A couple of days after he had announced his company first quarter 2010 financial results, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell first interview. I have to disclose that Journalist Rick Barrett contacted me on Monday April 26, 2010 to comment about Keith Wandell business management and be part of this interview. Not available right away over the phone, I had to decline. I summarize below Keith Wandell answers during this interview.
1- During my 1st year my objective was not to let Harley-Davidson become General Motors. Harley was already so far down that same path 2- They were issues that were going to ruin the company.
3- We had too many dealerships, there was too much inventory and we had driven down the residual value of our products. 4- Work has been outsourced so that Harley can focus on its core competencies, such as making motorcycle frames and engines, and painting and assembling bikes. We are never going to be as efficient or as competitive as our outside suppliers” 5- Buell Motorcycle Co. was not profitable for Harley. We were selling seven, eight, maybe ten Buell bikes a day worldwide 6- MV Agusta did not live up to expectations (serial for sale.) 7- We must get better and faster at developing new products while not offending loyal customers who have treated the brand with reverence 8- The company can’t afford to start 10 product design projects and hope that three of them reach the marketplace. There’s going to be a “rifle shot” approach to new ideas rather than a wasteful “shotgun” approach. (picture Keith Wandell on Harley prototype model copyright Tom Lynn)