Despite slowing sales and a war of words with President Trump, Harley-Davidson riders still seem to love the brand, according to a biennial report on brand intimacy.
Harley was sixth in the MBLM Brand Intimacy Report on more than 400 brands behind Disney, Apple, Amazon, Chevrolet and Netflix.
However, the love seems to be waning as Harley was ranked third in the 2015 report and fourth in 2017.
Brand intimacy is defined as “leveraging and strengthening the emotional bonds between a person and a brand”.
MBLM and Praxis Research Partners interviewed 6200 consumers in the US (3000), Mexico (2000), and the United Arab Emirates (1200) for the report.
Harley was second in the automotive sector behind Chevrolet, while BMW (cars and bikes) was 18th overall and Honda (cars, bikes, etc) was 23rd.
Interestingly, the intimacy survey found that Harley riders are viewing it more as a nostalgia brand and less of an indulgence brand than they did in 2017.
It also found that 21% of Harley owners could not live without the brand and 10% said they would be prepared to pay more for their motorbikes!
That’s interesting considering the company reported a 6.1% drop in sales last year to 228,051.
It also comes after almost two years of chiding by President Trump for moving some of its production offshore.
Harley says Trump’s trade wars increase their costs of raw steel and aluminium and resulted in higher tariffs for their products in some overseas markets.
They claim these two factors wiped out their 2018 profits.
It may also have cost them a loss of intimacy by their followers, many of whom may also be Trump supporters.
This comes after Harley rated third in a customer satisfaction survey released last year by Australian ratings business Canstar Blue.
Triumph was the most satisfying motorcycle brand in the market, according to about 700 surveyed riders.
It was the second year in a row that Triumph topped the annual motorcycle survey won by Yamaha in 2016 and Harley-Davidson in the first year of ratings in 2015.
The ratings compare motorcycle brands on factors including reliability, style, handling, comfort, value for money, point-of-sale service, technology features and overall satisfaction.
Triumph was followed by Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and BMW.