Harley-Davidson Annual Shareholders Meeting. Many More Changes Coming.

Yesterday Saturday April 30, 2011 Harley executives stated their objectives, answered questions of shareholders with their voting on some resolutions. I summarize the main important points of this annual shareholders meeting whose theme could have been “Times are changing. The past way to do business is fading.  A new Harley way is coming”.

1- HarleyDavidson executives re-affirmed their objectives to pursue growth in international markets and by expanding into new markets: young adults, women, hispanics and African-Americans. 2- For year 2010 Harley-Davidson international sales represent 35% instead of compared to 25% 4 years ago. The company expects this percentage to be around 40% in the next 2 years.

3- Harley-Davidson was the most sold on-road motorcycle brand among Americans between the age of 18 and 34.  4- Assembly plants restructuring will continue to reduce production costs. For more flexibility in adaptation to market economic conditions and seasonal sales, outsourcing of non critical parts to build motorcycles will be expanded. 5- Several incentive plans for senior executives were approved by shareholders. A proposition to eliminate the “golden coffin”benefit for key executives was rejected (Harley offers death benefits to senior executives consisting of up to 3 to 4 times their annual salary in the form of insurance proceeds, plus reimbursement for taxes on the value of such benefits)

33 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Annual Shareholders Meeting. Many More Changes Coming.”

  1. 1 Larry May 1st, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Golden coffin benefits? Didn’t know about it. All senior executives wives (and husbands) voted for this one!

  2. 2 Mike May 1st, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I am one of the “Older” less desirable customers Harley wants. Fine, I just bought a new 2011 Victory Jackpot.

  3. 3 Bob Walker May 1st, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Golden Coffin Benefits? Seriously? Can anyone comment as whether such benefits ever where or are still common, and more importantly, are they proper for a “new” Harley-Davidson?

  4. 4 nicker May 1st, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    “…Times are changing…”

    I see the now have a firm grasp of the obvious.

    “…proposition to eliminate the “golden coffin”benefit for key executives was rejected…”

    Sure like to hear the rational for that decision.


  5. 5 Cyril Huze May 1st, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Answering the question above

    Harley-Davidson states that the so-called “Golden Coffin” has a positive effect on recruiting and retaining top executives. I let you appreciate the winning argument of Harley-Davidson board to keep in place after death benefits. “We believe the incentive value of long-term benefits is enhanced when employees know that payments will not be lost upon their death but will be available for their beneficiaries. Such long-term benefits are a strong incentive for long-term performance. We believe they increase retention, encourage lifelong dedication to the company and discourage short-term risk-taking”

  6. 6 DJ May 1st, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I am just sick about what has become of HD and the direction they are heading…. I have some serious soul searching to do… This is just about as bad as the whole AMF thing. They are trying to change a winning recipe. It seems to be all about a solution without a problem

  7. 7 Woody May 1st, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Anyone who thinks they’d look good in a David Mann painting need not apply……….

  8. 8 Keith Stone May 1st, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Yea, maybe they are looking forward to a little dose of Kaizen..
    Should pay off, finally !!!

  9. 9 highrpm May 2nd, 2011 at 12:06 am

    “5- Several incentive plans for senior executives were approved by shareholders.”
    typical of rust-belt and eastern corporations. if they want to be cutting-edge, take some management lessons from silicon valley, where companies reward even new college grads (ncg’s) with stock options for outstanding performance.

  10. 10 fluke May 2nd, 2011 at 12:23 am

    First, last and only salaried job I ever had 2 decades ago had a “Golden Coffin” clause. 3 or 4 times final salary as a one off payment to whomever I nominated. Was I a CEO? senior executive? no, a minimum wage data entry clerk.

    Change at HD is fine and very needed, unfortunately their historical customer base think changing chrome for black on a couple of models or altering the wheel design on a CVO is unacceptably radical thinking that will have them throwing a hissy fit.

  11. 11 Bruce May 2nd, 2011 at 9:21 am

    How can a person argue with the success of Harley-Davidson? Stock holders are looking for growth, again Harley Stock has continued to be a good investment. It was not long ago you could have bought HOG for 9 bucks…I hope you all bought some.

    My thinking is this…it will be real interesting to see what direction Indian will head now under new ownership…maybe Cyril has an answer to this question.

  12. 12 andygo May 2nd, 2011 at 9:26 am

    “…outsourcing of non-critical parts will be expanded.” That’s more significant than the other items.

  13. 13 Oliver May 2nd, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Historically H-D has always benefited from International sales during slump years in the US. That is good news and glad they are expanding overseas. Item 3 is good positive news about younger H-D buyers – Very difficult task that needs more attention. Not happy about the execs bonuses passing – Too rich and they do not deserve it. typical of what ails the US corporations. Glad the Golden Coffin went down. Oliver

  14. 14 Oliver May 2nd, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Golden Coffin was not eliminated!! With their salaries, they can buy Life Insurance like everyone else. Shame.

  15. 15 Spaz May 2nd, 2011 at 11:06 am

    OK key the theme from “Jaws” it’s Polaris coming up on Harley fast, with the supeior Victory Motorcycles, and now Indian Motorcycles too… Can ya hear it Harley? Bum-bum. Bum-bum… bum-bum-bum-bum…!

  16. 16 Boomer May 2nd, 2011 at 11:15 am

    “…outsourcing of non-critical parts will be expanded.” That’s more significant than the other items.”


    I agree. Does this mean even more parts will be made offshore diluting the “Made in USA” brand even more? I hope not. We need the manufacturing jobs here in America. Now more than ever. At the very least, as a cost saving measure, they should outsource the parts manufacturing to right to work states where the Unions don’t swallow up much of the profits or cause the price to be artificially high from pension benefits. JMHO.

  17. 17 Blkvzn May 2nd, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Looks like there is only one cycle made in America now!

  18. 18 Boss Hawg May 2nd, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    It’s all good. Change is needed and all business models are dynamic to market demands. One most retain key management to be successful.

    Let’s see what Polaris does with Indian. Most importantly, what HD may have to do…to maintain fair market share. Don’t know about you here, but I am gonna keep the Ultra Classic after logging close to another 1000 miles this past week without issues. Looked at some Indians at the rally this past week and thing they are butt ugly! In fact rode behind one that stopped running due to the heat…84 degrees!

    However, met with a dear friend in the industry for 3 days and we are going to put together a nut throbbing, coochie shaking hot rod (no pun intended) custom. You should do the same! Stock sucks!

    Vroom vroom vroom,
    Boss Hawg

  19. 19 Boss Hawg May 2nd, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    oops excuse the typos….I was excited.

    Boss Hawg

  20. 20 motorcycle medic May 2nd, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I am sad to say that if I was to scan and post all the harley davidson parts that I install and the find printed on the BACK of the packaging ,NOT made in USA..I would be a busy guy!
    I also have to say that another product line that seems to be sooo popular is KURYAKYN ….all their stuff is from overseas comapnies!
    Is that the trend???

  21. 21 rogue phil May 2nd, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Made in America

  22. 22 badams May 2nd, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Harley seems to finally gotten serious about retooling their marketing approach. The real question is HOW they execute their plan.

    Its taken years for them to sober up from their home equity lines of credit drunkenness in the mid-late 2000’s and painful to watch.

    Hopefully they can create affinity with a new market, and regain equity with the ones they lost.

  23. 23 HARDLEY A. DAVIDSON May 2nd, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Harley is so out of touch with reality, it cannot help but destroy itself, through its own arrogance. They, fail to respect the times, and whats more, they fail to respect the true Biker community. I believe that VICTORY MOTORCYCLE COMPANY will do right things for the right reasons, and they will prevail in end

  24. 24 deadwood1783 May 3rd, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Your management stinks HD. You beat the working man to death, and then add perks for overpaid, underperforming pinheads who could care less what happens long term. Retention, it would be better not to retain many of these people. How much longer you think Wandell will be around? One, two years at most. At 6 mill plus a year why would he. Just another overpaid head chopper. He, as its turning out is just fixing things temporarily for upper management and Wall St. What a shame. Wanted to believe differently, but unless you refuse to see, the writing is on the wall.

  25. 25 Big Mike May 3rd, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Wow, talk about living in a dream world! All you guys who think Victory will ever overtake Harley must have your head up your ass! They have a looooong way to go to even come close to what Harley has. We have had several Victory’s come through as trade-ins and I can’t beleive how much plastic they have strapped to them. They make a decent product, but it’s no Harley! And, deadwood, you wrote”harley is beating the working man to death”. The average salary for a Harley worker is over $30 bucks an hour! The new “casual worker” part time workers start at $16.50 an hour! Show me somewhere else that an entry level factory worker can make that kind of cash. Please try to be a little more informed before you shoot off your mouth!

  26. 26 TRexSG May 3rd, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    As a customer or stock holder, who cares about the “Golden Coffin” benefit? It is paid for by insurance so it’s costs are relatively minimal compared to the overall business plan.

    Glad to see number 3 as I had heard for years that HD’s customer base was 50+….so if this is the case it really says they screwed up dropping Buel!

  27. 27 Toby May 3rd, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Golden Coffin Benefits are pretty common and cheap. Hard to believe they wasted shareholder meeting time on it. It is nothing more that a group term life insurance policy. Often they include a partial benefit to the company to offset head hunting costs for the lost executive.

  28. 28 roscoe May 3rd, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Victory is here to stay.
    So is Harley Davidson.

    I like having choices, I don’t know why so many people are supportive of one company and want to slam the other one

  29. 29 jonesy May 4th, 2011 at 7:54 am

    If all you Victory cheerleaders would actually buy one of the damn things maybe they’d sell more than 5000 bikes in a year!

  30. 30 mcmagic May 4th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I tried a Victory. Now I’m back on my FLTR.

  31. 31 J May 4th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    LOL- I love reading these things….

    1) “Expand into new markets, etc”– Translation: Our freaky financing is gonna fire back up, cause we’re planning on getting another bailout, so lets go market to the ‘hood….”

    2) “Outsourcing”– Translation: If we can make it cheaper in Pakistan, so be it- our dupe customers will believe they’re buying an American bike long enough for us to get our Exec severance packages”

    3) “SEVERAL incentive plans introduced”- Translation: This clueless board of directors is terrified to vote us down and do any actual work themselves, so lets continue to award ourselves incremental pay, at the expense of anything- i.e- cutting labor- we can chop off at the nuts.

    Bottom line is, the stock price suggests a growth rate FAR in excess of what Harley themselves is projecting, so buy the stock at your own risk……

  32. 32 Mike May 8th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I picked up my new 2011 Black & White Jackpot, changed the bars, seat and pegs. I have stopped at a few biker spots and , IT IS GETTING the attention. Everybody likes it. 250 rear tire, Ness Fly Bars, cool custom paint, cool custom seat. Unfortunately the stock exhaust is still on for a while until warranty passes along a little,.

    It isn’t a Harley, but it is a nice bike and JUST as good and more powerful stock. Unfortunately HD does not make a bike like it, So I am satisfied. I just can’t get into what Harley has become, so 1 demensional and putting loser bikes out there for what purpose ( ie Rocker, Cross Bones, the ever ugly VROD and the new Softail with the wash basin handlebars!!!!! Seriously?????)

    Baggers take NO imagination, I rather take my truck. Custom is King!!!!!
    To be clear I own a 08 FXSTC , 03 FXSTDI and love them immenslly, The 09 SE FXSTSI was the last bike HD made I liked but not for 30k

  33. 33 Steve May 11th, 2011 at 1:05 am

    I liked Roscoe’s comment. Having choices is good. Harley, Victory, Indian, Viper, hell, even the CanAm. It’s nice to see several competitors in the scene. Makes everyone work a little harder and we consumers typically benefit. Don’t care about the Golden Coffin other than to see a few of them placed in it already to make room for some new and innovative thinkers. Would like to see them revive Buell and actually put some time and effort into it. The main thing is getting people out there riding. Good point about Kuryakyn and others who are selling parts made offshore. I’m guilty as well but going to make some changes to spend a few extra bucks and try to stick to buying American. ABC is supposed to have a show out about a family whose house is emptied of everything NOT made in America and the place is damn near empty. Quite a wakeup call. But at the same time, unions need to get real and recognize the need to ease up on the demands or else the work DOES go overseas. Hate seeing that. We’ll see what the future brings.

Comments are currently closed.
Cyril Huze