Harley Davidson Case Questions
Please read the case and answer the following questions. Try to answer the questions as concisely as possible. This case is from 2006 and therefore I would do some research to determine where Harley is today and how it has weathered the economic doom and gloom of the recession. I am interested in your opinions and evaluation as dictated by the following questions. Remember to keep the answers as concise as possible and to the point. I don’t need a thorough retelling of their corporate history.
1. Historically, how did Harley Davidson (HD) manage to dominate the U.S. market? What were its sources of competitive advantage? HD got into trouble in the 1970’s, what changed both internally and externally?
Harley Davidson started in 1903 when William Harley and Arthur Davidson started producing motorcycles in a garage to sell to the public. The first year's production was only three motorcycles with one dealer. In 1907, these two entrepreneurs incorporated after selling 50 motorcycles. By 1909, they introduced the first V-twin engine, which is still the company standard today. Harley-Davidson rapidly grew to the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world by early 1920s, with over 2,000 dealers in 67 different countries. Since the start, the company has established an image of “raw power” which eventually became its selling point. The Harley motorcycle really does not look any different from its competition but it indeed sounds different. Its unique sound or “growl” differentiates it from competitors and it gives owners a sense of raw force, confidence and power. There really is a unique experience when riding a Harley, nothing else comes close to the feeling you get when you are in this two wheeled machine.
Through its early years, Harley Davidson experienced competition from other American companies. By the 1930s, all of the American competition was gone. Harley-Davidson suspended production of civilian motorcycles during...