The Harley-Davidson case presents a unique example of a unique company that, due to their remarkable customer loyalty, was able to go from nearly bankrupt to successfully gaining a substantial portion of the market in a niche product.
The company was able to gain market share and profit by substantially restructuring their business plan. Harley-Davidson changed from a traditional large batch manufacturing philosophy to just-in-time strategy. They began involving employees in problem solving and they redeveloped and focused their marketing strategy to a smaller niche market.
In 1903, William Harley-Davidson, Arthur Davidson, Williams Davidson, and Walter Davidson started Harley-Davidson in a 10x15 shed in their backyard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Production started with three motorcycles in 1903 and increased to 8 in 1908. In 1969, AMF Incorporated acquired Harley-Davidson Motor Company and expanded capacity from 15,000 to 40,000 motorcycles.
Harley-Davidson, Incorporated was formed in 1981, when it was purchased from AMF Incorporated in a management buyout. In 1986, Harley-Davidson, Incorporated became a publicly held company.
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