When Polaris unveiled their Indian lineup at Sturgis last year, many onlookers were quick to predict Harley-Davidson’s demise. But, the sales sheet seems to prove otherwise.
In the third quarter of 2013, Harley-Davidson’s sales jumped considerably; their US dealers sold 48,529 motorcycles in Q3; that’s up 20 per cent from the year before. Globally speaking, their international dealers sold 70,517 motorcycles. That’s a 15.5 per cent jump.
Meanwhile, things were not as rosy for competitor Polaris. Thanks to a rise in ATV sales, Polaris as a whole made more sales; however, their motorcycle sales were down six per cent.
Some of that decline may be due to Polaris’s own market disruption, when they brought out their Indian lineup which competes with their Victory lineup. We’ll have a much clearer picture of the future by this time next year, when Indian has a full selling season to compete with Harley-Davidson.
While we haven’t seen an official recall from Transport Canada yet, there’s also apparently been a massive recall by Harley-Davidson on 2014 touring models. Supposedly, 29,000 bikes have been recalled due to clutch woes; the fallout from that may also have a big effect on the market.
Harley owners are a little tough to peg. They seem to accept the faults of the MoCo with a shrug and almost know it was coming anyway. I think some will be pissed, but most will start looking through the accessory catalog and figure if they have to take apart the drive to get at the clutch , now would be a good time to install that chrome inner primary or chromed whatever.
A few of my friends have mid 2000 Harley’s, with 88 twin cams, it seems they are prone to oil pump failure, Harley sells a retro fit kit for this problem, but didn’t fix it till they came out with the 96cid engine. Pump fails, everyone gets a little pissy, then shrugs, orders the kit, and new performance cams and lifters because it’s all got to be tore down anyway, dealer give a better price on the parts, or if the dealers are doing the whole job, the final bill, and everybody seems happy about the process. I dunno, i don’t get it.
And I’m not bashing Harley or their riders. I love the paint and the finish on those things, and I’ve met a lot of nice people out there who just want to ride without the attitude.