Can Women Save The Motorcycle Industry?

Statistics tell us that 1 out of 10 motorcyclists on the road is a woman. Women seem to be the only growing segment of a graying industry. We all know that US sales of motorcycles have slow down a lot since 2005 obliging Harley-Davidson to temporarily close plants to adjust production to today’s sluggish market. Leader brands make huge efforts to incite more women to move from the back seat to the driver seat. Hence dealers organized “garage parties” where women are familiarized with motorcycles and the art of riding. Favored brands are Kawasaki and Harley-Davidson (respectively 15% and 12% of sales).So is it possible that women replace the baby boomers moving away from motorcycles? I don’t think so, except if they are the girlfriends or wives of new younger riders and they are offered a choice of bikes more specifically conceived for their needs and morphology. We talk a lot about attracting new young male riders with more affordable motorcycles. But the women going now from back to front seat are going to age with their companions. So, I really think that the efforts to attract a new younger clientele to the sport should be directed at the same time to both young men and women. What do you think? 

Zipper's

36 Responses to “Can Women Save The Motorcycle Industry?”


  1. 1 Pop Sep 18th, 2007 at 10:43 am

    There is no good American demographic for growing V Twin sales. There is a one time benefit in sales from a concentrated pitch to females but it’s not something you can sell over and over.

    The market is flat and it’s going to continue flattening over the next decade. The moco is reaping the result of a decade long strategy to flood the market. That was the intended payoff for cultivating “mystique”. Cash in on the perception by making a once iconic vehicle into a garage queen for hundreds of thousands of disposable income types.

    This downturn in sales might not have been predictable to HD marketing to the exact day, but I bet they expected this year to look a lot like it does and I expect that they had that notion five years ago at least.

  2. 2 goldiron Sep 18th, 2007 at 11:15 am

    I agree with your observation

  3. 3 John Sep 18th, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Intelligent post by Cyril, and good analysis by Pop.

  4. 4 Brad Willow Sep 18th, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Everything has to change, the bikes, the way HD & dealers do business. It’s going to take 5 years…

  5. 5 hoyt Sep 18th, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    If I’m not mistaken there are 3 demographics capable of sustaining motorcycle growth:

    1. the brand new rider/scooter buyer who is looking to save money on a commuter ride
    2. developing nations
    3. the thousands of retiring baby boomers who have ridden previously.

    All of the above would be looking for a 2-wheeled device that has a low seat, light weight, and it wouldn’t hurt to have an automatic transmission. To satisfy particularly # 3, the bike must have style.

    Scooter sales seem to be on the rise. An HD scooter? No. But what about enticing those scooter riders onto a bike? The Sportster probably doesn’t appeal to the thousands of would-be scooter converts due to price and style (regardless of how cool the Nightster is).

    How about a bench seat single cylinder bike that would convert the scooter buyer? One that is similar to the HD-Aermacchis? Something cheap to build but has more style than a Buell Blast, while being more fun & reliable than a scooter. An automatic trans would be wise – this could even convince the would-be scooter buyer to buy the automatic bike instead of the scooter from the start. It would also make getting a license easier. Aprilia is about to launch a very stylish automatic bike.

    Once a scooter convert goes to an entry-bike, they could move onto bigger bikes.

    Older, retiring riders could tool around on an automatic bike with more confidence …..assuming if it is done right. Again, it must have style, low seat, light weight.

    Looking ahead, a 4th demographic exists: there are loads of 20 somethings – 40 somethings riding sport bikes. What do you think they will be riding in 10 years? How about a sport tourer? HD could produce a co-branded sport tourer with Buell’s handling reputation and a lightened Revolution motor.

    I know the sport tourer segment is cut-throat, but at the same time this model segment is fairly wide open: some brands are more sport & other brands have more of a touring purpose. What this segment is somewhat short on is style. This is where HD can compete.

    In 10 years when thousands of sportbike riders move onto something other than a race replica, they will be looking for something with sporting capability and a cruiser just might not do it for them.

    HD should continue to build their excellent cruisers, but the faithfull should not shun or turn their nose up to drastic model additions. These other models just might help HD prosper.

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=aermacchi hd&gbv=2

  6. 6 Killian Sep 18th, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    Its not too late for HD to come out with 2 new models that fit the above demographics:

    1. A stylish, entry level, light-weight automatic.
    – Marketed as an alternative to scooters
    – Marketed towards an aging rider.
    – This bike could tap into 3 of the 4 demographics mentioned above.

    It would be tough to compete against cheap Chinese scooters being sold in developing nations, but the time has come for “world economies” to raise their standards in terms of quality and enforcing business law. While at the same time, American companies must figure out how to manufacture goods more cost effectively. The US govt. plays a vital role in this course. For example, a universal healthcare system in the US could lower the cost to produce American cars/bikes/services, whatever. Lee Iacocca believes unions need to make concessions and expect their members to pay a portion of the health care costs. Think bigger than that. Other companies from other countries have much less unit costs, in part due to national-type health care system.

    Americans are taxed so that billions are spent on defense but nothing on health care? And then Americans companies and their citizens are expected to pay for a health care system that has outrageous costs…only to have these costs send jobs abroad?

    2. A sport tourer
    -In 10-15 years, will today’s sport bike riders be buying cruisers or sport tourers?

    Cruisers will still be in demand; but many riders today are brought up on sportbikes with extreme performance and excellent handling. HD only has a cruiser to offer to that rider who is ready to move to something more comfortable than their Yamaha R1, Kawi Ninja, or Honda CBR. Other brands have cruisers and sport tourers to sell.

  7. 7 Nicker Sep 19th, 2007 at 3:03 am

    Say what…??!!

    “… a universal health care system in the US could lower the cost to produce American cars/bikes/services, whatever…”

    Exactly who do you think will pay for this Socialist Utopia?

    Lower Costs…? i don’t think so.

    I’m think-en Gas prices at $5 per gallon and some reasonably priced 45 inch twins should give the bike market a boost. As i recall, sales went up during the 70’s gas crunch.

    -nicker-

  8. 8 Keith Goodridge Sep 19th, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Awesome motorcycles blog and always very interesting comments.

  9. 9 Killian Sep 19th, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    It’s not a Socialist Utopia at all. Funny how the right (or right-leaning) always cries “socialist” when those types of plans are examined, yet they have no problem with their billions of tax dollars being spent on defense. Cold War Communism seemed to take their citizens’ dollars and spend the majority of it on defense.

    So, nicker… with the CURRENT health care system that employers and employees are faced with paying for, why are companies STILL sending jobs overseas? What is one of the leading overhead costs in a companies’ product/service that, if reduced, could make “Made In America” more competitive?

  10. 10 rodent Sep 19th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    1 outta 10 bikes are registered in a female name not nessacerily ridden by females. That’s done because the malepartner has no credit orisan insurance risk.Figures don’t lie but liers can figure.

  11. 11 Ray Jenning Sep 20th, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Women have always saved men! (ok, not all the time)

  12. 12 goldiron Sep 20th, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Killian,

    Although you have not asked me the questions “why are companies STILL sending jobs overseas? What is one of the leading overhead costs in a companies’ product/service that, if reduced, could make ‘Made In America’ more competitive?”, I would like to respond.

    Most of the leading overhead costs that plague US based companies evolve from a poor work ethic and even poorer understanding of what makes their product competitive in the marketplace. This ethic and lack of understanding has added a tremendous burden to the ‘cost of’ and ‘pricing of’ services and products.

    ‘Made in America’ used to mean something special about a product. American Technology, at one time, was a bragging right. Legislators that have created laws making it advantageous for companies to ‘globalize’ operations have been bought through lobbying efforts and contributions to their enrichment and power.

    Personal accountability and responsibility for actions is talked about and yet seldom seen. Often times it is pointed out that ‘others’ need it but rarely addressed on a personal level.

    The entertainment industry has provided us with an amorality in this area that has been embraced by the news media. We are talking about a work ethic and morality that has vacated our lives and has been pushed overseas. We collectively have dropped the ball on this one and we no longer stand up for what is ours. Rather we bitch and moan about what we do not have. No longer do we decide just to make it or do it….we outsource it.

  13. 13 Killian Sep 20th, 2007 at 10:59 am

    goldiron….thanks for the input. There is a lot of truth to the decline in American work ethic, but this generalization does not hold true for the other millions of Americans who work hard and work smart with innovation.

    I didn’t ask what was the only or top overhead cost that could be addressed. The topic you raise definitely needs resolved. One of the leading (italicized) overhead costs that needs to be addressed is health care. Again, the current system is not working – companies & employees spend too much money for what appears to be spinning our wheels. We’re not getting anywhere considering the amount of money invested, especially when you compare other countries’ plans.

    Nicker also asked “who is going to pay for such a “socialist uptopia?” The thousands (perhaps millions) without insurance undoubtedly cost the rest of us boat loads of cash….so you’re already living that “uptopia”….in a back-handed way.

  14. 14 Killian Sep 20th, 2007 at 11:06 am

    by the way…
    I do not yet support or refute H.Clinton’s plan per se, in part, because it was just released. There seems to be valid concerns with parts of it so far. Nonetheless, this topic has to be in the top 3 (?) for our nation with the next administration.

    The current health care system results in a few (reltively speaking) getting really rich; and a lot of people (without insurance) costing everyone in between more than is acceptable. This is not progress.

  15. 15 Sid Sep 20th, 2007 at 11:19 am

    http://www.motorcycledaily.com/19september07_automatic.htm

    This will be interesting to watch in terms of attracting new riders and/or re-introducing riders that have not ridden for awhile or are getting older. This bike may not be styled for N.Americans falling into those classifications, but the automatic transmission could be applied to other models.

    My father decided to learn to ride again after 50 years. He’s 71. He’s doing well with it, but he definitely thinks an automatic would be helpful for him and many other riders.

    Step out of your skills as a rider for a moment and put yourself in the demographic that could help turnaround the declining moto sales. The newbies (male or female) or the aging rider….Consider the anxiety level of learning to master the gearbox with today’s drivers. It’s not the same 15, 20, & 50 years ago.

  16. 16 Sid Sep 20th, 2007 at 11:22 am

    Why put an automatic in a bike with an 850 cc engine?

    To entice all of the scooter riders in Europe to get on a bike.

  17. 17 Nicker Sep 21st, 2007 at 12:45 am

    Hmmmmmmm………?

    I guess my reply to Killian’s
    “…right (or right-leaning) always cries “socialist”…” didn’t make the cut…….. Interesting.

    Anyway…..
    I’d say Goldiron has his finger on it.

    “…Most of the leading overhead costs that plague US based companies evolve from a poor work ethic…” (the rest government meddling).

    Said another way,…. plagued by a workforce (and by extension a society) that is increasingly focused on entitlements.

    Perhaps the reason that Killian feels “… the current system is not working…” is because (as i stated in my missing post) Healthcare isn’t a right, it’s a good or service just like any other.

    Perhaps the solution to reducing healthcare costs is to eliminate government mandates, reduce taxes on industry and repeal the overbearing regulations. Basically, less government and no more mandatory insurance coverage.

    The MC industry (like any other) is based on competition. A school system that disparages competition and has been promoting socialism for 50 years isn’t what industry or this country needs.

    Any comparison to “…other countries’ plans…” should include a comprehensive “cost/performance” analysis. Look at their overall economy and standard of living. Can the average guy in these countries afford to own a couple of HDs…?

    I’m just a retired IT guy with a shop full of machine-tools and motorcycles. My cousin in Germany is an Astor Physicist who can barley afford his own home and one car.

    -nicker-

  18. 18 Scott Sep 21st, 2007 at 9:17 am

    OK very interesting comments. I just have to make this one reply. The American corporate manufacturing regigm does not want it’s employess to be smart consumers. If corporate America was about keeping jobs here they would take on the task of educating the great unwashed about buying American. Having worked for several leaders in their market IE fortune 100 companies I can tell you that there is no initative to enlighten their employees about the importance of buying American. Any initative has been brought forth by the unions. After all who has the most to loose. The executives with their golden parachutes? Or, the grunt in the field? It isn’t a matter of the company being American. For they are all global citizens and will move to the next emerging nation for sales when they dry up here. Do I see the motor company as being any different? NO. If they cared about the consumer more than the others there would actually be assecories and clothing made in USA on their shelves. We would actually have dealerships and not Harley boutiques.

    Honestly, will women save the indusrty? Maybe! Will they save Harley? NO!! Take an objective look at what is available. The Asian producers have a better grasp on the pulse of the American market than the bloated near death American companies. Why would I pay $8,000 for a sportie when i can get a entry level bike from Brand X for $5,000 that fits the needs of a beginner rider. The Honda Shadow sits lower from the factory than the Sportster Hugger model does. It will fit the shorter female rider right out of the box. It pains me to say this. I have owned and ridden Harley’s for years. I am as loyal as they come to Buy American. When the so called American companies fail to respond to the current needs of a market they deserve to be put out of business. In my book the consumer rules the market not the producer. It is time that the American consumer woke up and got their head out of their ass. Every dollar that we spend with a company that doesn’t respond to our needs is a vote for their continued fat pompous asses to cram their views down our throats. But then again how many people think buying chrome off the shelf makes their bike, Car, Truck…. A custom? welcome to the land of Sheeple BAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

  19. 19 Killian Sep 21st, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Nicker: “Healthcare isn’t a right, it’s a good or service just like any other. Perhaps the solution to reducing healthcare costs is to eliminate government mandates, reduce taxes on industry and repeal the overbearing regulations. Basically, less government and no more mandatory insurance coverage. ”

    How much will this “service” cost under a model without insurance?

    Nicker: “A school system that disparages competition and has been promoting socialism for 50 years isn’t what industry or this country needs.”

    Who said anything about a “school system” and disparaging competition as it relates to the moto industry or the health care industry?

    Nicker: “Any comparison to “…other countries’ plans…” should include a comprehensive “cost/performance” analysis. Look at their overall economy and standard of living”

    True, it should include this type of analysis. A distinct advantage the US has over the smaller European nations is that we have a more populous nation. Crunch the numbers with the right plan in place and the health care can be improved while maintaining the “standard of living”. Simply stated, I know, but this is the start of huge potential for improvement.

    Nicker: “Healthcare isn’t a right”.

    Under the current system, the millions of people without healthcare are costing YOU & American companies more than you realize. Would a different plan that leverages health care to all citizens reduce the current cost to those of us that do have healtcare? We have to look close to find out, ’cause the existing system is spinning our wheels.

    You came out with comments about socialism because I suggested a universal healthcare. This is bunk. I’m not suggesting people get something for nothing and that we turn our competitive nature into Govt.-suckling, hand-holding, outstretched open-handed drones.
    I don’t want the current system to cost me more than it should while very few get rich…all the while the driver to this cost are those that do not have any coverage.

    ——-
    Scott: “It is time that the American consumer woke up and got their head out of their ass.”

    The American companies need to do this too…There is a big problem with “Buy American” for the sole purpose of buying American. It even hints at socialism. You buy the best product on the market for the best price, not because it is American. Competition, right?

    The auto industry in the 80s is an example of why you shouldn’t “buy American” for the sole purpose of buying American. Same goes for the SUV craze in the late 90s and early 2000s. Ford and GM were irresponsible for pumping out SUVs without any other investment in alternatives…and they’re hurting because of this lack of vision.

  20. 20 Mike Sep 21st, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Will HD have the vision to build other models besides cruiser a,b,c, – z ?

  21. 21 Ray Jenning Sep 21st, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    HD fell asleep…

  22. 22 Nicker Sep 21st, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Great Dialog Killian, So:

    RE:
    “…How much will this “service” cost under a model without insurance?…”

    Go back to 1955, people were able to run a family of 4 without health care. The family doctor came to the house. People handled healthcare costs out of pocket. The bigger bills we arranged via a payment plan with the “service provider” based on the free market.

    RE:
    “… A distinct advantage the US has over the smaller European nations is that we have a more populous nation…”

    So, your position is that Socialism doesn’t work there because they don’t have enough people… Sounds like your point is Socialism doesn’t Scale…?

    That’s the same lame excuse Progressives come up with trying to defend Communism.

    RE:
    “…Crunch the numbers with the right plan in place and the health care can be improved while maintaining the “standard of living”. …”

    OK, i’m listening, start crunching. Let’s see what you come up with.

    As i understand it, Hillary’s latest proposal (not her failed 1993 attempt)is based on 45 to 60 cent/pack cigarette tax. The non-partisan Concord Coalition estimated it will become $32-trilion dollar unfunded mandate on Medicare.

    RE:
    “…’Buy American’ …. It even hints at socialism…”

    I’m ot sure what that means, it makes no sense (to me anyway)…?
    May be someone else can step in and bail you out.

    RE:
    “…Who said anything about a “school system” and disparaging competition …”

    Well, i was simply agreeing with Goldiron’s perspective and suggesting a cause & effect. In the aggregate, the cause is creeping Socialism, exactly what is happening in those “smaller European nations”.

    However, when you start hollering about what will cost you “…more than it should while very few get rich…” your prattling standard Marx and Engel class envy (have vs have-nots).

    After 60 some odd years experience kicking around this world. i’m inclined to believe that Humans in general are not wired to accept “wealth distribution” ….regardless how you flavor it.

    As a European by birth and also a former Australian, (not to mention relatives still living behind what was the “Iron Curtain”) i’ve got lots of experience with both Socialism and Communism.

    Dude, these strategies are a dead end. Hoping for a massive influx of women buyers has a better chance of saving HD than national heathcare.

    -IMHO, nicker-

  23. 23 Killian Sep 24th, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Nicker – “Go back to 1955, people were able to run a family of 4 without health care. The family doctor came to the house. People handled healthcare costs out of pocket. The bigger bills we arranged via a payment plan with the “service provider” based on the free market.”

    going back to that time is good for history, but does that model stand a chance into today’s world?

    Nicker: “So, your position is that Socialism doesn’t work there because they don’t have enough people… Sounds like your point is Socialism doesn’t Scale…?

    That’s the same lame excuse Progressives come up with trying to defend Communism.”

    Yes, to some degree, socialism doesn’t scale with a limited population concerning topics where the costs have risen disproportionately, such as healthcare/pharmaceutical costs. How is the US able to formulate a defense budget without the number of people in the country? b-t-w, why don’t you think the same about defense….why are we taxed so much for defense purposes? Isn’t that a socialistic approach? Why don’t you sign-up for a “personal defense plan” and contribute $$ accordingly? But who introduced anything about socialism except your paranoid mindset? Progressives defend Communism ? Ha! That is laughable. More laughable, in fact, than assuming environmentalists are anti-business.

    Nicker: “However, when you start hollering about what will cost you “…more than it should while very few get rich…” your prattling standard Marx and Engel class envy (have vs have-nots).

    After 60 some odd years experience kicking around this world. i’m inclined to believe that Humans in general are not wired to accept “wealth distribution” ….regardless how you flavor it”.

    At 60 some years, you choose to read what you want and miss the point that has been made more than once already….You, Jane Doe, XYZ Co., etc. are paying more than you should for healthcare with the current system. Furthermore, the amount of money you are paying is, to some degree, is paying for others who don’t have healthcare. Sounds like the have-nots are handing you a back-handed socialist model without you even knowing it, while you smugly rant about someone else wanting socialism & communism. Who pays for the thousands of emergency cases on a daily basis that do not have insurance? Who pays for the thousands of babies born to mothers without insurance?

    You do.

    My views above have nothing to do with socialism or communism. More of a shrewd business look at the current mess than wanting a leach-filled socialist society. I fully understand the slippery slope socialism & communism have on the human psyche, both as an individual & society at large. So, think again before you make those accusations.

    The current system has rising costs that have superceded the 50’s paradgim you mentioned above. My stance does not equate to “wealth distribution” at all – More generalized bunk on your part that fails to see you are paying more than you should be for healthcare.

  24. 24 Nicker Sep 26th, 2007 at 2:35 am

    RE:
    “…does that [1955] model stand a chance into today’s world?…”
    Well, exactly what “world changes” are you thinking about?
    As I recall, employer provided healthcare was an auto workers Union idea used as a bargaining tool to put a cap on wages. Successful at wage suppression, that strategy was adopted across the economy.

    However, in “today’s world” that model appears to be in disfavor as private and public employers are buckling under these “defined benefit” liabilities. So, now we have LLPs taking over and the first “Liability” their looking to “Limit” is stuff like healthcare.

    So, it looks to me like the 1955 model is more than just interesting from a “historical perspective.”
    I’m thinking that if we reverted back to the old economic model, the market forces would drive healthcare down…..

    RE: “…why don’t you think the same about defense…”
    Well, primarily because “healthcare/pharmaceutical” didn’t bomb the barracks in Lebanon; Didn’t attack our embassies in Africa; Didn’t attack the USS Cole….etc. etc. And they didn’t fly aircraft into the World Trade Center….

    RE: “…why are we taxed so much for defense purposes…”

    As I recall, our Defense figures, when compared to percentage of GDP are not out of proportion to the industrialized world.

    So, it looks to me like the 1955 model is more than just interesting from a “historical perspective.”
    I’m thinking that if we reverted back to the old economic model, the market forces would drive healthcare down…..
    RE: “…, you choose to read what you want and miss the point…”
    Dude, what have I missed about your “point”……????
    RE: “ … But who introduced anything about socialism except your paranoid mindset? Progressives defend Communism ? Ha! That is laughable.

    Ya, i suppose those who think of “history” as only good for “…going back to that time…,” as an anecdote with no relevance to “today’s world,” would thinks i’m paranoid about Socialism and Communism. Try doing some more reading.

    RE: “…Sounds like the have-nots are handing you a back-handed socialist model without you even knowing it, while you smugly rant about someone else wanting socialism & communism. Who pays for the thousands of emergency cases on a daily basis that do not have insurance? Who pays for the thousands of babies born to mothers without insurance?…”

    The “have-nots …. Thousands of emergency [room] cases…” are primarily illegals. Take them out of the country and you would have a totally different economic equation. How do you figure them as a “backhanded model” …..? They look like a “direct” model to me….

  25. 25 goldiron Sep 26th, 2007 at 10:16 am

    What we are really discussing here is whether or not HOG wants to continue as a pseudo, macho branded, popular. entity that produces retro technology offshore, or if they would choose to further enhance their clothing line accessories (bikes) with effeminate versions of how they are enhancing their latest black t-shirts. Some will say that it is a “damnable shame that Harley is making a girls bike”. Others might say that the pussification of Harley’s bikes is just what is needed. I strongly feel that there will be a whole new way of naming their bikes will come under scrutiny if they associate the current naming trend. For example, will the Fat Boy become the Fat Girl or the Bad Boy become the Good Girl. Maybe the Wide Glide will become the Big Beautiful Glide. Will the ancillary marketing also cater to this? Street Vibrations becomes Vibrators in the Streets? Will the the bitch seat become the sperm donor throne? Will saddlebags become a thing of the past or renamed purses and sissy bars be considered politically incorrect or just properly named once the men become the bitches that fall off the back?

  26. 26 Nicker Sep 26th, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Goldiron

    If HD needs to improve their profitability, than expanding their market share is one avenue. And opening up the demographic would be a strategy. Could give “sissy bar” a whole new meaning.

    But seriously, The “Motor maids” were a HD force way before this. And they certainly didn’t have the limitations posed by “Dykes-on-Bikes.”

    I’m thinking that trying to capitalize on the “Wild One” stereotype poses the same demographic limitation.

    Judging by how well the Baggers are going over (my neighbor just dumped is Honda Valkyrie for a Classic) i’d say HD needs to concentrate on the basics: Quality, Fit & Finish.

    The market is always there for good value (regardless of healthcare ….:-).

    IMHO, anyway.

    -nicker-

  27. 27 Killian Sep 27th, 2007 at 3:14 am

    Nicker, if the 50’s paradigm can get the pharmaceutical companies to lower their drug costs, the hospitals to lower their costs, the mal-practice coverage to lower its costs, etc., etc. then I am all for the model. It makes sense — it seems like one would get what they pay for, more so than the existing model, which appears to have more hidden costs.

    What source do you have that supports your claim that illegals make up the majority of ER cases? Are illegals making up the majority of births to mothers without insurance?

    That is your most flimsy comment in this thread.

    My comment referring to defense budgets was intended to suggest that you seem to have no problem with paying into a defense budget in the same manner that some national health care programs could be funded, and when someone suggests looking into the idea, you start into drivel about socialism.

    Either approach to healthcare (the existing model or a version of a national healthcare model) entails the majority (you, me, employers, etc.) paying for other people to have healthcare. Would a national healthcare system better manage those hidden costs, while offering better coverage to more people? That is what we should be open-minded to analyze, instead of tagging it as “socialism” right out of the gate.

    You stated health care is not a right. No, it is not listed in the Bill of Rights, but ask many medical professionals if healthcare is a human right. Ask the single mother raising sick kids without insurance if healthcare is a human right. Ask the single mom, who slips and falls at work, rupturing discs in her back resulting in chronic back pain, if healthcare isn’t a human right.

    Then ask yourself those questions in light of our nation supposedly being a “leader” from a financial perspective.

    ———

    HD would do well with additional models in addition to the quality fit and finish of their existing catalog.

  28. 28 Nicker Sep 28th, 2007 at 2:09 am

    RE: “… If [etc., etc., etc.] …”
    All that stuff was taken care of in the 50s.. as a direct result of smaller government and less litigation.
    I think we’ve come to an impasse. Our positions are juxtaposed. You think Big Government should be able to fix this and I think small government will fix it. I base my argument on the 50’s, an era of small government where these problems were simply not an issue. You base your argument on a belief, one that ht e Canadian and British models refute.

    RE: “…What source do you have that supports your claim that illegals…”
    My brother-in-law is a Hospital administrator in California. He has worked in several hospitals in the Northern California Central Valley. The emergency rooms are simply full of illegals. His main problem, at every place he has worked, is containing those costs.
    And the free clinics in our area are also full to capacity with illegal workers. I could tell you horror stories about that but this isn’t the focus of the blog.

    RE: “…that you seem to have no problem with paying into a defense budget in the same manner that some national health care programs could be funded, and when someone suggests looking into the idea, you start into drivel about socialism…”
    No….. the “drivel about socialism” was in direct response to your allusions to the tired old Progressive “share the wealth” prattle. Perhaps your too young to realize that, in which case you need to do some reading.
    Yes…. I have no problem at all funding what is Wold War III. Iraq is only one battle in that war. We’ve been in WW-III since the 1980’s.

    RE: “…if healthcare is a human right… Ask the single mom, who slips and falls…”
    No…. the contemporary social anomaly of “Single Mothers” is a direct result of the disintegration of the Family unit, ushered in by the 1960’s. Thank your Progressive friends (LBJ’s Great Society….etc.).
    Here in California we had a safety net for indigent medical cases. We had a great County Hospital system. And many a Biker, Mother, and Poor Student used it. It wasn’t fun to sit in the waiting room with a bunch of other folks, but if you had no money that’s what you had to do. It might be instructive to you to learn that

    The County General System’s demise was partly instigated by the Progressives who demanded that those who couldn’t pay should have the same healthcare “access experience” as those who could afford to pay (-BTW- that’s called redistribution of wealth financial perspective…”

    RE: “…Then ask yourself those questions in light of our nation supposedly being a “leader” from a from a financial perspective…”

    Dude, the only question I’m asking myself right now is what are you taking about?.

    -nicker-

  29. 29 Killian Sep 28th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Ok, everyone, Nicker continues to make accusations towards someone who merely recommended examining an alternative approach to managing costs of healthcare.

    Nicker – you should consider not speaking in general terms. It does nothing for a credible argument. Your answer to reducing healthcare was: remove illegals. There are thousands more American citizens walking into ER roooms all over the country without insurance. There are thousands more American girls giving birth without insurance….

    Whatever the medical situation, there are American citizens costing other insured American citizens & businesses money under the current system. The notion I suggested a long time ago, before you accused me of being a socialist, was to examine a national plan that, in the end, could be cheaper to operate for individuals and businesses, while providing coverage to more people. Nothing about socialism, but a pragmatic business examination. Nothing about big government.

    Your best/worst example of flimsy, generalized bullshit: claiming single parenthood is purely a result of some “moral demise” ushered in by “Progressives” . Meanwhile, self-proclaimed “higher morality” conservatives are making headlines in an unfavorable light. You’ll have to turn off Fox News to know about them.

  30. 30 dragon Sep 28th, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    DON’T BITCH IF YOU DON’T VOTE we the people are the one’s that put them in office now it’s time we the people take back what is rightfully our’s so if you don’t work get a job and put down the game controller and go VOTE or run for pres your self it’s all about money and we know it the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer ,hell the goverment spent more money on milk and cookie’s than some people make in two year pick up the phone and call yor locally congressman or woman and start bitchin about the way your money is spent. now that’s all i got to say about that

  31. 31 Paul Sep 28th, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    I think the original question here was “can women save the motorcycle industry” before it turned into a discussion about health care!! Political issues aside, a couple of observations on the motorcycle industry generally; at all levels, motorcycling has been enjoying a resurgence of interest over the past decade. 2004 motorcycle sales for the first time surpassed the heady days of the 1970’s. There are no doubt a number of demographic buyers that have driven this, but in the custom bike sector, there can be no doubt that OCC and the Biker Build-off programs have helped to rekindle interest – love ’em or hate ’em. Harley in particular has built their business on the retro, “rebel” mystique they offer. It’s their “brand” and their lifeline. A small capacity, auto-trans HD? You’ve got to be kidding!! Would you buy one?

    I think there is one important point that has been overlooked here. A motorcycle – no matter what brand/style/capacity – is by and large a discretionary purchase. Who among us at some time hasn’t had to delay buying a new bike because there has been a more pressing thing we’ve had to pay for? Or who hasn’t had to sell the bike to raise the deposit for a house or pay something else or whatever? So motorcycle sales started to decline in 2005? Funny thing…that’s about when interest rates were rising and property values were falling. So is the motorcycle industry actually in decline, or is it that the industry, like a lot of other discretionary-spend products, is going through the same economic downturn cycle? As the first President Clinton famously said.. “It’s the economy, stupid”. As for whether or not women can save the motorcycle industry…no. But more power to them! The more ladies we see on bikes the better!!

    My prediction – when household disposable income rises, so will motorcycle sales.

  32. 32 Nicker Sep 29th, 2007 at 1:37 am

    Paul;

    RE: “…Harley in particular has built their business on the retro, “rebel” mystique …”

    Spot on…!

    Moreover, the entire cruiser (HD or other) industry has hitched it’s wagon to that market. I’m surprised it’s lasted as long as it has. And undoubtedly it will continue, but at some lower volume.

    Looks to me like Kollian’s a lost cause.

    I’m going to Europe tomorrow for three weeks to help remind myself why we left.

    I doubt HD (or any other industry, for that matter) could improve their business model based on a Government Program that…..

    -1- Requires a 45 to 60 cent/pack additional cigarette tax.

    -2- And is estimated to become $32-trillion dollar unfunded mandate on Medicare. (per the non-partisan Concord Coalition).

    …..Regardless of product.

    See ya in a few weeks.

    -nicker-

  33. 33 Killian Oct 1st, 2007 at 10:22 am

    “Looks to me like Kollian’s a lost cause. ”

    looks to You – I’m not surprised.

  34. 34 Killian Oct 3rd, 2007 at 11:49 am

    “I’m going to Europe tomorrow for three weeks to help remind myself why we left.”

    The other misconception or conclusion that nicker jumped to was that I suggested adopting a European or Canadian model by merely suggesting a form of a national healthcare system. Wrong ’em boyo, again.

    My point has been: there is a need to examine healthcare, because the current system is not as good as it should be. This does not imply a socialistic approach and does not assume an exact copy of European or Canadian healthcare models. There are other innovative ways to improve just about anything, including healthcare. Naysayers that jump to conclusions (read Nicker’s first post in this thread) impede improvement.

    Businesses and individuals should not be paying into a system as much as we are and STILL have the level of costs under the current healthcare approach. I would hope there is some ounce of agreement in that notion. If there is, then American businesses can begin to be more competitive with changes. What those changes entail, I don’t know…but the topic should be high on our lists to expect the elected officials to bust their ass over. The costs in terms of not only dollars but lack of competitiveness is too huge to not change the status quo.

  35. 35 Nicker Oct 20th, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Killian, sorry for the delay…i’m back

    stuff like “…there is a need to examine health-care, because the current system is not as good as it should be…”

    And

    “…Businesses and individuals should not be paying into a system …”

    point out the huge difference in our respective positions.

    Social engineering has turned the process of acquiring medical services and commodities from a “marketing exercise” into a “system.”

    Anyway, bringing the topic back to HD and their marketability:
    RE: “… American businesses can begin to be more competitive with changes…”

    Although i didn’t seek out Motorcycle stuff, casual observation indicated that the US-V-twin interest seems to have dropped off some. I only noticed about 10 to 15 HDs as i was goin about in Italy, Spain, France, & Germany).

    -nicker-

  36. 36 lisbeth Calandrino Oct 16th, 2009 at 9:39 am

    There is an interesting article in the WSJ 10/16/09, Harley Davidson’s Profit Tumbles which mentions whether Harley should focus on women and they don’t want to be all things to be all people. When will companies get it, women are almost,. if not, the major purchasers of most eveything. I wonder how much “men buy because we say they should?” What’s even more interesting is that your article is two years old; how do companies miss us? Thanks for the article, maybe you could update so I can cite it on my bklog? Thanks for being “on top of it,”

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