Harley Davidson, as a producer of motorcycles, competes as part of the “Recreational Vehicles” industry. Winnebago, Polaris, Thor, Arctic Cat, and Marine Products are just some of the companies that also compete under Recreational Vehicles, but these companies dominate the industry comprising of 92% of the market share. These 5 companies specialize in manufacturing boats, jet skis, snow mobiles, and terrain vehicles such as four-wheelers, Polaris being the only company that even produces a motorcycle. Although Harley is categorized as competing in the recreational vehicle industry, it is more logical to compare Harley to its direct product competition. This direct product competition consists of four major competitors, including Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Honda. Compared to Harley Davidson, who specializes in producing heavyweight motorcycles, the four Japanese competitors manufacture a wide array of motorcycles from lightweight to heavyweight, in addition to other products such as cars, watercraft, and music equipment. This enables them to appeal to a wider customer base, while Harley solely relies on the sales of its heavyweight bikes. Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Honda used their brand image from their other products to break into the motorcycle industry and gain market share. The Japanese companies’ success in the heavyweight motorcycle industry began with copying other products, such as Harley Davidson’s designs and look, but produced with cheaper inputs and an overall quality inferior to that of a Harley Davidson. Over the years they have been able to improve their quality, innovative designs, technology and a cheaper price, but they have been unable to compete with Harley’s brand image. It is this brand image, this aura, of owning a Harley Davidson that has enabled them to dominate sales in the United States holding a 53.3% heavyweight market share in 2009, an 8% increase from 2008, as well as 39% of Canadian...
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