Thursday, August 29, 2013

Harley Davidson: Please help out! America needs you!

That's right, America needs Harley Davidson!  Not because we're all going to need a bike in the next year or so, and not because Harley is the backbone of US manufacturing.  But because of what Harley Davidson stands for: Made in the USA American pride.  Yankee ingenuity, American industry, and the American worker.

And there's a good reason.  Harley was battered and beaten down by foreign competition in the sixties, seventies, and early eighties and was in danger of going under for good.  The story of their decline and resurgence (they control 57% of the US motorcycle market.  Not just cruisers, not just 1000cc+ bikes, but the entire market) is the stuff of legends.  They kept the candle burning for the American motorcycle industry while literally all of the rest had gone under by the end of the 1950s.  Indian, America's oldest manufacturer by two years was one of the last to go, dying out in 1953 and the name purchased by a succession of foreign and domestic owners and affixed to British, Italian, and Taiwanese bikes, and later to American built limited production bikes so expensive that they had no impact whatsoever on the market.

Harley, on the other hand, weathered it all, and was supported precisely because they were American.  Even during the AMF years when their product was inferior, they were supported because they were American.  When they took the company back from AMF and built new bikes, people gave them the chance because they were American.  People also recommended buyinng your motorclothes there.  Why?  Because they were American.

But somewhere along the line, something changed.  The bikes are still proudly made in Milwaukee, but the huge selection of motorclothes that Harley Davidson sells is made in China.  When our garment industry is in literal tatters, how do you justify this, Harley Davidson?  Remember when you were supported just for being American?  And not just by customers, but also by the federal government? 

Please, Harley Davidson, I ask that you use only USA supliers for your motorclothes and accessories.  Your brand is proof that American industry can not only come back, but it can come back and dominate!  Once you had reorganized, you asked that the government lift the protections that they had extended to you.  That was awesome!  Unprecedented! 

Which brings me back to my original statement.  America needs you.  Your example stands as a beacon of hope to other industries in our great country.  Everyone wants a little something Harley Davidson.  We love your clothes and T-shirts, even when we aren't riders.  We love seeing Arnold on a Fat Boy in T2.  Forget that Yamaha in T1!  We collectively love your bikes and your style.  Your motorclothes are not cheap.  In fact, you tend to be on the pricy side.  If it's made in the USA, it's well worth it.  But when the denim riding vest I bought has a "Made in China" label on the inside and your four hundred dollar jackets have the same, I must tell you that I'll stop after the vest and get my jackets and other garments elsewhere.

So bring it back!  Make your motorclothes in the same country you build your bikes; ours. 

Ride free and true!

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