Vroom-vroom fever is an affliction-addiction that hits young guys when they’re old enough to drive.
But instead of getting behind the wheel of a car or truck, they opt for the energy-savings, wind-in-the-hair, fast acceleration of motorcycles. Motor scooters just won’t do.
The only treatment for vroom-vroom fever is riding flat out on any highway on a big honking bike made to handle smoothly on the open road. The fever dies down in the more responsible, family-raising, job-demanding years.
There just is so little time for such fun. But it comes back around middle age as the nest starts to empty out and older guys again crave the freedom of being on a big bike. Harley-Davidson benefited from the boomerang period of vroom-vroom fever with a lot of older guys buying big, expensive motorcycles with a lot of the Harley-Davidson accessories and clothing.
After all, being a biker is a look and identity, too. But it looks as if vroom-vroom fever with all of the trimmings is starting to wane.
Quarterly earnings reports and revenue for Harley-Davidson showed it missed expectations with a reported lag in motorcycle sales. The company stock fell nearly 14 percent Tuesday, closing at $48.25, The Kansas City Star reports.
The company said it expects to ship 265,000 to 270,000 motorcycles for the year, which is off from estimates of 276,000 to 281,000. The company took in $140.3 million, or 69 cents per share, missing Wall Street expectations of 78 cents a share.
Harley-Davidson, which has a Kansas City plant and about 600 workers, said it has no plans to reduce the number of hourly employees, but early retirement incentives could occur “in a global reduction of around 250 salaried positions” expected by the end of the year, Tony Macrito, the company’s manager of corporate media relations, told The Star. Harley-Davidson has plants in Wisconsin; York, Pa.; Brazil; and India.
As baby boomers age, handling the big bikes becomes more of a challenge. Also, motorcycles leave riders a lot more vulnerable to injury and death in any crash.
The company will have to reach out to new generations of riders to continue to harness the vroom-vroom fever that got a lot of old guys when they were young men hooked on motorcycles.