While not being fully involved in the American motorcycle market, and therefore escaping the deep patriotism that seems to go with that territory, we can’t comment on all the goings-on in the Harley-Davidson/Buell saga.
What we can say, from our perspective on how things panned out, is that it seems for some reason Erik Buell was like a thorn in the Harley side and so for whatever reason, perhaps because having a brilliant sidekick is not for everyone, HD got rid of its extra brand.
Or rather, they got rid of the person behind the brand and kept some other tidbits for themselves.
On Erik Buell being interviewed by Motorcyclist Magazine, the guys at Kneeslider reveal that Harley Davidson did keep quite a few things from the Buell brand, and a large part of that is the name.
What’s in a name? You might think not a lot if Erik Buell manages to make a new brand and we all know the guy and how good he is, so what’s it matter.
But quite a lot really if you consider that Harley Davidson has license to the Buell name, allowing Erik to make and sell race bikes under that brand until December 21st.
After which it’s anyone’s guess what will happen with the name.
We don’t think it’s exaggerated to underestimate the importance of this brand and its name – it is, after all, inextricably linked to the man who made it.
Erik seems to have the right attitude to moving forward though – he has left behind some honest comments about what happened, but hasn’t dwelt on any hard feelings he might have.
But it’s got to be disappointing when your very own name which you gave to your brand, is no longer yours.
Harley Davidson also kept other rights to some things from the Buell portfolio, too.
More after the jump.
One example of an extra thing they kept was the Barracuda 2 street bike and the rights to it.
Erik Buell is still working on that bike and wants to go to back to producing street bikes in the future, but it will have to have various modifications made to it as it’s no longer his.
We wonder what other kind of intellectual property was left in HD coffers.
From a purely business point of view, Harley Davidson has the prerogative to sell what it wants and keep what it wants based on its past investment, what makes money and future business plans if any.
But the way things have been done begs the questions: if Harley has kept some rights to the brand and some motorcycles, could Buell have been profitable? If so, why was it cast off in the way it was? In the future, will Harley do anything with the Buell brand and the associated rights and licenses it has retained?And on the softer side of things, while Harley has the right within the rules and ethics of business practice to do what it thinks is best, we wonder if they’re comfortable with how things panned out, and whether the guys with lesser money shouldn’t still have equal bargaining power in these kinds of things.
Erik Buell recently claimed that he’s not just an engineer and that he understands how a business works and can makes things profitable.
We guess he’s probably learned a tough lesson from his dealings with Harley but it looks like you can’t keep him down, so here’s to his spirit of soldiering on, whatever his bikes will be called in the future.
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