Harley-Davidson is moving to a direct distribution model for Canada in 2017, and perhaps even earlier.
Currently, Harley-Davidson motorcycles are distributed here by Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada; the company has been Canada’s exclusive Harley-Davidson distributor since 1973. If a dealer wants a bike, they have to get it through Deeley. However, that deal ends in July, 2017, and it’s not getting renewed after that.
According to a press release, at that point Harley-Davidson will supply independent Canadian dealers through direct distribution, cutting out the middleman. The company already uses this arrangement in other regions, including Brazil, Australia, Italy and some European countries.
The move might come even sooner than 2017; according to their press release, Deeley and Harley-Davidson are actually talking about making the move as early as third quarter of 2015.
CMG Slant (Zac Kurylyk)
What does all this mean for the consumer? It means one middleman is cut out, which could theoretically reduce prices – the key word being theoretically. There’s no doubt the MoCo is getting stiff competition on price point these days, from made-in-America competition like Indian and Victory, not just the Japanese. A little break on prices would certainly be a welcome change for buyers – but that doesn’t mean it’s coming.
It also leaves us wondering what Deeley’s role will be in the future. The Deeley family, brand and company (now majority owned by co-founder Don James, a member of the Harley-Davidson, Inc. board) has been heavily involved with not just the business side of motorcycling for decades, but also in racing and other two-wheeled endeavors, including the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition. We can’t see that history just vanishing.