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Harley-Davidson in 2004
John E. Gamble University of South Alabama Roger Schäfer University of South Alabama
arley-Davidson’s management had much to be proud of as the company wrapped up its Open Road Tour centennial celebration, which began in July 2002 in Atlanta, Georgia, and ended on the 2003 Memorial Day Weekend in Harley’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 14-month Open Road Tour was a tremendous success, drawing large crowds of Harley owners in each of its ﬁve stops in North America and additional stops in Australia, Japan, Spain, and Germany. Each stop along the tour included exhibits of historic motorcycles, performances by dozens of bands as diverse as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Earl Scruggs, and Nickelback, and brought hundreds of thousands of Harley enthusiasts together to celebrate the company’s products. The Ride Home ﬁnale brought 700 000 biker-guests from four points in the United States to Milwaukee for a four-day party that included concerts, factory tours, and a parade of 10 000 motorcycles through downtown Milwaukee. The company also used the Open Road Tour as a platform for its support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), raising $7 million for the MDA during the 14-month tour. Photos from the Open Road Tour and Harley’s new V-Rod model are presented in Exhibit 1. Harley-Davidson’s centennial year was also a year to remember for the company’s being named to Fortune’s annual list “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” and judged third in automotive quality behind Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz by Harris Interactive, a worldwide market research and consulting ﬁrm best known for the Harris Poll. Consumer loyalty to Harley-Davidson motorcycles was unmatched by almost any other company. As a Canadian Harley dealer explained, “You know you’ve got strong brand loyalty when your customers tattoo your logo on their arm.”1 The company’s revenues had grown at a compound annual rate of 16.6 per cent since 1994 to reach $4.6 billion in...
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