Open Letter to Erik Buell and Jon Flickinger

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