Harley-Davidson Will Trade on Exclusivity Again, Let Inventory Dry Up
21 May 2020 - autoevolution
Like most businesses, Harley-Davidson shuttered in March, maintaining only basic operations and whatever online business was still happening.
Unlike other businesses, Harley-Davidson was in trouble long before the current crisis started.
That America's iconic biker-maker has been struggling with sales for some time is no longer a secret, as neither are several recent attempts to boost them. Among them, earlier this year, upper management saw a complete overhaul, when Matt Levatich was ousted as CEO and replaced with the current CEO and President, Jochen Zeitz.
Unlike his predecessor, who dreamed big expansion dreams with cheaper models and international markets, Zeitz said from the start that Harley should start by going small again, in order to make a profit. The first sign in that direction is here, in the form of a memo HD sent to U.S. dealers this month, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
For starters, dealers will likely not be getting any new inventory for the rest of the year. Product sales director Beth Truett says in the memo dealers should expect a 65 percent drop in new motorcycle stock by the end of the year and, as such, "should plan for an extremely tight year from an inventory perspective."
Production is scheduled to start soon, in phases, but not all models will be made anymore. Only the most popular will go back into production, and buyers will no longer have the chance to customize them, the report says. The range of color options will also be limited.
Both these measures combined aim to help Harley trade on exclusivity again, like it did back in the glory days. By letting inventory dry up and offering a narrower selection of models, Harley is hoping to drive up interest from potential customers. After all, we all want what we can't have, right?
Truett surely hopes so. "Our strategy to limit motorcycle product in the showroom is purposefully designed to drive exclusivity," she says in the same memo.