ATK CEO Frank White has sent me the following email in regards to the deal that ATK has made to sell American-assembled motorcycles from S&T:
Buon Giorno from EICMA Italy (Motorcycle Show)
One of our Harley Dealers is a regular to your site and suggested I make some comments to the recent posts to set the record straight. I normally avoid BLOG’s however, what the heck, your site seems quite good and your information is factual.
A comment on ATK taking the place of Buell on some BLOGs.
We are NOT working through the H-D Dealer network under the endorsement or support of the Harley Davidson Motor Company in any way. This is stated on the press release.
We are NOT going to be making products in the same market niche/segment that Erik Buell was making. Erik is a Maverick in innovation and development in his part of the industry and we would be fools to try and step in. Obviously with H-D pulling the plug has created a vacuum of opportunity in the network that want American Branded products.
Some of our Dealers sent me the gut wrenching U Tube link with Erik and I feel for the guy. We’ve been in business basically the same amount of time and this is NOT an easy business.
Our focus is going to be attracting an all new and much younger customer into Harley shops with a diverse quality platform of products. (Like Scion is to Toyota) We also want to get more people in the motorcycle world like the industry did so well in the 70’s… This should be interesting
Feel free to post this.
In my previous post, I did append the press release, which does say that this is a deal that Harley knows about, but does not endorse. I also stated:
It’s a bit of a coup for Harley dealerships, and possibly for Harley-Davidson itself–as well. They will–or at least selected dealers will–have access to new lines of motorcycles to bring in younger customers. This is especially true if the ATK dirt bikes can also make an appearance on dealer showrooms.
Let me clarify what I meant here. To the extent that new, younger riders are drawn into Harley dealerships, The MoCo will, if this deal operates successfully, eventually have access to these new dealership customers when they begin looking for large displacement motorcycles. I did not intend to imply that this was part of any strategy on the part of Harley-Davidson. This is something at will operate purely at the dealer level with some select dealers, and any advantages that accrue to the Motor Company will be more or less incidental.
And, of course, implying that HD itself was part of this would imply that HD actually had a strategy. Which, after the MV Agusta deal and the closing down of Buell, is a pretty questionable implication.