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Environmental Analysis of Harley-Davidson

Spend some time considering what might go into such a PEST analysis and also consider what a strategic manager at HD might include in a Porters 5 forces analysis in considering this organization's external environment.

Some of the more interesting things happening in HD's world right now from a competition perspective includes the introduction/re-introduction of two competing motorcycle companies in past years that can also make the claim of being "American Made". These include "Victory" and "Indian" motorcycles. In addition, most of the foreign competition has entered into the heavy-weight motorcycle market. There are also some concerns nowadays regarding the world economy, and the hefty price-tag that typically accompanies an HD motorcycle. Though HD tends to rely heavily on a socially based mystique regarding their product line. They have also invested significantly from a technological perspective in relation to logistics and production management efforts. There are also a lot of potential 'substitute' products that one might consider as an alternative to riding a motorcycle (depending on the reason for purchasing the motorcycle be it gas economy, or something exhilarating to do on a warm, sunny weekend).

1) You are tasked with considering what might be included in a PEST and Porter's 5 forces analysis of Harley Davidson's external environment.

2) Based on this information and your background readings, discuss whether you think PEST analysis and Porter's 5 Forces analysis would be useful tools for HD executives to help them make wise strategic choices. Give examples to support your arguments and above all, demonstrate that you have a strong grasp of how these analytical tools are used and applied in the strategic management process.

Pay special attention to the following case study related to HD's efforts to expand their operations and sales overseas. This effort obviously ties into the discussion on the external environment:

McBee, R. D. (2011). Harley-Davidson's Future (Abroad). International Journal Of Motorcycle Studies, 7(2), 1-8

-The response should include an introduction stating the thesis, position, or central theme you plan to take, a main body focusing on the key assignment specifications, and a conclusion concisely stating the main points of your analysis and the conclusions you reached.

Here are some articles dealing with HD's strategic position that may be helpful:

Here is an article that discusses some internal and external challenges faced by Harley Davidson:
Taylor, A., (2012). The Hurdles at Harley-Davidson. CNN Money - Fortune. Retrieved from:

Here is a very brief strategic analysis of HD. It will provide you with some useful information in putting together your assignments and should give you some ideas on how to fashion a brief strategic analysis.
GlobalData, (2012). Harley-Davidson, Inc. - Financial and Strategic Analysis Review. Retrieved from:

Here is a fairly recent article that speaks to HD's worldwide sales:
UMC Staff, (2013) Harley-Davidson | 2012 Worldwide Sales Up 6.2%. Ultimate Motorcycling. Retrieved from:

Here is an older article that provides a short analysis of HD's international business strategy:
TDi Media, (2010). An analysis of Harley Davidson's international business strategy. TDI Media. Retrieved from:

Here is an older external analysis on Harley Davidson that goes through a Porter's 5 forces analysis. This is just an example, and it may provide you with some useful, general information. However, a lot has happened at HD since 2006. So I wouldn't recommend relying on this for your external analysis without putting forth an effort to bring the information up to date:
Melief, M.,Bundgaard, T., Hathaway, J., (2006). Strategic Report for Harley Davidson. Pandora Group. Retrieved from:

Here is a document that contains a lot of information on a strategic alliance with Lehman Trikes in 2008. This document provides a thorough strategic analysis of both HD and Lehman, including evaluation of the external enviornment. This will actually be used as a case study in Module 3 but provides some useful information for this module as well.
Looney, D. C., & Ryerson, A. (2011). Lehman Trikes: A story within a story. Journal Of The International Academy For Case Studies, 17(7), 45-58. (Available via the Library by way of the EBSCO database).

Here is a comprehensive competitive analysis of the motorcycle industry and a web-link with comparative sales performance documentation between industry leaders:
Motorcycles Industry Profile: United States. (2010). Motorcycles Industry Profile: United States, 1. (access via Trident's library through EBSCO database)
Web Bike World, (2012). Motorcycle Sales Statistics, News and Information. Retrieved from:

Here are a few documents related to PEST and 5 Forces analysis: Porters 5 forces. Retrieved from:
QuickMBA. (n.d.). Porter's 5 Forces. Retrieved from:
NETBMZ. (n.d.). PEST Analysis. Retrieved from:
Anonymous, (n.d.). Pest Analysis. Retrieved from:

Solution Summary

The solution analyses the environment surrounding the iconic American motorbike company Harley-Davidson. Using PEST and Porter's five forces, the opportunities and threats for the company and also the attractiveness of the industry in which it operates are revealed in the 10-paged Word document attached.