It’s no secret that Harley-Davidson has a problem with drawing in younger customers. Over the past six years, the Motor Company’s U.S. sales took a nosedive due to the lack of new blood coming into the brand. With current CEO and President Jochen Zeitz prioritizing the company’s bread and butter (touring models, large cruisers, and trikes), entry-level models like the Street 750 and Sportster have fallen by the wayside.

To help fill the void in Harley’s lineup, the brand will introduce a pre-owned program aptly titled H-D Certified. Under the initiative, dealerships will showcase well-tended, used bikes up to five years old with as many as 25,000 miles on the odometer. Purchasing H-D Certified units will enable customers to utilize Harley-Davidson financial services. The pre-owned models will also come with a 12-month limited warranty. H-D Certified is slated to launch in April and 300 dealerships are interested in participating.


Harley’s top brass believe the program will attract new, younger customers and build brand loyalty. Up to this point, the used market has been a detriment to the company’s new model sales. Both dealership accounts and a 2017 RumbleOn study report that used Hogs outsell new units by a three-to-one ratio.

“The biggest competition for a new Harley-Davidson bike is not an Indian bike or a Honda, or a Suzuki bike, but is a used Harley-Davidson bike,” said Wedbush Securities analyst James Hardiman.

To address the issue, the bar and shield tightened production levels under Jochen Zeitz’s direction. At the height of Harley’s run in 2008, the company shipped 206,000 units. By the end of 2020, it only shipped 80,000 bikes. By restricting supply, Zeitz hopes the brand’s production will meet current demand. Taking a page from automakers’ playbooks, the Motor Company aims to capitalize on motorcycles already in circulation without incurring the cost of new entry-level models.

“We believe this program will drive Harley-Davidson desirability, increase sales and margins, and enhance the overall customer experience while supporting growth,” Zeitz told Reuters.

While the H-D Certified program offers a new revenue stream for the company, it still relies on the same old, heavy cruisers that drove many younger riders away in the first place. Couple that with obsolete technology and antiquated styling found on older models, and it’s hard to see how the pre-owned program will move the needle. With that said, we’re looking forward to HD-Certified rolling out in spring 2021 and hope that it reverses Harley’s fortune with the youths.

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