Harley Davidson Case Study

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"Harley-Davidson: At Last" as presented in Hartley 's Marketing Mistakes and Successes presents the circumstances around HD 's near collapse and since rinse to near mythic success. This case is a great example of marketing myopia; HD saw them-selves as ‘full-size motorcycles ' manufactures, not in the transportation, or even the entertainment industry. They believed no one bought motorcycles for transportation, but rather for leisure time use. Like the automotive industry of the time, Harley-Davidson thought its cure customers would buy its products versus those of any of its major competitors, chiefly because they were all foreign. Interesting enough this was true, HD annual unit sales never changed; they just did not grow with…show more content…
Much like Lee Iacocca and Chrysler had identified a growing number of well to do people buying sports vehicles (before they were known as SUVs) to go with their Cadillacs and Mercedes. Harley-Davidson would add even bigger, more costly, thus more profitable motorcycles to its product mix for this growing market segment. Thus the term rubbies was developed, which stands for Rich Urban Bikers. As part of Harley-Davidson 's image make over they enforced their logo trademark very aggressively. They went so far as to having marshals serve warrants to companies and individuals illegally infringing on their trademark. Next they introduced licensed novelties and clothing so Harley-Davidson was now accessible, via these items, to everyone. Furthermore, dealerships were strongly encouraged to upgrade their facilities. The new dealerships not only sold motorcycles, but also the latest licensed merchandise, contributing up to 5% of all of Harley-Davidson sales. These new dealerships were friendly and inviting, imagine a Target store type of openness and warmth versus the dirty, smelly "locals only" neighborhood mechanic shop style of the old dealerships. Additionally, Harley-Davidson partnered with a former motorcycle racer turned motorcycle builder named Eric Buell. Eventually Harley-Davidson bought controlling interest in Buell in the mid-‘90 's. Buell is a good fit for Harley-Davidson for many reasons. Buell builds

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