Harley-Davidson is a global company that specializes in the manufacture and distribution of cruisers motorcycles and spare parts. The company embodies an enthusiast in the category of two-wheeled vehicles that stand the test of time to emerge as a reputable brand, and it has maintained uniqueness in every aspect of its manufacturing (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2015). Harley-Davidson is one of the primary representatives in its industry. Analyzing its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, Harley-Davidson maintains its overall position in the market. This examination represents an immensely keen method and requires practical coordination among various workplaces inside the firm. This case analysis provides a detailed examination of Harley-Davidson by examining its strategic competitiveness, which has helped the corporation survive the test of time and stand out from the rest of the competition so as to emerge as an icon in the business world. The paper will also provide a detailed analysis of the company, solutions to problems experienced by the firm, and a summary and justification of the case study.
Harley-Davidson started as an American creative and trade icon specializing in the manufacture of cruise motorcycles, often imitated by various companies. However, on most occasions, these competitors have failed to duplicate the products (Hitt et al., 2015). Over several decades, the company has continued to produce positive results despite challenges, such as economic recessions and depressions, the advancement of technology, world wars, competition from Japanese-based motorcycles, and increased government regulation on taxes and manufacturing concepts (Hitt et al., 2015).
Harley-Davidson continues to survive and register positive results, whereas most American motorcycle companies have failed despite the remaining demand among leisure riders (Hitt et al., 2015). Even during the rivalry with Indian Motorcycle, the company kept its doors open, and it continues to maintain its competitiveness. Harley-Davidson has beaten other firms in providing the American dream of freedom by manufacturing high-end and prestigious bikes.
Despite remaining one of the most reputable companies in the motorbike business, Harley-Davidson has faced a streak of challenges that hinder its performance in various ways. First, most people view Harley-Davidson as prestige and leisure-based product seller (Hitt et al., 2015). This perception among customers contributes to its low sales because they assume the motorcycles are more of a luxury than a necessity.
Second, the corporation experiences shifts in the demand and costs of the motorcycle market. Demands and cost drivers for the cruiser's promotion are ever developing. Abroad, competitors have moved their focus from the most conservative to one that is more sensitive to provide a broader collection of bicycles that more customers can purchase. This genuine move has put pressure on Harley-Davidson's key markets and has compelled the firm to respond. With more than 12–55% of the European and U.S. heavyweight bicycles being publicized exclusively, Harley-Davidson has a liberal area to protect (Hitt et al., 2015). The demand and costs of spare parts and motorcycles remain a challenge for the company compared to other overseas markets.
Most motorcycle companies continue their frantic race to attract new customers, and each company needs to compete and survive. Harley-Davidson possesses extremely trustworthy consumers but cannot afford to slow down with the heated competition. The company has applied various strategies such as unique designs, better sales, customer loyalty programs, and the introduction of beginner instruction. In this way, active instruction of new riders and offering attractive bikes, including various sizes, and inclination levels, remain Harley-Davidson's course of action to attract new riders. This appears to be an average technique to keep the visionaries interested while getting the best-in-class time of Harley motorcycles (Brandt, 2020). With the economic challenges and possibilities of closure, Harley-Davidson must create a relationship with youngsters who will remain long-term enthusiasts of their bikes.
Another strategy the company continues to apply to ensure success entails a rider-training program. By allowing riders to make sense of how to ride and receive direction from capable teachers as per an exceptional instructive program, the organization ensures learners will experience Harley-Davidson's Riding Academy, which remains open in organizations throughout the country (Brandt, 2020). The beneficial aspect of that course is that riders make sense of how to ride on a Harley-Davidson cruiser. In numerous states, when riders complete the training, they are cleared for a grant.
As a second approach, the company should manufacture a wide range of products to ensure its customer base increases. The production of specific bikes can hinder the company as it continues to witness competition from Japanese producers that manufacture a variety of bikes. The company needs to establish flexibility in its engine capacities and vital parts to facilitate people in their riding careers (Brandt, 2020). This consideration is based on the argument that some bikers start riding at pioneer levels. In contrast, others begin at the amateur level, so the company needs to manufacture smaller bikes for beginners.
Harley-Davidson is an example of one company in the motorcycle industry that has overcome adversity. The organization remains competitive regardless of difficulties in the global car industry. Harley-Davidson's advertising approach provides knowledge of how the firm manages its business flexibility (Ferguson, 2017). Its combined marketing approach represents the arrangement of techniques and strategies used to promote its products. On account of Harley-Davidson's different advertising strategies, worries about advancing and fortifying the trademark remain adequately addressed.
Most people believe that Harley-Davidson manufactures unreliable motorcycles and has lost its originality due to imitation. Contrary to opinion, the firm retains one of the most successful cruiser bikes that still represents class and comfort. The company applies classic strategies in the manufacture and sale of motorcycles and will remain competitive even in the future. The company has faced several challenges from its start and will continue to witness progressive development over time (June, 2018). Later, the corporation experienced changes in the sociocultural state of its underlying market, the United States, as well as in its authentic condition globally and locally, as trade policies. These changes helped the company remain relevant and experience continued progress in global markets.
The corporation has furthermore increased its undertakings against troubles with trade burdens so as to reach out and market to the United States as a whole. To achieve this obligation, Harley-Davidson has installed manufacturing plants in India to manage 100% of the duties and Brazil to utelize the worldwide business zone (June, 2018). Even more, starting late, the corporation is standing up to the likely collision of steel demands on U.S. importations, which, according to the endeavor firm, Wedbush Securities, can fluctuate to $30,000,000 of Harley-Davidson's costs (June, 2018).
Harley-Davidson represents the most popular cruiser motorcycle on earth and one of the most highly regarded brands in human history. Harley-Davidson began in 1903, around the beginning of the motor age (Hitt et al., 2015). Two friends got teamed up to creating an innovative motorcycle company. As a means of transport, ponies of the time could not compete with this motorcycle brand. Today, 116 years later, Harley-Davidson's market capitalization is about $6,000,000,000 (Debord, 2019). Harley has endured two comprehensive wars and a truly bothersome revitalization during a money-related emergency. As one of the principal firms in its industry, Harley-Davidson has various characteristics that have helped it thrive. These characteristics have not only helped it establish a bit of the pie in existing markets but also enter new markets. In a similar manner, it is currently defying new difficulties as Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich attempts to globalize deals amid a U.S. display decrease and appeal to younger riders.
Outline the threats in Harley-Davidson's external environment. Which threats pose the most fabulous short- and long-term risks for the company?
Harley-Davidson faces external threats such as customers' perception that the brand is a leisure item, the management of target markets, and government policies. The company also faces threats from the emergence of electric motorcycles that continue to dominate the world. These brands continue to cause a significant risk to Harley-Davidson products, which are often considered environmentally unfriendly due to their substantial engine emissions. Customers' understanding and management of the target market affect the company in the long run, whereas government policies affect the company in the short run.
Identify the company's core competencies. Given the existing situation, does Harley-Davidson have a sustainable competitive advantage?
The primary competency of Harley-Davidson is retained in its unique manufacture of cruise motorcycles that other companies cannot replicate, thus making the company unique. The company should introduce more types of bikes and produce affordable items to compete better in the market. Harley-Davidson may have a competitive advantage against other motorcycle companies, but it fails in global sales. This is because other motorcycle companies produce a variety of products that range in design, engine capacity, and cost flexibility.
Define Harley-Davidson's business strategy. Based on your analysis, do you recommend any changes to the approach to the threats facing the company?
Harley-Davidson focuses on classy and unique motorcycles specifically designed for people who rely on class, fashion, resilience, and malleability. The company has dominated the industry by creating a brand name that stands the test of time. Considering the company's unique products, this approach represents the best strategy. I would not recommend a better plan because Harley-Davidson seems to apply the most viable options to ensure it remains outstanding.
Evaluate international conditions and the company's performance outside of the U.S. What options are available to support Harley-Davidson's overseas expansion?
The sale of Harley-Davidson motorcycles outside the United States remains competitively low, with an expected fall of about 22.1% as a result of COVID-19 because most consumer countries remain the most affected ("Harley-Davidson Global Performance," 2020). The company can opt for a free trade agreement that will contribute to global expansion. The free trade agreement increases imports and exports due to access to higher quality and lower-priced goods.
Brandt, E. (2020). Here's how Harley-Davidson is planning on attracting the new riders it needs. The Drive. Retrieved from https://www.thedrive.com/motorcycles/18407/heres-how-harley-davidson-is-planning-on-attracting-the-new-riders-it-needs
Debord, M. (2019). Harley-Davidson has been in business for 116 years — but the iconic American company is facing numerous challenges. Business Insider. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/harley-davidson-company-history-photos-2019-5
Ferguson, E. (2017). Harley-Davidson marketing mix (4Ps) analysis. Panmore Institute.
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