HD1 Factory Custom Program

HarleyDavidson-HD1

Getting near the end of the year and talk is picking up about the HD1 factory custom program due to be rolled out in Feb 2011.  The program looks to be starting out with the 1200cc model. The program will allow customers to choose for many different options to include paint, graphics, wheels, bars as well as other options.  The customer should be able to customize the motorcycle at the Harley-Davidson USA website or at a local dealer and have the customer bike delivered in a short amount of time.

Looking through the xlforum.net forums we found some discussion related to the new program

User semjpm posted “Pure speculation but I think the Mid-year HD1 has something to do with the 1200r and the 1200c being shelved. Come February, I suspect that you will be able to order either one from a mix and match matrix. The upside is not having to discard the original factory installed whatever to customize the bikes and having the factory install the options instead of the Dealer.”

LuxBlue has a different take  “Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Marketing, pure and simple. When they do come back they’ll sell like hot cakes. See Mustangs, Challengers, Camaros, et al.”

Sound like a program that should be hit with many Harley Davidson fans.

Written by John Campbell, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

News Flash Harley Borrowed Money

HarleyBorrows

Harley-Davidson Funding received low-interest short-term loans for a total near $2.3 billion between October 2008 and May 2009. The money Harley borrowed was under the program outlined in the below paragraph.

Commercial paper is a critical source of funding for many businesses. In the fall of 2008, the commercial paper market was under considerable strain as money market mutual funds and other investors became increasingly reluctant to purchase commercial paper. To address these strains, the Federal Reserve established the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) to provide liquidity to U.S. issuers of commercial paper in the event that credit was not available in the market.

Under the program, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) provided three-month loans to the CPFF LLC, a specially created limited liability company (LLC) that used the funds to purchase commercial paper directly from eligible issuers. To manage its risk, the Federal Reserve required issuers whose commercial paper was purchased by the CPFF LLC to pay fees at the time of each purchase. A total of $849 million in fees were collected by the CPFF LLC. The FRBNY’s loan to the CPFF LLC was secured by all of the LLC’s assets, including its commercial paper holdings, accumulated fees, and proceeds from investments.

The last of the CPFF LLC’s commercial paper holdings matured on April 26, 2010, and the CPFF LLC was dissolved on August 30, 2010. All loans that were made to the CPFF LLC were repaid in full, in accordance with the terms of the facility, and all of the commercial paper that the CPFF LLC purchased was repaid.

Two major points that need to be pointed out:

  • A total of $849 million in fees were collected by the above program
  • All of the commercial paper that the CPFF LLC purchased was repaid.

The Federal Reserve made $849 million by loaning money to companies. So we are all upset that the Federal Reserve made some money and handed out some low interest rate loans. We are upset that Harley may have loaned you some money to purchase your new motorcycle. We are upset that Harley is still around employing people. We are upset just because.

For full information on the program and Excel spreadsheets you can download go to http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/reform_cpff.htm#data

Written by John Campbell, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

The Harley-Davidson Café in Sin City: Worth a Look

Harley Davidson Constructed of Vines and Leaves

Harley Davidson Constructed of Vines and Leaves

I’ve never been big fan of “theme” restaurants…or “theme” anything for that matter. So as I walked into the Harley-Davidson Café under the huge Heritage Softail bursting from its exterior, I wasn’t expecting much. In a nice surprise, the Las Vegas Strip restaurant had enough cool stuff to make it worth a visit.

The most eye-catching vision upon entering the massive eatery, is a two-story American flag constructed of vertically hanging chains. Advertised as the world’s heaviest American flag, I have no reason to doubt the claim. Soon you see the most intriguing feature in the café. Seven Harleys hang from a huge conveyer chain that snakes its way through the restaurant. The bikes climb in a slow ascent in front of the chain flag until disappearing into a high wall. The bikes then reappear in a path that cuts through the second level bar. Very cool.

In true Las Vegas form, there is a Harley wedding chapel on the second floor. The chapel is flanked by a chopper on one side and a Harley built for Billy Joel on the other. The chapel overlooks the neon Las Vegas Strip. Your nuptials can be officiated by Elvis, if you so desire.  One of your wedding guests will be a huge chrome eagle hanging from the roof that has a V-twin as a heart.

There is enough celebrity memorabilia to keep you occupied while you wait for your order to arrive. There are tanks autographed by everybody from Chuck Norris to Lynn Swan to the Yankees Baseball Team. You’ll also find everything from vintage dirt track race leathers to Jon Bon Jovi’s snake skin jacket in wall-mounted displays. Of course, there is a Captain America replica chopper on which you can have your photo taken (for a fee).

Since it is a café, I should make some mention of the food. It’s good. They advertise the “best barbecue in Las Vegas”. Just like with the “world’s heaviest flag”, I have no reason to doubt the claim. The food was good and the service was fast and friendly. All in all, the Harley Café is a place any motorcycle enthusiast will find interesting. It’s loaded with American motorcycling history and over-the-top Vegas glitz.  Upon leaving you’ll find two Harleys constructed of vines and leaves (no jokes about Harleys being so slow they grow roots!).

HarleyWallTK WeddingTK HarleyConv HarleyFrontTK

Written by Tim Kessel, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Harley Rejects Wisconsin’s 25 Million Dollar Tax Credit Offer

Wisconsin wants to keep Harley Davidson in the state, and it put its money where its mouth is.  However, Harley rejected the offer stating that the employment conditions were too rigid.  Harley was concerned that they would not be able to meet all of the state’s stipulations.

Gov. Jim Doyle offered up the tax proposal four days after Harley workers ratified seven-year labor contracts that included job losses and a wage freeze but kept the company from pulling its manufacturing out of the state.  Harley had earlier indicated that the company would possibly leave Wisconsin if a favorable labor agreement was not met.

The tax credit offer was to be implemented over 9 years and was tied to Harley’s employment levels, capital investments and purchases from more than 100 in-state suppliers.

Harley Davidson released a statement detailing the company’s concerns on meeting the state’s mandates.  “As previously announced, Harley-Davidson anticipates a reduction in the size of its Wisconsin production workforce upon implementation of the new labor agreements in 2012.  While the workforce reduction estimates provided at the time of contract ratification have not changed, the anticipated employment level may not meet the technical requirements of the Wisconsin statute for job retention or growth.”

There do not appear to be hard feelings over Harley’s rejection of the state’s offer.  Wisconsin’s Commerce Secretary Aaron Olver stated, “I think the important thing is this iconic Wisconsin company has decided to stay here, has reached an agreement with the unions, and has made a commitment to manufacturing in Wisconsin. I think that is good news.”

So AAB readers – what’s the lesson in all of this?   Is it that governmental agencies need to reduce the red tape when offering tax incentives to major companies?  Or is the lesson that companies should be left to take care of their own business without tax supported bailouts?

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Written by Tim Kessel, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

AMA and Harley Salute Soldiers on Veterans Day

military_motorcycle Motorcycles and the military have a long history together. In 1916, American troops rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the Mexican Expedition. Since then, there has always been a strong bond between Harley and the military. Today, Veterans Day, Harley-Davidson is in the middle of its 2nd annual Military Appreciation Month.

If you want to send thank you messages to retired war veterans, or if you want to send your praise for current service men and women, you can go to www.harley-davidson.com/thankyou.

“At Harley-Davidson, we’re all about freedom. But we can’t forget that freedom comes at a price,” said Dino Bernachi, Harley-Davidson’s director of marketing and communications. “It’s humbling to think of the countless sacrifices these brave men and women, and their familes, have made to keep our country free. So the Motor Company is honored to help salute military personnel this November.”

But Harley riders aren’t the only ones proud, and grateful for veterans. The AMA is also thanking service men and women today for Veterans Day.

“There has long been a special relationship between motorcyclists and veterans,” said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. “This Veterans Day, we honor that relationship and salute America’s veterans for their devotion to serving our country.”

“The patriotism dedication and valor of American servicemen and women is unmatched anywhere in the world. Our veterans have put their lives on the line in the defense of our principles and freedoms, and we must never forget the sacrifices they’ve made on our behalf.”

Written by Dan Evon, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com