Harley-Davidson Dealers Experiment With Lease-Like Offers

Several Harley-Davidson dealerships launched special programs recently to guarantee the trade-in value of a motorcycle when it’s traded for a more expensive bike within a year, according to a published report. The new program points to dealers developing creative ways to offer a short-term, lease-like program, without actually offering leases.

Harley-Davidson of Madison’s program, for example, allows customers who purchase a new Sportster or Street model, the opportunity to get the bike’s original price credited toward the purchase of a touring bike a year later. The only limitation is the trade-in bike cannot have more than 5,000 miles on it, and must still be in “good shape,” according to the report. The promotion may be offered through June.

While the trade-in promotion is not offered through Harley-Davidson Inc., but rather through the dealership directly, Harley-Davidson Inc. did launch no-money-down, low-interest financing on select new 2017 Sportsters and Streets in early May. The incentive is valid through Harley-Davidson Financial Services until July 31, according to the OEM’s website.

Harley-Davidson of Madison isn’t the only dealership getting creative with its offerings. A northern-based franchise dealer, who wished to remain unnamed, is looking into non-traditional leasing programs.

“I think that there is a great deal of opportunity on the leasing side, but in ways that are a little more creative than just a [traditional] lease,” the franchise dealer previously told Powersports Finance. “We are playing around with a couple creative ideas for that,” the dealer said, although he declined to specify if the program will be offered through HDFS.

“Leasing is — in my mind — part of our focus, and it’s clearly an opportunity, but not necessarily in a traditional sense,” he said. “There is a great deal of untapped interest and opportunity, but how you approach it is really the key. The demand for [traditional] bike leasing, I’m not sure exists anyways. We are talking about [an] entirely different model. We agree it’s an area we think should be explored.”

Other dealerships, such a New Berlin, Wis.-based Hal’s Harley-Davidson, is offering buy-back programs on used bikes, according to its website. Customers can buy any pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycle from the dealership, ride it for up to 5,000 miles, and get the purchase amount credited toward a new 2018 model.

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