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Harley Davidson Inc  (HOG)
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    Sector  Consumer Discretionary    Industry Recreational Products


Harley Davidson Inc

Business Description

Harley-Davidson, Inc. was incorporated in 1981, at which time it purchased the Harley-Davidson® motorcycle business from AMF Incorporated in a management buyout.  In 1986, Harley-Davidson, Inc. became publicly held. The Company operates in two segments: the Motorcycles & Related Products segment and the Financial Services segment. The Company’s reportable segments are strategic business units that offer different products and services. They are managed separately based on the fundamental differences in their operations.

The Motorcycles & Related Products (Motorcycles) segment includes the group of companies doing business as Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Motor Company) and the group of companies doing business as Buell Motorcycle Company (BMC), all of which are subsidiaries of H-D Michigan, Inc. and the Company. The Motorcycles segment designs, manufactures and sells primarily heavyweight (engine displacement of 651+cc) touring, custom and performance motorcycles as well as a complete line of motorcycle parts, accessories, clothing and collectibles. The Company, which is the only major American motorcycle manufacturer, has held the largest share of the United States heavyweight (651+cc) motorcycle market since 1986 and ended 2003 with a domestic market share of 49.5% (Harley-Davidson models only) (Data provided by the Motorcycle Industry Council).

The Financial Services (Financial Services) segment consists of the Company’s subsidiary, Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Inc. and its subsidiaries (HDFS).  HDFS is engaged in the business of financing and servicing wholesale inventory receivables and retail loans, primarily for the purchase of motorcycles. Additionally, HDFS is an agency for certain unaffiliated insurance carriers providing property/casualty insurance and extended service contracts to motorcycle owners. Prior to the sale of the Harley-Davidson Chrome Visa ® Card business in March 2000, HDFS was engaged in the business of financing and servicing revolving charge receivables. HDFS conducts business in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The Company’s basic channel of distribution in the United States for its motorcycles and related products consists of approximately 648 independently-owned full-service Harley-Davidson dealerships to whom the Company sells directly. This includes 439 combined Harley-Davidson® and Buell® dealerships. There are no Buell-only dealerships. With respect to sales of new motorcycles, approximately 81% of the U.S. dealerships sell the Company’s motorcycles exclusively. 

All dealerships stock and sell the Company’s genuine replacement parts, accessories, and MotorClothes™ apparel and collectibles, and perform service for the Company’s motorcycles. The Company also sells a smaller portion of its parts and accessories and general merchandise through “non-traditional” retail outlets. The “non-traditional” outlets, which are extensions of the main dealership, consist of Secondary Retail Locations (SRLs), Alternate Retail Outlets (AROs), and Seasonal Retail Outlets (SROs). SRLs, also known as Harley Shops, are satellites of the main dealership and are developed to meet the service needs of the Company’s riding customers. 

Harley Shops also provide replacement parts and accessories and MotorClothes apparel and collectibles and are authorized to sell new motorcycles. AROs are located primarily in high traffic areas such as malls, airports or popular vacation destinations and focus on selling the Company’s MotorClothes apparel and collectibles and licensed products. SROs are located in similar high traffic areas, but operate on a seasonal basis out of temporary locations such as vendor kiosks. AROs and SROs are not authorized to sell new motorcycles. There are approximately 85 SRLs, 55 AROs, and 10 SROs located in the United States.

The Company’s European management team is based out of a subsidiary located in the United Kingdom and is responsible for all sales, marketing and distribution activities in the European region (Europe/Middle East/Africa). The United Kingdom operation is further supported by six subsidiaries in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and eight independent distributors throughout the region. In the European region, there are approximately 383 independent Harley-Davidson dealerships serving 32 country markets. This includes 247 combined Harley-Davidson and Buell dealerships. Buell is further represented by 10 dealerships that do not sell Harley-Davidson motorcycles. 

The heavyweight (651+cc) motorcycle market is highly competitive. The Company’s major competitors are based outside the U.S. and generally have financial and marketing resources that are substantially greater than those of the Company.  They also have larger worldwide revenue and are more diversified than the Company.  In addition to these larger, established competitors, the Company has competitors headquartered in the U.S. The U.S. competitors generally offer heavyweight motorcycles with traditional styling that compete directly with many of the Company’s products.  These competitors currently have production and sales volumes that are lower than the Company’s and do not hold a significant market share.


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