Harley-Davidson keeps tight rein on production
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. is putting a tight rein on production of its motorcycles to keep inventories lean for dealerships that might have a tough time selling in a difficult economy.
A survey of Harley dealerships by Robert W. Baird & Co. showed an unprecedented response, according to analyst Craig Kennison.
Nearly 60 percent of Harley dealerships said inventories were too low, Kennison said.
“Just one dealer told us inventory was too high,” Kennison wrote in the survey.
Harley doesn’t want to flood the market with bikes that might not sell and wants to protect the value of the brand. Several dealerships, of 50 surveyed nationwide, reported lost sales because buyers were looking for models that were out of stock. But, Kennison said that’s a healthy dynamic for a premium brand.
Milwaukee-area Harley dealers say they’re generally satisfied with bike inventories, although some 2012 models are sold out and must be ordered from the factory or other dealerships.
“We have to trade bikes (with other dealers) more than we ever did in the past because it’s impossible for us to have every model in every color,” said Chaz Hastings, owner of Milwaukee Harley-Davidson.