The Defending Champion Scoffs At The Harley-Davidson vs Indian War
Like a cocky prizefighter Harley-Davidson has responded to the virtual glove slap by Indian Motorcycles’ taunting new commercial . Apparently the Motor Co. isn’t concerned in the least about the so called Harley-Davidson vs Indian fracas. Hot on the heels of their Q2 financial disclosure, CEO Keith Wandell mused about the hyped unveiling of the 2014 Indian Chief at Sturgis by quipping “But it’s just going to be folks that are at Sturgis. I think when we then unveil our new products a couple weeks later, I think it’ll more than offset what’s been done there.” Those words give away the company’s concern that Indian will definitely make an impact at Sturgis. Wandell did admit that management wasn’t taking the competition lightly and added ““we believe the way we’ve positioned our company and how we’ve transformed product development and the pipeline of products we have coming … Our job is to just bring great products to market and make sure we’re winning with great products.”
Harley-Davidson shapes up by shedding a few pounds
In an interesting twist, Harley-Davidson confirmed in an investor conference call that it was indeed dropping the FLTRX Road Glide Custom and the FLTRU Road Glide Ultra from its 2014 model line up. CFO John Olin said it was normal for bikes to be rotated in and out of production each year and that those two models only represented a very small portion of their touring bike sales and wasn’t expecting any impact of sales in the next model year. One has to wonder with an already bloated lineup that’s being trimmed down, what could the future hold that Harley-Davidson is already talking about future models? CEO Wandell has done well at turning the company around from a downward slump and has won the approval of management and investors alike even if he comes off like Charlie Sheen and “winning”. The Harley-Davidson vs Indian hype isn’t really that big a concern to Harley-Davidson, their focus at the moment is restructuring supply and demand while expanding their markets. The CVO Breakout fell victim a few months ago when Harley-Davidson ran into problems with the company doing the custom paint schemes being unable to fulfill the orders. Shipments to the Asian market were put on hold as the problem was sorted. Dealers who managed to get their hands on the bikes that were available, found themselves in a position where customers were offering more than the sticker price to ensure THEY would get the bike.
A parting shot
Wandell gave kudos to Polaris for picking Sturgis to relaunch the once famous brand. “I think they’ll get certainly a lot of traffic, a lot of folks looking,” He then went on with his statement about Harley-Davidson’s product rollout overshadowing anything that Indian Motorcycles will achieve at Sturgis. How ironic that a rally started by an Indian Motorcycle club has become an arena of sorts for Harley-Davidson vs Indian. Market speculators were neutral on Harley-Davidson stock over the last quarter but the Q2 announcement of being up by 9.9% has management glowing. Now if they can get their product line in order, the next step would be manufacturing and supply as their newer markets begin to pick up. Dwelling on Harley-Davidson vs Indian is not exactly on the top of their to-do list, but it makes for interesting speculation and media opportunities.