With so many things to occupy your time and attention, so many needs and wants competing for your disposable income, where do motorcycles fit in to your life, when do your expenditures on motorcycle related products and services or even the motorcycles themselves, move ahead of other potential choices? The motorcycle industry would love to know, but, whether your attraction to motorcycles is riding related, technology based or just as an investment, the question is, does your attraction to and enthusiasm for motorcycles require any one company? In most cases, the answer is no.
This creates a problem for any management team trying to ramp up sales or build profits in any way they can, they need to find those products, services and activities that keep you coming back generating some sales revenue. Do you see their struggle to survive as important to you in any way beyond a short term pang of sorrow for the displaced employees before moving on to something else? Is there anything truly irreplaceable lost when one company closes its doors?
Many custom builders have dropped out of sight with little fanfare but then Buell was closed and that got the attention of many. Though their fans and customers were passionate, there were evidently not enough of them to keep the company going, at least to the degree that Harley Davidson required. Although many are upset, everyone has moved on, Erik himself has already set up shop at Erik Buell Racing, but Buell Motorcycles is gone. Did it really affect you in any long term way? Are you giving up motorcycles because of it? I wouldn’t think so.
Is any motorcycle company “too big to fail” in the current jargon, or indispensable to you in any way, or are they all just names on a list of companies struggling to keep going while the economy tries to get back on its feet? If another big name company turns out the lights, will you still ride and wrench as you always have? I’m betting you will.
The industry is changing and I truly hope every company is trying to change and adapt with it, not just trying to wait until things get better, waiting until the old days come back. I have a hunch those days are gone, but, and this is important, those of us who ride and wrench are still here, searching for the companies that will provide us with what we want. What company will it be, one of the old guard or some new kid on the block? Which company is most likely to do whatever is necessary to survive and prosper? Will the future motorcycle industry be made up of the same old names or a whole host of new ones, a few major players or many smaller builders. I wonder.