By Rajesh Kumar Singh
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc has decided the best way to get younger customers to buy a new motorcycle is to sell them a used one first.
The Milwaukee-based company plans to roll out a certified pre-owned bike program, known as H-D Certified, adapting a strategy carmakers have been following for years to position well-tended used vehicles as a substitute for low-margin, “entry-level” new models.
Harley’s embrace of used bikes is part of a new five-year turnaround strategy under Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz, and is the latest effort to expand the brand’s appeal beyond middle-aged and affluent riders.
The 118-year-old American brand has been steadily losing U.S. market share amid declining retail sales for six years. (For a graphic on Harley’s U.S. market share, click https://graphics.reuters.com/HARLEYDAVIDSON-USEDBIKES/dgkvlzonjvb )
But the demand for used Harleys, which are less expensive, has remained strong. Some dealers told Reuters that pre-owned