Case Assignment
External Analysis of the Motorcycle Industry
You are going to cover quite a bit of ground in this Case Assignment because you are tasked with considering what might be included in a PEST and Porter’s 5 Forces analysis of Harley-Davidson’s external environment.
Before you start to write (though you might want to take some notes), spend some time considering what might go into such a PEST analysis and also consider what a strategic manager at H-D might include in a Porter’s 5 Forces analysis in considering this organization’s external environment.
Some of the more interesting things happening in H-D’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 H-D motorcycle, though H-D 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).
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 H-D 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. Your paper should be 4–5 pages.

Required Reading
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 H-D.  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 H-D’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 H-D’s international business strategy:
TDi Media, (2010).  An analysis on 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 H-D since 2006, so do not rely 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 are a few documents related to PEST and Porter’s 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:


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