Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2013

Retail stores open Thanksgiving Day

Retail stores open Thanksgiving Day

It seems that the shopping season is taking over the holiday season.  Black Friday battles to save a couple dollars are giving us all a black eye!

The MINDLESS ads…  Door buster ads, “lightning” deals, Amazon Black Friday week, newspaper ads, TV ads, email ads, Facebook ads, Pinterest ads, ads embedded in blog posts and even Apple products are being advertised on discount, which is something we’ve rarely seen before.  In fact, a record number of retail stores (i.e. Best Buy, Walmart, etc.) are open on Thanksgiving Day (which means people have to work vs. share time with family)  so that consumers can buy those so-called “bargains.” 

Clearly Retailers have crossed the line, but we know the public will head to the shops.  We complain about consumerism, but there are plenty of horror stories of stampedes as shops open their doors and people fling themselves into shop ‘til you drop mode.

So, I wanted to put Thanksgiving in perspective. 

obamacare_stickerI have many things to be thankful for, most of all my family and friends.  I’m thankful for motorcycling and the ability/health to have enjoyed another year of riding my Harley across this great country.  I’m grateful for a wife who shares my passion and rides along on many adventures.  I’m thankful and appreciate my extended rider “family” who have been there with support and hugs from breakdowns to accidents.

I’m thankful for the men and women of our armed forces who are serving overseas protecting our interests.  They don’t get to spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones and I appreciate their sacrifice.  It does not go unnoticed!

We live in a country that to a great extent, still provides the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  A place where we can freely choose to do what we want and if we’re fortunate, be able to make a living doing it.

I’m thankful that I can complain about our elected representatives, and have the ability to choose them which is a rarity in this world!  Speaking of,  I’m thankful for Barack Obama banishing boredom for millions of lives.  The ObamaCare misadventure and “apology” has caused a lot of ordinary people to question both his character and his competence.  But, I’ve digressed.

Last but not least, I’m thankful for all of you!  The readers, the subscribers and the commenters.  You allow me to do what I do on this blog.  That is the promise of America, and on this Thanksgiving holiday, it still holds true.

 I hope you have a chance to enjoy some turkey, yams, stuffing and pumpkin pie with your family and friends!

Photo courtesy of Internet Advertising.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Flexible-WorkersWe read everyday how the economy is ever so slowly improving and there was some good news this week for the long-term unemployed.

According to news reports the motor company is hiring 400 temporary workers as part of a seasonal surge in production at the assembly plant in York, Pa.

York is where Harley-Davidson assembles heavy weight motorcycles.   You might recall the widely publicized dispute with the union a few years ago that allowed them to use “casual” workers to do some of the production work at all their existing plants.  A “casual” worker is a temp worker, not employed year ’round, to manage temporary high volume.

According to Harley spokeswoman Bernadette Lauer the jobs start at the end of January and run through the end of May with salaries ranging from $16.75 to $23.30 per hour.  To apply or request to be contacted visit H-Dflexibleworkforce.com.

Harley’s revenues are still well below their pre-crisis highs, but they get credit for revenues and unit sales which have enjoyed a nice bounce over the last year and there is new swagger in the brand.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

2014 Tri Glide Ultra Trike

2014 Tri Glide Ultra Trike

Harley-Davidson has issued another safety recall on its 2014 Project Rushmore motorcycles.

This time it’s for a defect that could result in the loss of brake fluid.  It potentially affects 436 trikes manufactured from July 24th through September 2nd.  It’s due to an incorrectly machined part, and the trike may have an excessive steering angle that allows the inner fairing to come into contact with a brake fluid reservoir, resulting in a loss of fluid.  The steering damper may also be damaged.

The result could be a loss of brake fluid from the rear reservoir which would reduce brake performance.  The steering damper damage could reduce the rider’s ability to control the motorcycle and either condition increases the risk of a crash.

This is the second recall of Project RUSHMORE motorcycles. Last month, Harley recalled about 29,000 bikes and trikes for hydraulic clutch system problems (HERE).

The information listed at NHTSA is:

NHTSA Campaign ID Number :13V491
Subject : Fork Stem Bracket may cause Loss of Brake Fluid
Manufacturer: Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Harley-Davidson is in the process of notifying owners, and dealers will inspect the trikes and replace the fork stem bracket, as necessary, free of charge.

The recall is expected to in late November 2013. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s recall number is 0152.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

IMG_4434It’s my chance to simply say: Thank you!

The day doesn’t get the pomp and circumstance of some other holidays, but today is the time to recognize the heroes among us.

They are the men and women who served in our armed forces. They are the veterans of the United States military.

So, today join me to express our gratitude and say thank you.

Photo taken by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Kingfisher-LogoI’m talking about Kingfisher.

Beer was introduced into India by the British, who eventually set up a brewery that produced Asia’s first beer — a pale ale called Lion. However, these days, lager is the only type of beer you’ll find available in India and “The King of Good Times” is Kingfisher.

It’s India’s most recognized and widely available beer. Its name has been associated with sports, fashion, and even an airline.

And sooner than anyone would have thought… in Bawal, India a Harley-Davidson assembly line worker will be having a Kingfisher and relaxing with co-workers.

But, I’ve gotten ahead of myself…  let’s jump into the the way back machine and set the dial for — 2009.

The fact is we must focus both our effort and our investment on the Harley-Davidson brand, as we believe this provides an optimal path to sustained, meaningful long-term growth,” said CEO Keith Wandell at the October 15, 2009 announcement to discontinue production of Buell motorcycles.  On October 30, 2009 the last Buell (Lightning XB12Scg) rolled off the company’s East Troy, Wisconsin. assembly line.  It was the last of the 136,923 motorcycles built in the company’s 26 years of operation.

Harley-Davidson Street 750

Harley-Davidson Street 750

It was a combination of factors in making the decision, but essentially the global recession forced a reckoning and Harley-Davidson decided to refocus on its tent pole products or what I’d call doubling down on its core lineup of heavyweight bikes.  As a result, the motor company abandoned entry level motorcycles (Buell Blast), exited the sport bike (Buell and sold MV) and thumb their noses at the adventure market (Buell Ulysses).   In the process the motor company made a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts upset about what looked like a myopic approach of only looking at spreadsheets versus doing a bit more market research and addressing a need.

Jump ahead 4-years and witness the financial rebound of the company and the launch this week of the new Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Street 500 motorcycles.  Could it be a Buell Blast ReDeux?  The smaller 500cc motorcycle basically fills a void left when they discontinued the Buell motorcycle line which included the 492cc Buell Blast.  More important in this announcement is the fact that the motorcycles will be made both in the U.S. and Bawal, India, marking the first time the company will manufacture a complete motorcycle at an overseas facility.  I’ll repeat that… the first time the company will manufacture a complete motorcycle outside the U.S.!

Harley-Davidson Street 750  (Side View)

Harley-Davidson Street 750 (Side View)

The manufacturing news in of itself will be fodder for many future blog posts, but sticking to the motorcycle announcement, the new ‘Street’ bikes are the first Harley-Davidson motorcycles to be designed from scratch since the V-Rod 13 years ago.

It makes this Road Glide owner wonder if that’s an indicator of where all the engineers were redirected in lieu of updating the ‘Glide’ with the all new Project RUSHMORE features that were incorporated into the new 2014 touring models?

The fact is the company has aggressively expanded its marketing efforts because realistically, there is no replacing white Baby Boomer men. And this means they have to attract younger men, non-Caucasian men, women, and do that from countries as disparate as India, Italy, Brazil and the U.S. with much more success.  By turning inwards, relying on a single-brand tradition and nationalism over the last 4-years and divesting itself of brands that were dimming the lights on a brighter future–the motor company can and now has expanded into other segments.

At the Street 750/500 announcement the Harley-Davidson, CEO Keith Wandell said, “The younger riders don’t want their dad’s chromed-out Harley,” “They want the Dark Custom, sinister look, the ability to rebel.

Sounds like a bit of marketing spin, but with more than half of its dealerships outside the U.S., Harley-Davidson has really put a lot of investment behind a push to expand and broaden its customer base including new motorcycle buyers–worldwide.

Photo’s courtesy of H-D and Kingfisher.  Note: Kingfisher, “The King of Good Times”, is India’s most recognized and widely available beer. Its name has been associated with sports, fashion, and even an airline.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

HD-Christmas-AdYou’re not imagining it.  

Harley-Davidson started their holiday shopping promotions in an email today (see photo).

For almost as long as Christmas has been a commercialized holiday, there have been complaints about “Christmas Creep” – you know, the tendency to launch holiday sales and advertising earlier and earlier each year.

Granted this year there is no Presidential campaign holding the public’s attention with advertising and oddly enough there are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year so “Black Friday” is later.  As a result, does anyone expect retailers to wait around to November 29th to roll out their big promotional efforts?  Unlikely.

The ‘Early Award’ goes to Walmart who officially kicked off the holiday season adverts back in August, when it announced its holiday layaway program.  Kmart followed shortly afterward.

See a pattern?

The ‘ol “economic headwinds” is often a phrase that retail executives use to explain why their sales are weak.  The public is bombarded with nightly news about fewer company hires, stagnated wages, government gridlock and concerns about gas prices (up/down?).  All these factors can act as a dark cloud on the public’s spending psyche which makes retailers skittish. 

I doubt that Harley-Davidson will go discount crazy in December, but if there are indications that things aren’t going well later this month because motorcycle enthusiasts aren’t getting their “badness” on, we might see some new promotions.  Stay tuned.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: