffering the same fate as Cadillac...they let the brand become synonymous with “old.” HD needs younger riders, but doesn’t have one bike with the modern accoutrements young customers desire.
 

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"They're now being run by a former tennis shoe CEO. A year or so ago, they hired a soup and cereal bar executive"

For years and years I wanted a Harley. It was the epitome of "cool, badass", etc. But they have spent the last decade or more catering to the baby boomer who goes and buys a $30k Harley- not to ride, but just so he can say he owns one, then spends 3 grand more on HD apparel so he can trailer his bike to Sturgis during wannabe week and strut around with all his gear on and say "look at me, I'm a biker". They have really alienated the guys who maybe don't have all the money in the world, but actually ride, and understand what riding is about. That's what happened with me, anyway. That's why I ended up on an Indian. TBH, I'm glad I did. LOVE this bike.
 

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"They're now being run by a former tennis shoe CEO. A year or so ago, they hired a soup and cereal bar executive"

For years and years I wanted a Harley. It was the epitome of "cool, badass", etc. But they have spent the last decade or more catering to the baby boomer who goes and buys a $30k Harley- not to ride, but just so he can say he owns one, then spends 3 grand more on HD apparel so he can trailer his bike to Sturgis during wannabe week and strut around with all his gear on and say "look at me, I'm a biker". They have really alienated the guys who maybe don't have all the money in the world, but actually ride, and understand what riding is about. That's what happened with me, anyway. That's why I ended up on an Indian. TBH, I'm glad I did. LOVE this bike.
Atta boy Steve B. You are right on!! You hit the nail on the head. Maybe we should go into business and make some t-shirts; I Rode My Bike to Trailer Week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I see more and more trailers in Sturgis than I see riders almost. WTF?!??!??! Ride safe, brother.
 

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HyeHog, that's been going on for years. I've got a T-shirt from the 1995 Sturgis trip that says "If you see my bike on a trailer, call 911. It's stolen"
 

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Drag me down and let me burn forever!
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That’s pretty bad. I hate to see American workers sent packing.
this guy gets it. pretty hard to stomach watching HD not adjust to the times and then make a giant leap of faith that was about 10 years too late.
 

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There is a arrogance for any company that's been around over 100 yrs. This starts at top and trickles all the way dealers. HD turned back on core customers. Dealers will close jobs lost. They did it to themselves. I told em go pound salt several yrs ago. Never regret. Hope they get sold.
 

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Before the arrival of Honda and the other Japanese mfgs, it was basically all HD (or Triumph). Then Reagan's tariffs basically propped up HD and gave them zero incentive to adjust pricing structure, R&D, or production. Then the bottom fell out of the entire market. Now tastes are changing (and Indian stepped up to the plate in earnest, giving an option to the folks that still want big cruisers)... and HD is left scrambling. They should have seen it coming -- and I suspect they did -- but they didn't come up with a strategy to deal with it.

I can't imagine that they will die off completely unless the company actively chooses to throw in the towel instead of continue to shrink, despite what is en vogue to say nowadays. Someone needs to swoop in and make a firm decision that customers that are so fickle that they would be alienated and actually abandon the brand just because you're going after a different market segment might not be your lifeline for much longer anyway.

The reality is that I'm not HD's target market. And before the FTR, I wasn't Indian's target market either. I love the idea of buying American, but nothing that an American company makes appeals to me except the FTR so I would have bought an import instead. I think lots of people are in the same boat in the US. Factor in the fact that trying to sell to a global market loses you the whole "buy American" aspect, you're left with performance, fit & finish, reliability, price, and heritage. They arguably have only 2 of those.
 

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Unfortunately private equity firms have destroyed hundreds of old American brands in the interested of maximizing their short term take of cash at the expense of the customers, employees and vendors, then putting the company in bankruptcy to clear debts so they can sell to another PE for a profit. Looks like the same may be happening at HD.
A private equity firm saved Indian. Stellican, owner of what is widely known as the King's Mountain bikes purchased the brand after Gilroy ran it into the ground (again after DuPont in 1953) and sold it to Polaris (Stellican also purchased Chris Craft and several other iconic brands). I agree though this business practice has done in many American enterprises.
 
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