Go Back to Get Back: Automakers Could Follow Harley's Lead

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This image was lost some time after publication.

One could argue Harley-Davidson has been successful of late despite an approach to technology that's in opposition to that of the motorcycle industry at large. That is, they do what they've always done — build the best bikes 1960 can offer. While others hire up all the lab-coated wonders they can find, and point them toward a technological Oz, Harley keeps on building the same old old iron and selling it at astonishingly high profit margins. Sure, they're using a portion of the spoils to address that technology divide, but its best sellers are still its simplest machines. Thomas Bernard, writing for The Truth About Cars says US automakers should learn how to stop hating themselves for being behind the tech curve (in the showroom, if not in their R&D centers) and embrace a kind of lovable simplicity. Could it work? Is it already working?


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How about Detroit putting a sticker price on their cars that accurately reflects the value of the car? How many times have we all read a comparison of several vehicles of the same "class" and similarly "priced" where one of the non-detroit manufacturers wins? Would we expect the results to come out the same if "real" prices were involved? The thing is Detroit is in love with pricing cars with the rebates and hold-backs and other incentives built it. They continue to believe that it works for them and not against them. The truth is that when we see a Best car for $25k comparison, the $20k Detroit machine always loses to the $25k Toyota or Honda. It is not complex calculus to see that a car with $5k less content is perceived to have a cheap interior, rougher powertrain, and overall to be ranked lower than a higher content competitor.