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Ft_bstrd
Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 10:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Where do things go from here?


Part of me WANTS these A$$HATS to fail and drag down the entire company with their incompetence.

Unfortunately, this means the permanent and irrevocable death of EVERYTHING Buell. They are not satisfied with terminating Buell, but they must destroy the DNA so that no one else can reconstitute the breed.

Will the stupidity be revealed to the world (and more importantly the shareholders) in time to reverse this travesty, or are we destined to stand by while our Rome burns?


Part of me guiltily hopes Wandell finds a deer mid corner on his shiny new chrome laden "passion" barge for allowing this to happen on his watch. : |
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Bob_thompson
Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 10:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

"Unfortunately, this means the permanent and irrevocable death of EVERYTHING Buell. They are not satisfied with terminating Buell, but they must destroy the DNA so that no one else can reconstitute the breed."

Where we go from here, HOPEFULLY, is that the DNA is still alive in the form of the man himself. It just needs a host body to resurrect itself.

I'm probably on my last Buell but maybe not my last bike from Erik Buell. Bob
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Court
Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 11:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

>>>I think everybody who disliked Buell saw a chance to publicly slit Erik's throat when the new guy showed up. I could be wrong, but that's my opinion.

If that's your opinion there are two of us.

I'm not sure the "slitters" understood that a number of Buell owners/riders carry Series 27 and Series 65 and have done forensic work for SPIC and FINRA and at least one unhappy Buell owner manages one of the Top 10 firms holding H.O.G.

The "created" business case threaten putting some executives and all the Board of Directors in line for some potential personal liability and folks are starting to talk and ask questions.

There are many things you can do in a private corporation. However in a publicly traded corporation folks are under a high duty to act in the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders. Personal vendettas are mere personality squabbles in private companies; they are a crime in a publicly traded corporation. I was sent Miller v. McDonald, et al., ( D. Del., Bankr., April 9, 2008) as an interesting read.

My sneaking suspicion is that if ANY of the things you alluded to in your blog see the light of day that someone will get nervous. . . folks are already asking questions and I even got a call from Susan Carpenter from the L. A. Times asking about Buell. The stories, press releases and 10-Q simply don't add up. Then again, I'm a construction worker and not terribly fluent in such things.

We're right on track with regard to the dealer network as well. Frankly . . Harley-Davidson provided Buell with two things in February of 1993 . . . an air-cooler motor and a dealer network. Guess what the two things are that have conspired to be the shackles that have bound Buell?

If it'd been me and Harley-Davidson had come to me and told me they were cutting me loose . . . I'd be cheering to this day.

The real crime (and it may be, I'm not qualified to make that call) is taking things like the bike you've seen pictured here (which, by the way, is essentially ready for market and served as the cause de' urgency to get the slitting done 3Q this year) and tons of intellectual property and just shit canning it.

I recently returned from Wisconsin where I had the chance to meet with folks from various entities. If Buell "has no value" there are plenty of curious suitors, as well as some local municipalities who'd compete for the jobs, that would like that proven to them. Harley-Davidson crapped on a lot of nice peoples lives. The commercial equivalent, as it was explained to me, of shooting your dog to get a tick off.

I'm okay with Harley-Davidson's stated "we are never going to use it or build any Buell products" but simply declaring the value of those assets zero and shit canning them may require some explaining. I'll see two analysts (actually fellow students in the Columbia University Graduate program where I now teach) and I'm eager to get their take on just how lopping off expenses that wouldn't pay for this year's dealer meeting and dispatching them lives up to folks' fiduciary duty.

Buell needs a better dealer network and I suspect could find one (or two) in less than 72 hours.

I'll be eager to see how some dealers respond. If I were a dealer and was told by the Mothership that the $20,000+ line is going to be my sole product and I was looking at the folks who now compose the target demographic I'd be a bit nervous.

Sooner or later someone's liable to start putting the pieces together with what Harley-Davidson is doing in India as well. I'd enjoy your thoughts on selling 700# bikes to 130# people. I'm betting the moment they see this "huge" demand in India. . . you know the country in which the "Sidar" (we call them "bosses") is paid a lump sum and divides it among workers.



10000 USD INR 462,713.0 INR 10,000 USD = 462,713.0 INR as of 11/14/2009


I'll be eager to see what happens once HD gets that big factory up and running and finds out they can build the same Softail for 19% of what it costs in Milwaukee.

Interesting times ahead. You can imagine why someone who was a staunch supporter of American Manufacturing (you may have read Erik Buell's recent piece in Forbes magazine) would be a bit "abrasive" to work with.

I suspect you ain't seen abrasive till you try to sell an "imported" Harley-Davidson to the dealer network.

Could be a fun couple years.

By the way . . . the folks in India kick ass. We get lots of steel castings and a friend of mine in Chicago just placed a 250,000,000# steel order. The first thing he did was go over and put OSHA standards in place. At first it was rough going but soon folks really got into the thing and it's kinda cool to see the guys in their dhotis with safety glasses, ear plugs, hard hats and steel toed boots.

We are indeed living . . . in interesting times.
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Cyclonedon
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 12:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

good thread! Interesting comments all the way around! I've been to several dealerships since October 15th discussing the closing of Buell and NOBODY really seems to know what is happening and can't understand the move either!

I have a feeling that someday this is all going to come out as to what was the real reason for closing down Buell. I still don't think we've heard the truth yet!

Interesting times indeed! Sad, but interesting.
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Cityxslicker
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 02:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Look, do I get to invest in an American 450 Dirt squirter with plates on it or not ?


I cant keep abusing the CityX she has spend 5 months this year up on the lift.
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Court
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 08:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

>>>I still don't think we've heard the truth yet!

For what I think is the most accurate account yet . . . carefully read Dale's BLOG written a month before Harley-Davidson made the announcement.

When you read it . . . . make note of the number of times that actions taken with respect to Buell are the result of personal issues with Buell, with Erik and so forth. Do the same and note the number of times failures, some driven by those personal issues, in HD marketing, dealer training and so forth are mentioned.

Now . . . . read it again.

This time note the number of times any legitimate business reason (lack of sales and so forth) is mentioned.

There are sufficient facts contained with the piece to support the credibility of Dale's "confidential source with high-level contacts inside Harley-Davidson".

Now read the 10-Q that summarizes results through the 3rd Quarter of 2009. I've included elements of it above but to satisfy yourself that I've not "cherry picked" or taken things out of context I'd suggest you read it yourself. If you get bogged down in the numbers, read the narrative about Buell, MV Agusta, Harley-Davidson's debt that is growing exponentially, the huge losses at HDFS due to some very poor business decisions and read "the plan" about how Harley-Davidson intends to turn this around.

What becomes more and more evident is that Buell, at the size it is, could not possibly have accounted for any of the alleged diversions from the "core business" cited in the press release.

In addition . . . and look closely at that new bike and some of the reaction to it . . . . and ask yourself, you're smart . . . how destroying Buell, wadding up the intellectual property and future projects (one of which was essentially "market ready") is going to further Harley-Davidson's stated goal of embracing and attracting younger riders.

You'll see that Harley-Davidson has set aside something on the order of $70,000,000 in expected expenses they are willing to incur to close Buell fast. This is what's funding the dealer rebates and some other sales incentives that you are, at this time, unaware of. Not only did they want Buell gone . . . they wanted "no evidence it ever existed" no later than December 18, 2009.

Ask yourself, if you were setting out to pursue a younger market, what the effect of allocating that $70,000,000 to Buell marketing, dealer training and development and so forth may have been.

Imagine that you are in your late 50's, have had substantial investment (around 100,000 shares) in Harley-Davidson and you have about $2,300,000 in one of the top 3 funds that comprise the owners of H.O.G. How would you feel? Dp you think that Harley-Davidson has been a responsible custodian of your retirement money?

Everyone will decide for themselves. What's becoming evident is that there is a growing curiosity with the media and financial community. There are a couple folks that are showing signs they think someone at Harley-Davidson played out a personnel vendetta (I liked Dale's "throat slitting" metaphor) at significant expense to investors and tried to put it in a box labeled "legitimate business move".

The box is starting to have leaks. Folks are beginning to become curious as to why Buell, which could quite easily be "non-integrated" (be mindful that none of the 1125 variants or any of the new products use any HD parts) from Harley-Davidson. Why sell MV Agusta, with employees in Italy, for it's lack of contribution to the bottom line and then, at the same time, put 200 of the United States' most innovative and productive folks out of jobs 2 weeks before Christmas.

Hell . . . . . even if I had no financial stake . . if I were just an American proud to see a quality product breathing new life into the once proud phrase "MADE IN AMERICA" and saw this I'd be outraged.

My hope is that folks ask questions. My fear is that folks (it's beginning to happen in other areas in America) will simply accept the crap that has been handed them and sulk away.

Dale raised some great points in his blog. I'd urge any of you to reread. Try reading it and viewing it, absent your passion for Buell, as a "business decision".

If someone was flushing $125,000,000 of your money just because 2 or 3 folks were "pissed" at Erik Buell's success . . . how would you feel?

Dale's "confidential source with high-level contacts inside Harley-Davidson", and I'm guessing this is the reason they were willing to share, and others within the Harley-Davidson executive suites are less enthusiastic than they may, at this time, be saying publicly.

Go back and reread Dale's blog and be mindful it was written 30 days prior to the announcement and tell me what you think.
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Technomad
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 08:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Interesting speculation, and if investors really get interested and follow a similar line of thought, we could see a shareholder suit. Discovery could bring some skeletons out of the closet.

Few mergers and acquisitions are as successful as anticipated during the negotiations. The friction generated by the mixing different corporate cultures can generate a lot of heat. Smoldering resentment may last for years, ready to erupt into flame when the conditions are right.
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Vampress
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 09:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Court,
It is curious how things can become so clear over such a short time. For the past few days, taking into account all the scattered information everywhere and more than just a few "gut feelings", Lemonchili and I had pretty much reached the same conclusions that you have summarised so nicely above. We were just waiting for someone to confirm what might be our fears...or a ray of hope.
The only thing that I had also mentioned outside of everything you have explored, was the reasoning behind the latest ad campaigns. The cubing of the Blast quite obviously caused a lot of ill feeling, and I am wondering if (even though Erik consented and starred in the ad) this was an attempt by Harley to harbour ill feeling toward Buell and Erik himself. Perhaps the ad was a creation intended to harm rather than help Buell's image, so when the chopping block came into play, there would not be so many supporters left? By pushing such a quick response shock value commercial stunt, could the intended outcome have been to leave customers questioning Erik's integrity and value of his own product?
I do most definitely agree on one thing though. Freedom from Harley Davidson, in whatever form it came, is the best thing that could have happened to Buell. It is not what they haven't done for them, it is what they have...constrained, restricted and muzzled them.
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Redbuelljunkie
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 09:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

You'll see that Harley-Davidson has set aside something on the order of $70,000,000 in expected expenses they are willing to incur to close Buell fast. This is what's funding the dealer rebates and some other sales incentives that you are, at this time, unaware of. Not only did they want Buell gone . . . they wanted "no evidence it ever existed" no later than December 18, 2009.

Well, if that's the case how confident should a Buell owner be about the veracity of H-D's claim of warranty and parts support for the next seven years- especially on 1125 models?
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Ferris_von_bueller
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 10:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I suspect you ain't seen abrasive till you try to sell an "imported" Harley-Davidson to the dealer network.

My fear is that folks (it's beginning to happen in other areas in America) will simply accept the crap that has been handed them and sulk away


Court, combine your two thoughts into one and I'm afraid people won't give a rat's behind if Harley's are made in India, etc. Sure, us older folks won't like it and many of the Harley faithful will balk but I've spoken to many people ( even younger folks ) who said they would buy a Harley if they weren't so expensive. Perhaps, this deal with S&T/ATK is a move in that direction. I can say one thing with almost certainty. The new CEO of Harley, from Johnson Controls, doesn't give a Pelosi where the product is manufactured. You can bet on that.

(Message edited by Ferris_von_bueller on November 15, 2009)
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Moxnix
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 12:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Harley began buying most parts from Taiwan in 1999, with the exception of flywheels and other odd bits. So, our Hog riding brethren have been buying "American assembled" garage decorations for a decade without screams of dissent. But, if The Company actually has the new stuff built and shipped from the Indian subcontinent, it may not matter because their 1909 business model just isn't working as we old guys drop out or drop dead. It's 2009, Mr. Wandell, you might want to send out a memo to that effect to the Gang of Three who facilitated the Thursday Morning Massacre over in E. Troy.

Surely some technological advances and other creations of The Erik's mind have been the most successful and significant advances in domestic, and in some ways global, technology and innovation in the motorbike trades. To just pretend Buell never existed, because that's their current business model, is foolish and short-sighted. To not receive value by offing the brand is certainly something stockholders might want to investigate.

Anyone got a contact at Investor's Business Daily or the WSJ? A sordid tabloid style display of lingering complaints from knowledgeable people might get stockholder's attention. The pen is mightier than the . . . . .

By the way, I'd like to acquire all the early Buell parts stock from the hand made years. Historical purposes and availability to the few who might need something. It certainly wouldn't be a money maker. Whom do I speak to?
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Buelet
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 02:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I can't wait to see how this all unfolds & I sincerely hope that Erik has his day and get's the last laugh, while the people at H-D get what they deserve for acting out of spite. *The sooner, the better!

I think that H-D's pps (price per share) is going to continue to sink... All IMHO.

Buell again, in 2010!
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Reindog
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 03:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Can't wait to see Erik cube a Hideous Dungcycle.
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Skully
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 04:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Amen Tom!
Keith
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Brumbear
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 06:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

So my question is how do we get the proper authorities to investigate? How do we get them to believe this new found accusation (I guess thats what it is) and act upon it with expedience? Please someone let us know and we (the buell faithful) will do all that we can do to ensure the rebirth of the Co.
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Court
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 06:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Which one of these things is NOT LIKE THE OTHERS . . . . .






Explain to me . . . just one more time . . the business case for dispatching Buell to the dumpster?

Even the Mob knows to keep personal issues out of business . . .


quote:

Tom Hagen: Your father wouldn't want to hear this, Sonny. This is business not personal.
Sonny: They shoot my father and it's business, my ass!
Tom Hagen: Even shooting your father was business not personal, Sonny!
Sonny: Well then, business is going to have to suffer. And please, do me a favor, Tom. No more advice on how to patch things up just help me win, please?


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Moxnix
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 07:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Suicide.
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Patches
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 07:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

The increase in Buell sales you show on the chart above, does that also include the the Heavy Discounted Fire Sale after the 10-15-09 announcement? some bikes were sold $5K off MSRP?
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Greg_e
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 07:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

The Harley/Victory/Buell graph is slightly deceiving in that Buell is in thousands and the other two in millions. Though the trend is certainly is the correct direction to make one question why it was killed when it was still experiencing growth or at least stability when every other manufacturer were showing decreases.

They really should have plotted all those on the same scale, would have made Buell look small, but again the direction was still upward.
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Court
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 07:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

>>>does that also include the the Heavy Discounted Fire Sale after the 10-15-09 announcement?

No.

>>>The Harley/Victory/Buell graph is slightly deceiving in that Buell is in thousands and the other two in millions.

Not the least bit deceiving, the axis is clearly labeled and we are not dealing with nominal numbers but trends. If they were on the same scale . . . Buell and Victory would be invisible to the human eye.

Be mindful that Buell's assets are 3/10,000th of 1% of Harley-Davidson's.
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M2nc
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 08:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

So if the Buell Motorcycle Company intellectual property is worthless, can I offer $1 for it?
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Jammin_joules
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 08:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Court, DaleFranks, F_Skinner,

Thank you all for your civil, informative and most adult exchange on these boards I've read in a long time. Of late, some of the bantering by newbies to Buell in the last year has taken on the flavor of the worst of blogging with no accountability, flaming and fictional diatribes. Your retracting and apologizing herein is most refreshing and is indicative of professionalism that makes boards like this invaluable when they benefit from folks like you. Hopefully folks here can learn and follow. (http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/4062/511772.html?1258332499)

Court & Dale,

To watch things uncovered by you about the initial announcements and ultimate demise of Buell, and hint of further probing, brings some sort of hope, or at least promise of understanding with time. Reading between the lines by those of us who have been inside corporate debacles get insight to what probably happened. This does not make it any more irrational but at least it provides some pieces of a complex puzzle that sill may not have an image to build to.

Please continue as you feel able, knowing a good many of us appreciate the insights.

Considering my part in a dealership that has been very aggressive and very successful in selling Buells, I do struggle with looking forward and wondering what's next with regards to the number of young riders, or development and attraction thereof.

(Message edited by jammin_joules on November 15, 2009)

(Message edited by jammin_joules on November 15, 2009)
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20buellteam
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 02:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Finally something informative and not just gut feel opinion. Thanks to Court and Dale for sharing. Looking forward to the next chapter .....the saga can't end now!
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Reepicheep
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 08:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

If anyone reading this is a financial reporter, or has an inside line to a financial reporter, could you shoot me a personal message? Thanks!
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Rfischer
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 10:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

A correction and apology:

In my posts in this thread regarding ATK, I referred to Dale Franks. Checking back in my extensive e-mail file of Highland Motors correspondence and board meeting notes, I've found that I have referred to the wrong person. The one to whom I meant to refer was Chase Bales; not Dale Franks. I have spoken to or exchanged e-mails on occasion with Dale, but he was not the person I was alluding to in my postings.

Sorry for the misinformation; it was unintentional, but wrong for all that.

R.
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Tpoppa
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 10:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Court & Dale,

The two of you should collaborate on an article. There is a story here that needs to be told.

Dale,
I read your blog periodically. I'm not sure of your volume of readers, but I have a feeling it will be increasing soon.
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Buellinachinashop
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 10:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

"Well, if that's the case how confident should a Buell owner be about the veracity of H-D's claim of warranty and parts support for the next seven years- especially on 1125 models?"

I tell you this, I wouldn't want to be a race guy trying to find parts next summer. Or now for that matter.
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Court
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 01:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

>>>The two of you should collaborate on an article. There is a story here that needs to be told.


Dead accurate and based on a couple phone calls I've had this morning . . . I suspect Mr. Frank's blog will be experiencing record traffic.

I'm still feeling bad, in my haste, for seeing "Dale" and reading it as "Dean" and teeing off.

Dale nailed it . . . actually in each of his columns with regard to Buell. Folks are starting to ask questions. I suspect you'll be reading more.
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Swordsman
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 01:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Heck Court, I'm thinking this might even make an interesting sequel for your book.

I'd love to see Harley with egg on their face once the media descends.

~SM

(Message edited by Swordsman on November 16, 2009)
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Buelet
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 01:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

If I held stock in HD, I'd like to know about the dirty dealings. I'd suggest posting information / links on your favorite investing websites. I use: http://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/board.aspx?bo ard_id=739

Maybe if HD see's their pps dropping it'll motivate them to make a deal.
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