Harley Davidson Case Study

The company has the ability to change in accordance to technological and market demands. This has been one of its greatest strength that has seen it serving in a very competitive market. In the 1970’s when the company was facing stiff competition from the Japanese motorcycle, it adopted a new manufacturing system which allowed continuous process improvements and reduced costs, which saw the company rise back to its glory and compete favorable with the threatening Japanese manufacturers. Other changes that have served as strengths of the company is in line with human resource by instituting companywide employee involvement program. The company also has a well-established market with a well-defined product for their market. They have set up a close to the customer philosophy that has been instrumental in improving customer relations and expanding their overall market. Over the years the company has created a name for itself through its products which has also served as a strength for the company.

Harley Davidson has a large number of outlets in almost every state. These distribution points are supported by a strong distribution network that ensures that its products are easily available to a large number of customers (Duprey, 2020). It also has a strong relationship with its dealers that not only provides them with supplies but also focus on promoting the company’s products and training. Moreover, the company has a strong financial position due to consecutive profits over the past years along with accumulated profit reserves that may be used to finance future capital expenditure. Harley Davidson has an innovative team that has enabled the company come up with new products and enter new markets.

A large number of the company’s markets are no older. The company had its fair share of glory in early years with a number of youngsters enjoying their bikes. However, over the years these esteemed clients have grown old. The company has not been able to successfully increase its market by appealing to a younger generation which has seen its number of sales go down and has hence had a great negative impact on the company. This has also seen some of their branches continuously keep posting low number of sales.

There are a number of problems that the company has faced and is facing which has threatened its operations to a great degree. The manufacturing plant in New York for example had to close its operations due to a critical malfunction of a clutch assembly. These further threatened the recall of parts. This was not the first time that the company had to initiate a major recall for problems with its clutch assemblies. In the year 2013, the company had to recall more than 25,000 bikes while in 2015 it recalled an additional 46,00 bikes of model years 2015 and 205 of its Electra Glide, Ultra Limited, Road Glide and Road King motorcycles. These are worrisome statistics of recalls (SHI, 2014). This not only leads it to incur losses but also loss of customer trust on their products due to recalls. There have also been other problems with their products concerning their brakes. The National Highway Traffic Administration has launched investigation of their motorcycles after receiving 43 complaints from clients that had their brakes fail without warning.

 The company is also faced with a problem of reduced market that has seen much of its motorcycles pile up. In 2016 for example dealers were stuck with too many 2016 models that needed to be sold before launching of new improved 2017 models. The surplus is a reflection of a sales slowing trend that started May of the same year. This sales drop is the main reason why Harley failed to live up to the expectations of analysts for the fourth quarter despite the fact that there was a rise in profit.

The company should take to the internet to increase the number of their customers. There has been an increase in the number of internet consumers in the world which presents an opportunity for the company to use the internet to interact with clients (Williamson, 2018). They can also take advantage of e-commerce that is an emerging trend in the world to increase their sells. These can be done by opening online stores and making sales through these stores.

I would recommend that the company should focus on two main things; its sales and the quality of its products. Improving quality of products will reduce cases of recall and improve customer trust on their products. This can be done by taking in-depth research on the products, piloting, and employing professionals to work on the products before they are launched in the market. Expanding sales avenue, through internet will also serve to increase the total sales of the company.















Duprey, R. (2020). Is Harley-Davidson About to Be Hit by a Major Recall? | The Motley Fool. Retrieved 19 April 2020, from https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/01/27/is-harley-davidson-about-to-be-hit-by-major-recall.aspx

SHI, A. (2014). Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Are Under Investigation for Brake Failure. Retrieved 19 April 2020, from https://fortune.com/2016/07/08/harley-davidson-brake-investigation/

Williamson, D. (2018). Harley Davidson SWOT Analysis / SWOT Matrix. Retrieved 19 April 2020, from https://www.essay48.com/term-paper/13039-Harley-Davidson-Swot-Analysis

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