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Harley-Davidson Case Study

Autor:   •  March 18, 2011  •  Case Study  •  4,295 Words (18 Pages)  •  3,384 Views

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I. Time Context: 2004

II. Viewpoint: CEO, Jeffery Bleustein

III. Historical Background:


Harley-Davidson is an action-oriented, international company, a leader in its commitment to continuously improve our mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders (customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, governments, and society). Harley-Davidson believes the key to success is to balance stakeholders' interests through the empowerment of all employees to focus on value-added activities.


We fulfill dreams through the experiences of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.

Harley Davidson started operating way back 1903. The establishment of the company was made possible through the cooperation of three young men, William Harley, Arthur and Walter Davidson. The three lads joined motorcycle races in Chicago and gained numerous wins that allowed their motorcycles to be known.

In 1909, Harley Davidson created a more powerful seven, horse-motor cycle engine that produces an uneven cadence in sound and excessive vibrations. Nevertheless, this distinctive characteristic and sound created a trademark for the company.

In 1920, Harley Davidson became the largest motorcycle producer with 2000 dealers in 67 countries. It was also one of the two U.S. motorcycle companies that survived the great depression since it relied on exports and sales to police department and U.S military.

The 1930's gave Harley Davidson an opportunity to win more races and developed its differentiated image. The company also temporarily stopped their production of the civilian motorcycle, because at that time they were catering the demand of the U.S. military during World War II.

The recreational motorcycle market grew dramatically after World War II, as the ex-GIS purchased the product and led enthusiasm for riding. But in 1969, its reputation began to erode soon after its acquisition by American Machine and Foundry Company (AMF). Under its ownership, Harley Davidson got known for its unreliable performance and poor customer service. Eventually, AMF loss its hope on the acquisition of Harley Davidson and decided to divest the business by the late 1970's. But then, no buyers emerged that seems interested in purchasing Harley Davidson. Harley Davidson struggled under heavy debt load and faced bankruptcy for four hours.

Harley Davidson completed an initial public offering in 1985. The company purchased Wisconsin- based Buell motorcycle in 1988, a performance brand using Harley Davidson engines that began as a venture between Erik Buell


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