Dear Erik Buell and Jon Flickinger,
Right now it is difficult to find the words to speak that will accurately sum up my shock, anger and disgust at Harley-Davidson’s announcement this morning.
I had always hoped that Harley management would one day learn what I saw first hand – that while Harley may have a larger market share and a longer heritage, the future of building quality motorcycles efficiently and productively belonged to Buell.
The PDQ approach, the Elvis tracking methodology and the exceptionally short development-to-market period was undoubteldy the best way to build a motorcycle in the 21st century – unless you think like the automobile industry. I’m also struck by the odd fact that they are attempting to sell MV Agusta while instead shutting the doors at Buell.
I am tremendously saddened that Buell has fallen victim as Harley-Davidson continues to operate backward. Instead of working to strengthen their core brands through best practice improvements that are already a way of life at Buell (thereby enhancing the long-term security of The Motor Company), it has instead elected to do what it has been doing for the last decade – managing its stock price.
However, I must say that the Motor Company’s current Board of Directors and I differ only slightly on one key point. With the current mentality at the controls, it won’t be long before Harley-Davidson returns to its previous state. Our difference? They picture it as being the Harley-Davidson of 1999, but I know it will be the AMF of 1979.
I wish you all the best as you move forward. If there is anything I can do to assist any of you (including providing you a sounding board on our nationally-syndicated radio show) all you need to do is ask.
Todd B. Wilson
The Motorcycle Radio Network