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Can ATK Cruisers Help Harley-Davidson?

Thursday, October 28, 2010
ATK wants to offer its line of motorcycles  like the ATK 700 Cruiser  in about 20  of Harley-Davidson dealerships.
ATK Motorcycles recently entered into an arrangement with S&T Motors and wants to offer its line of cruiser and street motorcycles, like the ATK 700 Cruiser, in Harley-Davidson dealerships to help them fill the entry-level niche and to bring people into their shops.  
The ATK 700 Cruiser is poised for its run down the Salt at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials.
It’s no secret that Harley-Davidson has been struggling. Sales are sagging, down 13.4% through three quarters this year alone while 2009 was even worse with a 21.4% decline. The Motor Company had to rely on a $300 million lifeline at a 15% interest rate from Warren Buffet last year to help stay afloat. Workers’ wages have been frozen, jobs have been cut, and threats of factory closings have taken a toll on its popularity, as has the closing of its subsidiary, Buell Motorcycles. Its demographic is getting older, with a buyer’s average age at 49 years old according to a report by The New York Times (Harley, You’re Not Getting any Younger). The need to attract a younger demographic is immediate. Could a lifeline for The Motor Company be an entry-level motorcycle made in Korea and sold under the badge of American manufacturer ATK?

ATK Motorcycles out of Centerville, Utah, a co-member of the United States Motorcycle Manufacturers Association along with Harley-Davidson, recently signed a multi-year contract with S&T Motors of Korea to bring 33,000 units to the American market with displacements ranging from 250cc to 680cc over the next four years. This is a big departure from the norm for ATK, which forged its reputation in the off-road realm. But according to ATK’s President and CEO Frank White, dirt bike sales are off over 80%, so it too is seeking new avenues to generate revenue. Now it is prepared to enter the street market with a lineup consisting of four small displacement carry-over Hyosung motorcycles in addition to a 700cc V-Twin cruiser it recently unveiled on the Bonneville Salt during the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials. ATK’s new partner, S&T Motors, is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Korea who has been producing Hyosung motorcycles since acquiring the brand in 2007. The catch is, ATK wants to sell its bikes in select Harley-Davidson dealerships.
“We want to be the second American brand in a Harley shop. We don’t want to compete with anything Harley does, we just want to go for new and younger customers. There’s a real need there,” White said in a recent interview.

ATK brought its lineup of cruiser and street motorcycles to the Salt for the 2010 BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials.
ATK brought its lineup of cruiser and street motorcycles to the Salt for the 2010 BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials.
Through friends like the former head of the Harley Dealer Association and ATK partner, Malcolm Zanca, and via relationships established with some of the heavyweight Harley-Davidson dealers, ATK is looking to distribute its motorcycles in about 20% of Harley-Davidson dealerships. ATK realizes this business model will not work for all Harley dealers but wants to focus its efforts on the “best of the best.” Currently H-D has approximately 795 U.S. dealerships.

“We don’t want to be in every one. It wouldn’t work for them and it wouldn’t work for us,” White stated.

ATK insists it is not looking to compete directly with Harley-Davidson but is trying to provide “a staircase of entry level motorcycles to cultivate future Harley riders” and to do what’s best for the dealer and consumer. As of August 2010, ATK has shipped its brand of street motorcycles to seven Harley dealerships as demo models across the USA with many more claimed to be ready to take products once it receives EPA and CARB approval. ATK says it has been transparent with The Motor Company in respect to their interactions with its dealers, but Harley-Davidson in no way endorses the plan.

“We know they can’t endorse us. One, their legal department would be all over it if we did anything different and the second thing is, if they endorsed us, they’d have other issues to deal with,” White said.

But Harley-Davidson can’t prevent its dealers from selling more than one line of motorcycles.

Respected motojournalist Alan Cathcart talks with S Ts Jimmy Park and ATK CEO Frank White at Bonneville.
Respected motojournalist Alan Cathcart talks shop with S&T's Jimmy Park and ATK CEO Frank White at Bonneville. Later on, Park would test out the Salt himself before gearing up for a 100-plus mph run on the ATK 700 Cruiser.
Go  Jimmy Go. S Ts Jimmy Park gets a feel for the Salt before gearing up for a 100-plus mile run on a 700 Cruiser.
“Harley dealers can sell any brand they want. I was told by one of Harley’s former VPs that’s involved with us that Harley can’t limit the dealerships to just Harleys, because that would be against some free trade laws, but I’m no lawyer,” White continued.

ATK’s CEO points out what Toyota did with the Scion brand as an analogy to what he’s trying to accomplish. Scion is a marque of Toyota that spawned from a project to attract younger buyers to Toyota in the U.S. market. The intended target of ATK is the “echo boomers,” or children of the baby boomers looking to get a start in motorcycling.

In regards to that market, White said it was announced at the recent Harley-Davidson dealer meeting in Las Vegas that The Motor Company is going to come out with an entry-level bike in three years and since then reported rumors place that price tag at $60 million dollars. Motorcycle USA wonders though, in three years, how many H-D dealers potentially will be belly-up?

The ATK motorcycles for sale in 2011 are rebadged Hyosungs, but in 2012, updates will be made and they will begin to be assembled in Utah. S&T will still be supplying components but American-made parts will be incorporated into the motorcycles. ATK intends to keep making the brand better, starting with basics like revised instrument clusters, exhausts, brakes, and wheels as every year ATK wants the motorcycles to become more of their own. After the street bikes start selling, ATK intends to branch off into other products like an electric bike. In the future, ATK would like to combine resources with an electric vehicle(EV) manufacturer to design, engineer and manufacture an EV motorcycle.

ATK Motorcycles recently headed to the Salt Flats of Bonneville in its home state of Utah to unveil its 700cc V-Twin Cruiser at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials. S&T’s Chief Operating
Besides running ATK  Frank White is also an avid rider. White catches some air while competing in a 2008 desert race in Nevada.
ATK has been in the business of making off-road motorcycles since 1984. Frank White, above, is much more than a CEO. He is also an accomplished rider, winning races like the National AMA ISDE 6-Day Open Expert Class aboard a 500 ATK Enduro.
Officer, Jimmy Park, got an opportunity to ride the liquid-cooled ATK 700 Cruiser on the Salt, surpassing 100 mph on both passes. Other models ATK will be marketing in 2011 include a Honda Rebel-like 250 V-Twin Cruiser with an air/oil cooled 75-degree V-Twin with DOHC and a constant mesh five-speed transmission. The 2011 250 V-Twin Street will be powered by the same V-Twin engine but is a more sport-oriented standard. ATK will also be selling a 2011 650 V-Twin Cruiser, which is styled similar to an old V-Rod and will source a liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-Twin with DOHC. The same powerplant will also be used in the 2011 650 V-Twin Sport equipped with sportbike fairings, a constant mesh six-speed transmission and a claimed wet weight of 474 pounds. ATK’s 2011 250s will cost $3,995 while the 650s are listed at $6,995.

Despite ATK’s stated intentions to attract new and younger riders into H-D dealerships, White made it clear that “Neither the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, or its affiliates, either endorse or support ATK in any way.”

Harley-Davidson’s Product Communications/ Project
The 2011 650 V-Twin Sport  foreground  sources a 90-degree V-Twin with DOHC mated to a constant mesh six-speed transmission.
ATK's 2011 650 V-Twin Sport, foreground, sources a 90-degree V-Twin with DOHC mated to a constant mesh six-speed transmission.
Manager, Jen Gruber, had this to say about the proposal.

“As for ATK, we do not comment on our competitors' motorcycles or their marketing plans. But I will say we continue to believe that the best Harley-Davidson customer experience is provided by focused, single-line Harley-Davidson dealers. You should also know that according to U.S. R.L. Polk registrations, Harley-Davidson took over as the top-selling brand in the U.S. in sales of new street motorcycles (all cc engines) to young adults 18-34 in 2008. And in 2009, we extended that lead over the next nearest competitor.”
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Woody101088   February 22, 2011 06:57 AM
I like reading these comments and every so often I see "Korean Crap" describing the ATK's line up. I can personally tell you that the Hyosung engine is pretty much bullet proof. I ride a 2007 Hyosung GT250R with 20K on it. I have never had an issue with the bike besides the girl friend. I am constantly running the bike hard, doing over 100MPH (on GPS) so I made sure it was accurate. There is no doubt in my mind ATK's products will last. How ever making the point of HD salesmen not wanting to sell the bikes I have to agree with. I go the local Harley dealership with my friends all the time since they all ride Harley's and I constantly get mocked and told to buy a real bike. I always ask "define a real bike" They say "loud, powerful, and chrome"...
Passing Thru -Sick of HD  November 7, 2010 07:10 AM
I am so sick of Harley anything. I have to put up with the Harley guys all summer running around with out a muffler and dressed up like the Village People. Maybe some to the animosity towards the HD brand is just that people are sick of the noise. Harley promotes this because it is a means to sell there dated motorcycles. It has been noted in a prior post that if there was a ban on loud exhaust it would all but put HD into bankruptcy as I must agree that 90% of there bikes are sold with a loud muffler installed the same or next day. These people think that this is neat to ride around making a lot of noise and dressed like an idiot. This is the reason that many cities are passing a motor vehicle noise ordinance where every motor vehicle, not just motorcycles, must have original equipment exhaust. California just passed such a law that goes into effect in 2013. My community passed an ordinance last fall that goes into effect January 1, 2011. The motorcycle community is crying foul but it is too late. I suspect that will have a huge dent in the local Harley dealers sales so maybe he will like the ATK lineup because he will surly loose HD sales.
DRMANIA -What's with all the HD responses?  November 6, 2010 02:33 PM
For god sake, people, this article is about ATK, HD is only a side note of the subject. All these "arguments" about HD are really gettin old. As for Mr. White, I appreciate your reply here and glad to see that u guys know the "power" of the web in our times. I also appreciate the will to initiate a program to bring more people to ride, and I'm sure it is not an easy thing to achieve by anyway. Same for manufacturing in the U.S.A. But...it's just look too much as a simple attemt to make a few bucks,the "easy way" (as said, I'm sure it is not literally easy). Here comes a brand like ATK, who was considered as one of the more innovative dirt bike brands in the WORLD, a brand that used quality parts for their bikes (like Acerbis plastics, long before it became such a mainstream producer for OEM's), and instead of bringing this brand back with new R&D and spirit, use the name for very average line of motorcycles, while trying to save on marketing and reltionship with future customers through HD back door...I would really, really would like to see a statement that proved this to be more than a marketing gamble. I understand that you guys need to start pretty much from scartch (allot of people never heard about ATK, even in the modern dirt bike arena), but is that the best way? U want to revive a name, build a brand, bring people to ride...take a look at Triumph, take a look at KTM, or even Beta. U upgrade yourself, and u read carefully what the crowd has to say about. Yes, u need a bigger financial back to do that, maybe more time. Seems to me that the spirit and "balls powder" is there, just the GPS is out of batteries :) Maybe I am wrong, but I think ATK, Buell, and a few other American brands could have lift themselves to great heights if would work outside of the HD mythology. Good luck anyway!
george b -korea???  November 6, 2010 02:23 PM
Korea has some of the worst trade laws ask Ford about it.They can import dozens of cars to us yet we can only send them a few and tell me buell couldn't have designed an entry level bike.H.D. never!!!!
led sled -If that's what you want  November 5, 2010 05:08 PM
H-D is what it is. A coolass, big chunk of heavy stuff. Performance be damned! I'd like one myself, if I already had every other bike I want.
Jakester33 -Made in USA?  November 5, 2010 06:41 AM
I really feel sorry for anyone that is foolish enough to sucker for a Harley. Most of the parts for a Harley are not made in the good old USA. A Harley is assembled in the USA and that is about it. The parts come from overseas and if you do not believe me just check it out. HD has been pushing this made in USA carp for too long. HD should spend some money and improve there aging lineup. I am not interested in riding a overweight and underpowered and dated technology and over priced motorcycle. The dealers are a bunch of idiots. They seem to cater to the long hair tattooed and over 60 crowd. I am in my 30's and I would not ride a Harley if it was the last bike in the world. I do not want to be associated with the current moronic Harley riders with there loud exhaust and tall handle bars. I also agree that the crotch rocket riders with there idiotic riding behavior is just as bad as the Harley guys with there straight pipes showing off.
Diver -jeremy sandrei - Harley is not dead but alive and kicking!!!  November 4, 2010 01:51 PM
Jeremy all I can say it that you are one of the mindless crotch rocket idiots that think it is cool doing wheelies down the freeway in traffic. You give us real bikers a bad name. I see more wrecked/broke down crotch rockets than I see cruisers. AS most bikers know, whether you are buying your 1st or just another Harley you have just upgraded your status to someone that knows a 1st rate AMERICAN MADE Motorcycle. Not one put together from parts from foreign companies. Buy American or just stay of the streets.
Kenny -Off the Point  November 4, 2010 01:12 PM
Wow! Is everyone off the point of the article? ATK is trying to do something. At least one American company is trying something in this economy! Name another American company who is trying to lure first time riders into dealerships.

Oh, and for all of you HD or nothing guys, some of the best HD dealers sell metric bikes. Simple economics states you need to diversify to continually prosper. The old saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket" applies here. Honda's might not be flying off the shelf, but they make more motorized products than anyone else and no bailouts there! I agree, I would love to buy American if there were a product for me, but until they do, my money goes to where it best serves me and my family.
Been There -American Made is BS  November 4, 2010 04:54 AM
American made my ass - I picked up a carb for my buddies Harley at the local HD dealer and the package stated that it was made in Japan. He has 3 Harley's and they are all nothing but trouble. He keeps a baking pan under them in his garage so the oil leaking from the motors will not stain his floor and I will not let him park any of them in my driveway as they leak oil like crazy. He would love to sell them but there is no market for a used Harley. The papers are full of them and all for a very cheap price. I was interested in a Buell a few years ago and I went to 2 different dealers to test ride one. When the salesman at both dealers found out I was interested in a Buell they disappeared real quick. HD made a huge mistake by shutting down Buell. There management knows nothing about motorcycles and seems to only care about selling all the HD branded crap. There motorcycle line is so hopelessly outdated that HD would have to start from scratch to bring out a new modern motorcycle. HD should at least use the V rod motor in all there bikes but that would not work as the Harley morons would not buy the bikes as the Porsche designed V rod motor does not sound "cool" without a muffler. The national trend is to ban loud exhaust as it is in my community - thank God. When that happens HD will be out of business as the only real reason the morons who buy a Harley is because they think they look cool riding down the street making a lot of noise. That seems to be the only real thing that a Harley is good for - making a lot of noise. Everything else the competition has Harley beat hands down. Just because a small percentage of a Harley is made in the US is no reason for me to have to buy a inferior motorcycle.
lmao -ha,ha,ha god bless american GREED  November 3, 2010 05:47 PM
Wow so you made a American sport bike,just to scrap the program after they started using a better non-Harley motor. Now your going to sell Korean bikes? Now i get it,just more profit for you fat Bast****
Randall Brown -Build a new bike  November 3, 2010 03:12 PM
no way harley davidson, build yourself a super new bike , dont allow a different bike company on your showroom floors , you just need to change your former bikes ,or build another bike or bikes and stick to harley , american made , harley all the way
Tourer -ATK will not work  November 3, 2010 11:56 AM
It looks like some Hardly dealers will do anything to boost there sagging whale sales. I really doubt this crap will sell as the typical Hardly dealer is geared to selling Hardly aftermarket junk and the ATK does not fit this picture. It will go the way of the Buell with the dealers sales staff ignoring them. Hardly dealers are more interested in selling the shirts, belt buckles and other Hardly named crap than actually selling a motorcycle. There is more profit in the pirate outfits and loud exhaust systems than a bike. I really doubt this is a workable idea in a Hardly dealership. Hardly sales are down and will continue until the company gets smart and decides to actually do some R&R and build a new bike. I am not interested in a 1950's bike. We really get a laugh at the Hardly riders coming down the street with there legs spread out in front of them and the 3 foot handle bars. Man those bikes are dated....
Ezekiel -Buying American  November 3, 2010 06:06 AM
Buying American, I agree with this statement very much it is in my opinion one of the major problems are economy faces, it used to be if it wasn't made here you just didn't buy it, and other countries wanted our products not vice versa, I went to a HD Dealer Oct last year to buy a XR1200 , my credit sucks and at $300 a month I wasn't willing to buy a motorcycle at a car budget, I left with a used Buell XB12Ss , I LOVE THIS BIKE , yes it has drawbacks, yes it's not the track bike you see in AMA or MotoGP , but this bike performs well for what is was designed to do I feel the XR1200 would perform almost as well of course some of the ideas were taken from the buell concept. Sadley enough my bike is no longer made and getting parts for it is becoming increasingly difficult Harley would have my business for some time if the produced somthing other than cruisers I like to hit the turns faster than 35mph, the XR fits the bill for a small standard but then there is nothing else. Selling a Koren bike( which hasn't had great sales) at an American product dealership is not a good idea, HD has as a manufacturer all the potential of filling the gap for first time buyers, they just need to realize a company needs to evolve with it's market, and some people ride to ride not join the club. My only gripe about HD dealers and my buell is the $700 for the 10 k service.
Ron -question  November 2, 2010 06:38 PM
In order for the bikes to provide “a staircase of entry level motorcycles to cultivate future Harley riders”, will the ATK/Hyosungs shake themselves to pieces like the real HDs? Will they come with a pre-installed oil leak? Might as well get the future Harley riders used to the realities of HD ownership. Lighten up, it's just a joke.
HDtraveller57 -serious doubts  November 2, 2010 04:36 PM
I fit into Harley's target market being 52 years old and having owned various makes and sizes of motorcycles for 40+ years. The last one being a 2000 Electra Glide that I had to sell last year to pay the final year of college tuition for my youngest kid. I plan to purchase another bike next year. I haven't decided yet whether it will be another HD or not but it most certainly won't be a brand new one. I have two concerns about the ATK proposal. Firstly, the Korean Won($) has been rising for over six months due to Korea's accelerating inflation against a weakening US Dollar that very likely will continue to slide as the Fed prints more dollars to hold up the economy. The cost of Korean-made products will likely continue to rise against the dollar in the foreseeable future. Secondly, I have to agree with some of the previous comments (albiet poorly stated by an obviously biased and overly opinionated vocal minority) regarding the fact that this move would further alienate the core HD customer base. To win them over, any "new" product introduced into HD dealerships should be made by a company similarly steeped in heritage and bringing along it's own established and loyal customer base. No matter how good a product the Korean-made Hyosungs might be, I'm afraid the general perception will be that it is simply a re-badged, cheaply-made, American-styled knock-off...which is mostly true. Not to mention the fact that trying to bring the HD and "metric" crowd together under one roof is akin to mixing oil and water. HD needs to think outside the box and get people back into the dealerships. Maybe something totally new like getting back into the mini-bike and dirtbike market (most HD riders have kids/grandkids), re-badging Kubota side-by-side 4x4's already being made in Gainsville, GA or even conducting shop classes at night...hell, have a class build a bike and then auction it off when it's done...high schools do it. I'm sure HD has some very smart people thinking up all sorts of new things to try but the ATK-badged Hyosung seems to have too many negatives to overcome at the onset to be a viable option.
Jose L Sanchez Gil -Marketing plans  November 2, 2010 04:20 PM
ATK selling their motorcycle line at Harley-Davidson dealerships?
That is an interesting marketing plan. Will it work? It might in certain parts of country. Not sure it will work in areas that have established dealerships selling small bore motorcycles from other known brands. Such brands as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. Unless ATK’s prices are well below the Japanese small bore motorcycles, it will be hard to convince anyone to purchase an unknown brand at the same price as the established Japanese brands.
If I was a young guy looking to purchase my first motorcycle. I would walk right pass a new bike and go straight to the used motorcycles market. So, I am not too sure that this marketing plan is going to produce the results that ATK and the H-D dealerships hope for.
As for some of the responses on this forum, concerning H-Ds outdated bikes. They may be outdated in some respects, but they don’t lack other brands attempting to imitate the H-D look and sound.
Personally, I own two H-Ds. A touring bike and a cruiser, I also own a GSXR and a Yamaha dual sport. Each bike is very different and I enjoy them for what they were designed to do. I wouldn’t ride my GSXR or Yamaha XT on a long ride to Strugis, SD and I wouldn’t expect to carve a canyon road on my Road Glide or Dyna and keep up with a sport bike.

As for some H-D riders dressing up and looking like pirates. I can’t say I agree with the squids riding on clown looking sport bikes wearing a tank top, oversized shorts and sandels, as being a cool look either.

One more gripe, can some of you writing on this forum please learn how to use spell check? Good God, some of you write like complete morons.

Ronas -Harleys? No Way!!!  November 2, 2010 04:19 PM
Hey, Am a old guy in my 50's and I NEVER liked Harley's! I always liked the cafe racer type bike's. I think Harleys are ugly, heavey and just out dated. Never like that style. I don't care for loud bikes. what does that prove? Or, bikes that are 2 ton monsters. AND, whats with the look of the riders? They all act tough but, I ride year round.....hot, cold, rain. snow and I don't see those "tough" guys riding. I have better options in other brands from Europe, Japan and other US made bikes. Harley?...no thanks!!!
MLN -Industry Viewpoint  November 2, 2010 01:49 PM
It’s very informative reading all the comments by you experts in the motorcycle industry. As a backdrop I’m the owner and operator of three quite successful Harley-Davidson Dealerships and yes I have bled Orange and Black for over 40 years and plan to do so in the future. Noted below are some excerpts that I received from a well respected Harley-Davidson Dealer who was a former two-time Dealer Advisory Chairman. This dealer sent this document to myself and to some other interested Harley dealers that we associate with in our group and yes we plan to participate with this business model because we know it has some real merit. “The Harley-Davidson core customer base reached its maximum earning and spending potential in 1998 when the average age was 46.5 years of age. Many core Harley customers began their riding careers in the 1960’s and 70’s on small displacement Harley-Davidson motorcycles manufactured by Aramachi, an Italian motorcycle company. Today, the demographic curve is virtually identical to the pattern that occurred during that period of time. And, although the world is certainly a different place now, there are over 76 million Echo Boomers, a statistically significant number of which have lifestyles that indicate an overwhelming desire to ride and own a motorcycle. We Harley-Davidson Dealers, face a huge obstacle in a challenging market that is undergoing a major paradigm shift... no entry level motorcycles to sell. But we believe there is a viable solution to this dilemma. ATK Motorcycles, an American Motorcycle Manufacturer based in Salt Lake City for over 25 years, is preparing to offer a limited number of select Harley-Davidson Dealers who elect to participate, in an exclusive opportunity to introduce a new line of entry level motorcycles to the American motorcycling marketplace. Several models will be initially available featuring Cruiser and Sport Cruiser styling and will range in size from 250cc’s to 650cc’s. ATK’s business model is designed to provide quality built, V-Twin based products that are focused on a viable customer niche well below that of Motor Company’s existing product offerings. We believe that these true entry-level motorcycles will complement our Harley-Davidson models by enhancing brand equity and help create a new customer base while they contribute to the success and essential profitability of your dealership. The timing of the current market dynamic may be presenting you with an opportunity to develop a unique symbiotic relationship with ATK, which may act to create long term benefits for your Dealership. They have the products, the resources and the relationships to bring these motorcycles to your showroom floor today .I believe ATK entry-level motorcycles will act as the perfect customer incubator bringing future Harley-Davidson customers to your dealership for generations to come.
SamXRL -ATK  November 2, 2010 01:41 PM
It's great to get responses from the likes of the CEO himself. I would just like to point out that one of the big reasons Harley has found it's niche is because of the desire of many riders (new to the sport and long timers) to affiliate with something they see as being truly American. People buy Harleys because the brand (in their eyes) are to motorcycles what pickup trucks, cadillacs, and muscle cars are to the American auto scene. They want to be part of the Harley "tribe" and look the part as well. To most, the V-twin cruiser is "The American Bike". An ATK, Hyosung, Buell, and any other non-Harley bike in a Harley dealership is in for a tough haul. As for me, I'm not a "Harley guy". I ride a Honda dual-purpose and I'm as American as any R.U.B. on an expensive V-Twin.
Skip -ATK in a Harley Dealership - LOL  November 2, 2010 12:58 PM
What ATK doesn't realize is that if you do not ride a Harley you will not go into a Harley dealership and put up with there bull. I might like the ATK branding but I will not step into a Harley dealership. I have been there and done that and if they would have done some market research they might have realized that also. The main reason Buell failed is due to the terrible marketing done by Harley dealers. They are not interested in anything but a Harley as they want to sell all the HD crap that goes with a Harley. This will be a short lived project on ATK's part when they realize the moron Harley salesmen are not the lest interested in there products. Why waste a good Harley moron customer on a ATK bike when they could sell them a new or used outdated Harley plus all the Harley undies, buckles, fingerless nose picker gloves, t shirts, do rags and on and on until the sucker is broke. ATK will go the way of the Buell.
Frank White -ATK  November 2, 2010 12:26 PM
Re: In response to certain statements made on motorcycle blogs.

Normally, I don’t respond to blogs for a variety of reasons; however, I want to make sure our position is crystal clear. Most of the OEM’s, or motorcycle companies that I associate with have people in their companies who routinely review or glance through the blogs and read this stuff. Some of the information posted is quite good and generally helpful; however, some responses have no merit…..

We have made it quite clear that we have no direct involvement with the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. in selling motorcycles inside the Harley-Davidson network. As stated, the Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc. does not endorse or support ATK in anyway. This statement is made in every informational item that goes out of this office; however, we continue to see blog comments that we may somehow be involved with Harley. To the contrary, our activities have us directly involved with some of the Independent Harley Dealers - only.

I have been told that less than one percent of the people who actually read these blogs actually respond. I’m amazed at some of the motorcycle bloggers who like to continuously bash Harley-Davidson. On a personal level, I have dealt with the top management of the H-D Motor-Co since 1992 (when I was invited to be a co-member of USMMA with Harley-Davidson) and have been very impressed with the company from top to bottom for years. You can’t argue with their success. IMO they were “comfortably numb” in previous management administrations (which is typical for large successful American publically traded companies who need to pacify the sometimes un-informed shareholders); however, this new group of H-D management led by Keith Wandell (current Harley-D CEO) has made many positive, necessary and very bold decisions that structurally will keep the iconic brand sound and moving in the right direction in my opinion.

Contrary to all the things that I have read our strategy is quite simple. Our strategy is to implement “predatory, addictive type marketing techniques,” in conjunction with some number of select Harley Dealers thus enabling those dealers to sell to a new generation of young people, getting them hooked (on motorcycles) so they will continue to come back for more and more selling opportunities in their respective dealerships. If we are successful we will create generations of motorcycle addicts and should be successful in executing the “cradle-to-grave” approach … Start with an ATK entry level street-bike (or ATK mini-bike) and then “Glide” into the future and toward the sunset on an H-D Electra Glide with a staircase of other products in between as noted in the articles. Bottom-line, we want to position our ATK brand in some H-D dealerships in the same manner Scion is positioned in some Toyota Dealerships, which is actively and successfully cultivating future customers…

To be specific to some of the items noted in the blogs:

• Starting in 2012 our ATK Motorcycles will go through an evolution in regard to parts and styling in order to create our own unique brand identity offering a greater degree of differentiation from the S. & T. Motors, or former Hyosung brand.

• Starting in 2012 we plan to do the final assembly in Utah, with parts coming in from a variety of sources.

• Korean’s make great quality products such as Hyundai, Kia, Samsung and Hyosung was a manufacturing partner for Suzuki for many years. In short, we’re working with a great, responsive partner.

• We are totally separate from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. and have our own competitive pricing structure, along with our own authorized dealers to attract new customers.

I hope this clarifies our position on this subject. Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight.


Frank White

Jim -This is not a H-D decision  November 2, 2010 11:56 AM
To those of you that say H-D is making a bad decision i.e. Alan - "Harley needs to do something, but this isn't it." Calvin - "This would be the final nail in the coffin if Harley does this." Ben Dover - "HD is stretching to try and stay current but this ATK deal will turn out to be another bad decision." Did any of you even read the article? H-D does NOT endorse this. It is NOT their decision. They have and want NOTHING to do with this. This is strictly an ATK move. I am in no way a H-D supporter, just pointing out the painfully obvious.
Believeinamerican -harley support  November 2, 2010 11:38 AM
Reguardless of different opinions,the fact of the matter is that it's more sensible to buy american products to keep the money in our own country.It's not as if the other bikes from other countries aren't good,they're great products,however making a difference in the economy getting better means keeping the money in America.HD is the top american icon,Weather you buy a bike made from another country now that brand new or you buy something older thats from another country,The money is still supporting that other country,We should be thinking about supporting our country,not theirs!
Wing_Man -Harley - No Way  November 2, 2010 10:06 AM
My next door neighbor retired last spring and the first thing he did was buy a harley. He got the loud mufflers and the clown outfit and the dealer sold him the screaming beagle kit also. After seeing other bikes he could have bought if he hadn't have been is such a hurry he now realizes he bought a less than perfect motorcycle and he has been trying to sell it. Problem is there are lots of harley's for sale as the paper is full of them and the other dealers will not take it in on trade as they don't want it either. He is mad as hell and complains that the hareley dealer screwed him. I told him when he told me he was going to buy a harley to go out and look at other bikes but he had visions of being a bad ass with a loud muffler and cruising around town in his new pirate outfit. Now he has a bike that time has passed by and no body with an educated mine will buy. Harely Davidson had big sales because they were financing the bikes and they gave anyone who could crawl in the door a loan. Well harley had to borrow 650 million from Warren Buffet to bail out hd financial services last year. Harely also counts a bike that is delivered to a dealer as a sale in there annual sales. I would think that at least 50% of harley 2010 production is sitting in a dealers showroom right now so I would cut in half any harley sales figure. Why would I pay an outrageous price for a motorcycle that is basically a 1960 model with a few upgrades. They are heavy, slow, underpowered, over hyped and way over priced for what you get.
SamXRL -DRMANIA nails it!  November 1, 2010 04:45 PM
DR man totally hit the nail on the head (Nick too for that matter). It's no secret that Harley treated Buell like a "Red headed step child" and once they see their hairbrain idea with ATK isn't panning out they"ll treat ATK like a starving fat man treats a dessert bar (ferociously mean and left for others to pick up what's left over)!!!

2slow -HD just doesn't get the "under 40" market  November 1, 2010 10:00 AM
So, what are they going to do when people who originally bought the ATK find out that the Harley they "traded up" to is slower, heavier, FAR more expensive and no more reliable???

As much as I hate to admit it, I own a HD (Sportster) and I have been less than impressed with it. The bike is a terrific design that has been "heritaged" into mediocrity. The engine is gutless, it's about 50-75lbs overweight (and this is the LIGHTEST bike in HD's lineup), the suspension was bottom shelf 20 years ago, and the quality has been a mixed bag. Some parts are very well made but so much of it is just lazily engineered. There are stupid design flaws that are still present from the 1986 "Evo" design. That's 25 years ago! Until HD makes a serious effort to improve their product line with something that performs decently I will not be buying another.

Don't even get me started on what kind of people I've met from owning a HD! "head in the sand" morons....
Nick -Look like Hyosungs to me  October 31, 2010 08:13 PM
If people aren't buying them as Hyosungs, why would they want them as ATK's?

This is obviously the brainchild of some pencil neck in the accounting department who hasn't got a clue as to why anyone would even ride a motorcycle.

The market is groaning with unsold Japanese cruisers availabe for fire-sale prices. I would MUCH rather have one of them.
Zippy -come on...  October 31, 2010 02:47 AM
What are they going to do, capture 1/2 of 1% of a shrinking market? Ask anyone to name 10 MC brands and see if they mention ATK.
HD learned a hard expensive lesson with Buell and MV. Harley should focus on selling Harleys.
Zippy -said it before  October 30, 2010 04:05 PM
I have said it before I will say it again. "Don't tell me what I want, sell me what I want"

HD sells so many bikes becuase they build bikes folks want to buy" Lots and lots of great left over bikes sitting, getting dusty waiting for buyers at %40 off.
DRMANIA -Pot is legal allready?  October 30, 2010 03:45 PM
Seems that at least in Utah, it is :). I would love to see the bussiness reasearch and planning of ATK with this whole deal. Sellin a renamed not best quality Korean motorcycle, at a higher price than before, at dealerships who didn't really support a young crowd REAL American brand owned by HD itself (Buell, if someone got lost). Yes, those 33,000 will be flyin out the door in no time! ATK should have tried to go the hard way to try to save it's ass, and make bikes like they used to. Wanna grow? Why not joining Eric Buell and build a real dealer network? Get back your contact with Rotax, get quality components and bring us an American cool and fresh motorcycles. This deal is pathetic and IMO, quite downgrading for the ATK brand.
Dennis -it's workin' out just fine, thanks.  October 30, 2010 08:22 AM
You can hardly expect any bike to sell forever. Plenty of terrific motorcycles eventually get discontinued due to newer products coming out. It's inevitable and everything has a life expectancy. The Warrior had a pretty good run and was/is a good bike. Just because it's not selling anymore doesn't mean the motor wasn't good or the bike didn't do what it was supposed to. If that was the point you were trying to make, it didn't work.
Zippy -Are you folks insane  October 30, 2010 05:08 AM
HD controls over %60, yes 2/3s of the entire USA market ver 600cc. That leaves 1/3 for eneryone else to divy up.
Yuo guys can stomp and pout all you want, HD is the sales leader going away. WITH A BULLET!!
Zippy -response to Dennis about Warrior mtr  October 30, 2010 05:06 AM
Are you refering to the fine motor on the model they dropped due to lack of sales? How is that working out?
Jimmy -no  October 29, 2010 12:36 PM
If anyone wants to help HD, give every owner a drip pan and some kitty litter
Watcher -2011 Harley  October 29, 2010 11:47 AM
Harley does not bring out new models because they can not afford an engineering department. They have for years just changed the color and added more or less chrome and came up with more stupid names like Night Train or Fat Bob. Harley then saves a lot of money that they can use to design there new line of belt buckles and do-rags. Now with the new ATK line HD will save even more money and the new line up of HD undies and clocks should be superb.
S1RR_Rider -Not into heavy cruisers  October 29, 2010 11:41 AM
Harley is married to the heavy cruiser and there market is the 50 to 60 year old riders. I see very very few young riders on a Harley. They are just too overpriced for the old styling and technology. Young riders like myself want something that is the latest in style and technology. Even if I wanted to ride a stupid cruiser I sure would not ride a Harley. I can get twice the bike in a Star or Victory and I don't have to put up with the Harley dealer BS. If you have ever been to a Harley dealership you know what I mean. A bunch of guys with beer guts and pony tails with bikes that make more noise than speed. We often go to a Harley dealer just to get some laughs. The sales people are real eager to show us a big touring rig but when we ask about a Buell they look at us as if we had 3 eyes and say "Harley doesn't make those things anymore".
Tank_Man -Harley - I don't thinks so.....  October 29, 2010 11:32 AM
Why would I buy a Harley anything? Harley Davidson is so dated it makes me sick. They are outdated, overpriced and over weight. I do not want to ride around with a bunch of old guys dressed up like a pirate with no mufflers trying to make there bikes at least sound fast but all they do is piss off the public and prove that Harley riders are a bunch of morons. 1960 technology at 2011 prices.
KG -An uneasy fit.  October 29, 2010 10:16 AM
Harley needs product that will attract younger or value minded consumers and ATK needs a dealer network. However I don't think this would be a beneficial relationship at least in the near term. ATK would bite into Sportster sales and the exorbitant HD dealer fees tacked onto the ATK's final price would hinder there competition to other metric bike dealers. I can't see it working on a wide scale but there may be some HD dealers in areas that don't have near by competition from metric dealers where ATK could capture part of that market perhaps.
Ben Dover -Thanks for the memories HD  October 29, 2010 06:59 AM
Turn out the lights the party's over. HD is stretching to try and stay current but this ATK deal will turn out to be another bad decision. ATK's are crapola machines.
milwaukee mike -korean krap  October 29, 2010 06:51 AM
If a local HD dealer wants to sell these toys, then real HD HOG riders should botcott that dealer. And take their business to a dealer that doesn't cave in to this idiotic plan.

Let the metric dealers sell this junk, not real HD dealers.
Calvin -Harley Savior  October 28, 2010 10:21 PM
This will most likey never happen but here goes. Harley need to drop their prices by $3000-$5000 to be competetive. They need to upgrade all motors to 103 or 110 ci and start to bring out a few more designed bikes it softer lines.
Calvin -Korean Harley NO  October 28, 2010 10:18 PM
This would be the final nail in the coffin if Harley does this. These korean cruisers are butt ugly and will not offer Harley anything. They would be better off aligning with Triumph!!!
CowboyTutt -Bad Idea  October 28, 2010 07:43 PM
I have a 2001 ATK 605 in the garage and really like the premium product. That being said, its stable mates are a 2009 Harley Street Bob and 2009 Buell 1125 CR (Cafe Racer). While I realize that Harley parts are not all made in the U.S.A. or my Buell's, there is something distinctly American about them in the final product. The combination of parts began here in America and were assembled here in America. Not so these Korean thingies. People don't walk into a Harley dealership looking to buy something Korean folks! They are looking for something American. Harley already put out a bulletin "kaboshing" this whole ATK deal but as their dealers are not franchised but only contracted, they may not have the final say. Still, its just the wrong place to sell a Korean made bike rebadged as something American. Buell's were ALWAYS treated as orphan children in Harley dealerships. It really hurt sales. The same thing would happen with these new Korean ATK bikes. Wrong location, wrong clientelle. And the Motor Company will do anything they can to kabosh the whole deal. Not a good situation for success at all.
Dennis -Air cooled can be very efficient too.  October 28, 2010 07:12 PM
Ditto on what Marv said. The air cooled 102 cu.in. V-Twin in my Yamaha Warrior is one fine engine. I've owned several HD's, and while good bikes, HD wishes they could make an engine this good. The thing just flat works, and works incredibly well, as do the rest of the Star/Yamaha air cooled engines. I imagine the others mentioned work just as well too. Nothing wrong with air cooling that some good engineering can't fix. Is it as good as liquid cooled? Most definitely not, but that's a different animal. Harley's problem is their Corporate American mind set. And I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. The V-Rod comment was spot on as well as the 90 mph-dead end street comment. They(HD) just never seem to learn.
Alan -This won't do it  October 28, 2010 06:09 PM
Harley needs to do something, but this isn't it. Potential ATK customers can already get a Star, Honda or Suzuki. Most of those folks are not now and will never be tempted by a Harley. So, having them buy an Asian cruiser at a Harley dealer won't work.

I want Harley to succeed, because there are not many American icons left. However, what they need to do is stop selling retreads of their old designs, get serious about R&D, and get in the sportbike and sport-tourer game. The V-Rod was a step in the right direction, but they have not followed up on it. Instead, they come up with peanut tanks for the Sportster. Irv H. is right - Harley is going 90 mph down a deadend street.
GB -HD selling korean  October 28, 2010 03:51 PM
i can see milwankee mike spinning on his HD toilet seat right now!! LOL!!!!
Marv -Irv H. -Air cooled CAN be competitive  October 28, 2010 02:36 PM
I'm not so sure I buy the old argument that you can't make a competitive performing, EPA approved, V-twin engine that is air cooled. Yamaha and Victory have been doing it for some time now. H-D could probably pull it off as well but I don't think they have the capacity or desire to develop one anytime soon.
Ranger Jay -Harley has cruisers  October 28, 2010 01:50 PM
Harley offers cruisers at a pretty good price point. Cheaper cruisers can be had at Honda, Star, or Suzuki dealerships. The trend for younger riders is not a cruiser, but a whole different type of bike. A customizable, lighter (400 lb) Harley-branded bike, with a 450-500cc single cylinder engine might work. Or maybe a small twin. It would have to be fairly quick, of course. Offer the same base model in several configs, like street model, track model, and cafe racer model. Let the younger crowd modify a naked model with "individualization" parts. Build the basic, lightweight frame with standardized attachment brackets for customization options. Harley could offer different kits and parts to help build a "one of a kind" bike for customers. Let the aftermarket folks handle the rest. Customers who want a Harley will buy a Harley. Offering a cheaper off-brand alternative, while good from a dealership sales perspective, will not persuade people to buy a Harley later, unless it is what they wanted to begin with. Harley is running out of buyers in its largest target segment. Sure, there will always be a market for Harley cruisers, just not in the numbers seen over the past 15 years.
MLN -To Tessier,  October 28, 2010 01:46 PM
Your understanding of ATK’s market position is deeply skewed, cynical and most import: wrong. ATK took advantage of a hole left by Cannondale, invested heavily in re-engineering the original shortcoming of the design, and even after the investment of time and money, the product was still 5 years ahead of market trends for off-roading. A simple look a the success of OEM competitors for the last 5 years will validate this. Could you also explain how you determined Korea is the most expensive place to manufacture in the world…I think that would be a BIG surprise to most of the heavy and light manufacturing companies not just in the US, but globally. Can you also reference where you think you saw the American Made aspect of the new venture with Hyosung? And could you also explain your market knowledge and research methods to determine if this joint venture is the wrong product at the wrong time. 10’s of millions of dollars industry wide have gone into research, marketing, data collections, buying trends, deal insights, etc by dozens of manufactures around the world…the paying market will determine wrong products and wrong timing…not arm chair pundits. Our research indicates we have reason to move forward. If you don’t like it. Don’t buy it, but have the integrity and professionalism to get your facts first and right.
Irv H -Romulian Centurion  October 28, 2010 01:43 PM
HD is going 90 mph down a dead end street. The difficulty is getting a pushrod aircooled engine past emission controls. The latest nail in the coffin is CA's requirement for EPA certified mufflers. How long before non-epa cams and chips are banned? It will get to the point where there are throttle limiters. HD's power disadvantage will be impossible to disguise. This trend for more epa enforcement will spread due to the fact that government employees want to create jobs for their offspring and don't care who pays.
lcc -curiosity  October 28, 2010 01:09 PM
Enough about the silly "ATK" cruisers being marketed wherever....I want to know what kind of numbers they got out of their whole fleet at Bonneville! I see the 700cc cruiser broke the ton, but how fast exactly? Surely somebody got the 650 sportbike out there, too.

I don't really care what speeds they got out of them, purchase-wise. I'm just curious what they got out of each of them. It isn't often the cruiser segment or a Hyosung GT 650 gets a top-end test.
Tessier -ATK  October 28, 2010 11:29 AM
ATK is at it again, they purchased what was left of Cannondale to make a quick buck but without any follow on models they quickly fell behind again. ATK's products aren't selling because of the economey they aren't selling because they are based on design's that are 10 years old! Now there great idea is to take a product that was engineered and tested in Korea and Manufacture it in one of the most expensive countries in the world so we can call it "American Made"???? What on gods green earth are you thinking. Sure you found a niche that Harley isn't serving and you found a product that will serve that niche but it's the wrong product for that niche. You need Engineering IP you need some great minds to turn out great idea's not marketing people to re brand old products (again). You need to be doing what Dan Fisher is doing if you really want to go the Korean route. Sure for the first few years you'll sell a couple hundred to a hard up Harley dealers but once people figure out they can buy a Hyosung, UM, or an ATK and they are all the same I don't see how you could possible think you could win that battle.
jeremy sandrei -Harley is dead!  October 28, 2010 10:59 AM
Why should I buy a Harley? is it fast? no its slower than a vespa scooter!its it reliable? if a chinesse car is, so it is! is it cool? let me see , is a 60 year ol fat guy, fart smelling in dipers is,then i dont want to be that kind of cool! Is it light? I think a chevy of the 60´s weihts 500 puonds less.
For my money i have a grand better options in any other brand from Japan,Europe, Austria and some american companies. Harley biggest mistake that they havent realise just yet is that they think a Harley give you status. well harley you are wrong, a bimota give you status not a Harley.