Harley Davidson Marketing & Strategic Management Case Study

The picture provides introductory information about Harley-Davidson.

Did you know that in less than 20 years, Harley-Davidson became the world’s biggest motorcycle maker? The company faced numerous challenges on its way to success, including the Great Depression. A student can take many business lessons from doing the Harley-Davidson case study. Get ready to learn more about this iconic brand!

πŸ’­ Things You Should Know About Harley-Davidson

  1. Harley-Davidson was founded in 1903 by two friends, William Harley and Arthur Davidson. They got together and sold their first motorcycle in the backyard of the Davidson family home.
  2. The theory is that the first Harley-Davidson carburetor was made from a tomato can. The first Harley-Davidson motorcycle had a single-cylinder engine with a top speed of 25 mph.
  3. Harley-Davidson’s leather jackets, boots, and T-shirts are essential to the brand identity and the bikers’ community. However, clothing accounts only for 5% of Harley’s total sales.
  4. Despite its reputation as an icon of American manufacturing, Harley-Davidson also has factories in India and Brazil. During the Great Depression, the company even made copies of its motorcycles in Japan.
  5. Harley-Davidson motorcycles have appeared in countless movies. However, Harley’s first big-screen performance was the 1953 classic The Wild One with Marlon Brando.

πŸ’‘ Harley-Davidson Case Study – Best Ideas

There are a lot of business units that build a well-known brand of Harley-Davidson. Here are some ideas for a top Harley-Davidson case study.

  • The history of Harley-Davidson company.
  • The origin of Harley’s “Hog” nickname.
  • Harley-Davidson’s owners.
  • The production of Harley’s motorcycle engines.
  • E-commerce and online presence.
  • Marketing strategies.
  • Harley-Davidson’s strategic planning.
  • HR practices in Harley-Davidson.
  • Labor practices in Harley-Davidson.
  • The brand culture of Harley-Davidson.
  • Environmental initiatives.
  • Company mission and values.
  • Harley-Davidson’s supply chain.
  • Key competitors of Harley-Davidson.
  • Innovations for motorcycles.
  • Leadership principles.
  • Crisis management strategy.

πŸ—“οΈ Harley-Davidson Organizational Structure – Case Study Idea #1

  1. Harley-Davidson’s organizational structure features
    The organizational structure of Harley-Davidson is based on the company’s current focus on the motorcycle markets. The two critical structural characteristics are centralization and global hierarchy. In simple words, Harley-Davidson’s headquarters are the main control base for the worldwide business.
  2. Harley-Davidson’s function-based groups
    Each Harley-Davidson business group was developed for specific functions in motorcycle manufacturing and sales. The main function-based groups include:
    • The CEO’s office,
    • Human resources,
    • Financial services,
    • The motor company product & operations.
  3. Advantages and disadvantages of Harley-Davidson’s organizational structure
    Harley-Davidson’s corporate system has the advantage of solid control of various business activities. The company can monitor changes in its business performance. However, there is the disadvantage of low flexibility in handling different markets.

πŸ“ˆ Harley-Davidson Marketing – Case Study Idea #2

  1. An overview of Harley-Davidson’s marketing strategy
    The company is the pioneer in motorcycle manufacturing. Harley offers various motorcycles ranging from the street to heavyweight touring motorcycles. The company’s marketing strategy primarily focuses on providing customers with a personalized experience to connect with the brand better.
  2. Customization at Harley-Davidson
    Harley allows customers to modify their motorcycle, a rare feature the company offers. Customization from Harley-Davidson includes a choice of:
    • Colors
    • Wheels
    • Seats
    • Windshields
    • Intakes
  3. Harley’s extensive dealership network
    Currently, Harley-Davidson has in total of 1498 dealerships all over the globe. Most of these dealerships are located in the USA, Canada, and Europe. Recently the company has been focusing on expanding its influence on the Asia-Pacific market.
  4. Harley-Davidson’s “Learn to Ride” program
    Harley-Davidson Riding Academy runs a “Learn to Ride” program. Under this program, the company offers various professional courses, expanding the community. These courses also provide new riders with expert guidance from Harley-Davidson coaches. Non-professional bikers can also join the Harley-Davidson Jumpstart program, where they can ride a real Harley-Davidson motorcycle with the help of a specially designed, stationary support stand.
The picture shows the percentage of sales in H-D clothes segment.

🏒 Harley-Davidson Case Study Strategic Management – Idea #3

  1. Strategic management measures for long-term success in Harley-Davidson
    Harley’s significant strategic management area is maintaining its production of unique, innovative, and handcrafted designs. The company aims to meet all the expectations of the customers. Another strategic measure is to support Harley’s brand image by using all the available resources.
  2. Underlying reasons for Harley-Davidson’s strategic moves
    The most notable characteristic of Harley’s strategic management is improved efficiency and product quality. For example, in 2019, the company claimed about 38.2% of the heavyweight motorcycle market worldwide. However, to expand its sales further, the firm has introduced new lightweight motorcycles for the young generation.
  3. Specific tools used to improve Harley-Davidson’s strategic management
    Harley-Davidson uses political, economic, technological, and environmental analysis to assess the business’s internal and external factors. In addition, the managers regularly analyze various threats and opportunities for sustainable profitability. Finally, Harley-Davidson also applies SWOT analysis to boost its financial performance and long-term sustainability.
  4. The main challenges of Harley-Davidson’s strategic management
    The complexity of Harley-Davidson’s management challenges cannot be addressed using a universal solution, such as a SWOT analysis. While this approach has many advantages, the quality of information used in SWOT represents the opinion of just a few respondents. As a result, some opportunities may be perceived as threats, resulting in the planning and executing of a wrong strategy.

🌳 Harley-Davidson Sustainability – Case Study Idea #4

  1. Harley-Davidson’s environmental sustainability
    One of Harley-Davidson’s long-term strategic objectives is to form its business without growing its environmental impact. The company aims to reduce its environmental impact across all aspects of the business. For example, by 2027, Harley promises to reduce the energy intensity of its global manufacturing operations and deliver a portfolio of electric two-wheel vehicles.
  2. Harley-Davidson’s social responsibility
    Harley-Davidson’s social impact is defined by how the company treats employees, customers, communities, and society. Harley-Davidson takes a holistic approach to employee well-being, including health and safety, workplace diversity, employee training, and development.
  3. Harley-Davidson’s corporate governance
    The Harley-Davidson board of directors unites leaders from various industries who meet regularly to review company objectives. Harley’s board of directors believes that strong shareholder rights are essential. Harley-Davidson promotes fairness, financial transparency, and accountability to all shareholders.
  4. How Harley-Davidson engages its staff to implement the sustainability plans
    The company’s employees are engaged in driving sustainability priorities through training and education. Harley gradually builds sustainability into the manufacturing operating system and focuses on safe energy consumption. The company is building a more sustainable mindset for both employees and customers.
The picture provides an example of one of Harley's sustainability goals.

❓ More Harley-Davidson Case Study Questions and Answers

How is Harley-Davidson socially responsible?

Harley-Davidson has a Safe Rider program, which helps drivers travel safely and avoid vehicle accidents or damage. This program covers braking, turning, and maneuvering. It allows the riders to become more skilled and increase road safety.

What is Harley-Davidson’s industry-level strategy?

Harley Davidson motorcycles stand for authenticity, independence, and passion for being on the open road. A distinct promotional strategy and branding have helped Harley Davidson create a strong customer pull.

What does Harley-Davidson sponsor?

Harley-Davidson has been providing sponsorship for the Formula 1 electric category before releasing its first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire. Harley Davidson has proven its efforts and support for innovation in the segment by sponsoring Formula E.

Is Harley-Davidson ethical?

Harley-Davidson has created an ethical business that follows a clear code. The company code consists of these significant points: tell the truth, keep your promises, respect the individual, and encourage intellectual curiosity.

✍️ More Harley-Davidson Case Study Ideas

  1. Harley-Davidson’s strategic analysis.
  2. Harley-Davidson’s customer-focused supply chain.
  3. Organizational culture of Harley-Davidson.
  4. The influence of Harley-Davidson on the motorcycle industry.
  5. Harley-Davidson’s way to success.
  6. Harley-Davidson’s marketing strategy.
  7. Harley-Davidson and social responsibility.
  8. SWOT analysis of Harley-Davidson.
  9. Harley-Davidson’s market outside the US.
  10. Harley-Davidson vs. Honda: business strategies.
  11. Financial analysis of Harley-Davidson.
  12. Marketing strategies in Harley-Davidson.
  13. Harley-Davidson’s company challenges.
  14. Leadership styles on Harley-Davidson.
  15. Global strategy at Harley-Davidson.
  16. The importance of innovation at Harley-Davidson.
  17. Harley-Davidson’s business evaluation.
  18. Conspiracy theories around Harley-Davidson.
  19. The importance of brand image for Harley-Davidson.
  20. Harley-Davidson’s manufacturing and product costs.
  21. The strengths and weaknesses of Harley-Davidson.
  22. Harley-Davidson’s production processes.
  23. Operations management at Harley-Davidson.
  24. Harley-Davidson’s distribution channels.
  25. Harley-Davidson’s key market competitors.
  26. Employment and internships in Harley-Davidsons.
  27. Consumers’ loyalty to Harley-Davidson.
  28. The advertisements for Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles.
  29. The analysis of the motorcycle industry in the US.
  30. The evolution of Harley-Davidson over the years.


  1. The Great Depression
  2. What is the Meaning of Organizational Structure?
  3. Strategic Management: Definition, Purpose, Example
  4. SWOT Analysis
  5. 2019 Harley-Davison Sustainability Report – investor.harley-davison
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