Dealer Report

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By robroycuz
November 13, 2001

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Saw the previous thread regarding Chicago Harley-Davidson. I didn't get around to calling them but I did visit another dealer yesterday, which I will explain after a long intro.

Sometime in early August, I took my family on vacation around Lake Michigan. On the way down the lake through WI, we were to stop in Milwaukee at Sprecher's Brewery for a tour (they brew root beer there too). Unfortunately, due to traffic, we missed the tour so we tried to divert to Miller for a tour. Unfortunately again, there were a gazillion people waiting when we got there and didn't get to tour. I told my kids we would come back some other time.

Yesterday was the "some other time". Kids were off school, I took off work and we went. Sprecher's tour was 4:00 PM, which was too late as my daughter needed to be back for V-ball playoffs so we went to Miller instead (first come - first served). Very few people waiting - mostly a bunch of college kids from NC. I accused them of doing anything for free beer and asked how many tours they had hit today.

The tour was good and the guide was very good. She obviously had pride in her company, which I complimented her on. I also mentioned that I was a bona fide shareholder in BUD. Tongue-in-cheek, she mentioned that we do not mention the B word, nor do we mention frogs, lizards, Clydesdales or Whassup! Otherwise, she would have Security remove me.

Anyway, for those of you who don't know, H-D Corporate is right across the street from Miller. Miller and H-D have a relationship. The Capitol Drive engine plant is not too far away but they don't allow anyone under 12 on their tour and tours are now suspended due to security concerns.

Sooooo, we stopped at House of H-D (a dealer) on the way home. I talked with the Sales Manager regarding issues like sales, financing (rates), etc. Here are his comments:

Sales are great. They have bikes in stock (although they were moved out next door for some pet show Sunday - don't ask). The sole reason they have bikes is that production is up and they're getting more bikes. H-D's year is from Aug. - Aug. As of July 31st, the dealer had their best year ever in 27 years. At this point in the fiscal year, even accounting for 9/11 (which basically shut down sales for at least two weeks) projected sales are outpacing last year. House of H-D sells at MSRP + $650.

The manager basically didn't answer my comment about the financing rates. He indicated that Phase II bikes (Jan/Feb/Mar) were all sold out. If he has any in stock come that time frame, it would be from whatever he has in stock right now. He mentioned they implemented Rider's Edge last year and, without any PR or advertising whatsoever, sold out every last slot at $295. And literally 50% of the slots were women. He has another 134 slots slated for spring and they are all taken.

The manager feels unless the economy absolutely tanks, sales will remain high, at least through the end of 2003. At that point, no one knows what will happen. They will get 25 V-Rods this year although they have not received one yet (he thinks early Dec.). He claims that A-B came to them asking for a V-Rod to be given away at the Super Bowl because H-D Corporate wouldn't give them one (see my comment earlier regarding the relationship between Miller and H-D).

This is all from memory so the details may be blurry, especially after the free samples at Miller (I actually got them to give me extra samples of the Leinie's Honey Weiss and Creamy Dark. I choked down the High Life and Lite like a trooper. They didn't have any Bud brands available :)