Harley-Davidson Success Story

Name : Harley-Davidson
Founded : 1903
Founder : William A. Davidson,
William S. Harley,
Walter Davidson,
Arthur Davidson
CEO : Matthew S Levatich
Industry : Automobile
Sector : Public
Country : USA
Website : www.harley-davidson.com

A Brief Profile

One of the most popular as well as iconic motorcycle manufacturers of the world, Harley-Davidson, was founded in 1903 in the town of Milwaukee in Wisconsin, the United States of America. Along with its rival Indian motorcycles, it is one of the two motorcycle manufacturing companies to survive the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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The company has weathered a number of changes of ownership, subsidiary arrangements, periods of poor quality bikes and severe competition from the global market, especially Japan, to become the fifth largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. They have become an icon for bikers everywhere and have inspired fan clubs, owners clubs and events all over the globe.

Operations

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Harley-Davidson initially created large, heavy, air-cooled cruiser motorcycles with powerful engines which had a minimum displacement of 700cc.

This style of motorcycles gave rise to the “chopper” motorcycle style, taking a mass produced motorcycle and customizing it to suit the owner’s desires and specifications. This style is still popular and Harley-Davidson motorcycles are noted for the wide range of customizations they offer.

Trajectory

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The roots of the company can be traced back to 1901, when a 20-year-old William S. Harvey came up with the plans for a small engine capable of displacing 116cc flywheels. The engine had been designed for use in a regular pedal powered bicycle.

For the better part of the next two years William and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson kept on tinkering with the engine finally with the help of Arthur’s brother Walter Davidson the engine was finished. Thus began the journey of one the most iconic motorcycle manufacturers in the world.

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The entrance of the United Stated into the First World War created a demand for motorcycles for use in the war effort and in the course of the war Harley Davidson sold more than 15,000 motorcycles to the United States military.

Harley-Davidson was again called to serve the military when the Second World War broke out and during the course of the war they provided more than 90,000 motorcycles to the Allied Forces.

In 1969 Harley-Davidson lost its reputation for producing reliable, quality motorcycles after the company was purchased by American Machine and Factory.

They reduced production and fired most of the workers and this resulted in inferior quality bikes which were no match to their Japanese counterparts and the company nearly went bankrupt.

Unique Features

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The company deliberately builds their motorcycles based on the retro look of the days gone by and along with it they offer the same customizations of the era.

Harley-Davidsons are also noted for their durability, ride comfort and most importantly the reliability of their engines. Most Harleys above the 700cc segment use the V-twin engine, a perfect blend of power and longevity.

Social Work

Harley-Davidsons have a global appeal as well as presence, they often sponsor fund-raisers, charities and various social events for the benefit of the community.

Motorcyclists are some the nicest people in the world, even without company sponsorship, Harley owners around the world often get together to give back to their communities and help the less fortunate.

Review

Harley-Davidson is one of the best motorcycle brands in the world. Their motorcycles are a blend of superb engineering, beautiful bodywork and a smooth ride. When purchasing a motorcycle never settle for anything less than a Harley.

Matt Levatich Leadership Insights

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