It seems Harley Davidson is suffering from a marketing crisis. Amidst a stock price that is down about a third from just a year ago and a rapidly increasing loss of market share, Harley needs every dollar it can get. As such, they are advertising to a market that has long been ignored in the motorcycle industry: women. Desperate to regain lost revenue, Harley Davidson Chief Executive Mark Levatich is trying to gain sales through young adults and women. In fact, Levatich admits that the motorcycle giant is increasing their marketing spending by 65 percent to try to curb lost sales.
Traditionally, Harley Davidson bikes have been targeted towards macho men. Bikini-clad women flaunted their bodies, and the bikes, at numerous shows, eager to get the attention- and the sales- from these rugged men. But a spate of recalls and a shift in sales has caused Harley to rethink their marketing strategy. Although Harley won’t speak directly to their marketing strategy, it is safe to say that they won’t be leaving the baby-boomers in the dust. They plan on continuing traditional marketing efforts like bikini babe bike washes and the like.
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Don’t think that the chrome-covered motorcycle behemoth has gone the way of the dodo bird. Traditional Harley motorcycles still seem to make up the majority of sales. These bikes, with prices reaching nearly $30,000, are a far cry from the smaller, more affordable models geared towards the younger crowd which sell for less than $10,000. During a recent conference call Jim Lovegrove, general sales manager of the Tribeca store said he, “couldn’t be more pleased with the overall rollout of the Street.”
It remains to be seen if the marketing shift and redirection will have much of an impact on the bikes. However, it is safe to say that Harley is making whatever efforts are necessary to regain market share, including letting girls in to this traditionally boys club.