Harley-Davidson Inks Deal With EagleRider for Rental Program

Harley-Davidson Motor Co. formed an exclusive partnership with EagleRider to develop a motorcycle rental program, the companies announced yesterday.

EagleRider will exclusively offer current model year Harley-Davidson motorcycle fleets in the touring and large cruiser motorcycle segments, serviced by Harley-Davidson-trained technicians.

Many of the EagleRider pick-up and drop-off points will now be located in 700 Harley-Davidson dealerships across the U.S., providing customers with an expanded network of locations to begin or end their rental.

“For the first time, customers nationwide will be able to pick up a motorcycle near their home, take their dream trip, and drop off the same motorcycle near their destination, something that was not possible except in a few locations,” according to the release.

“This strategic deal with EagleRider supports our efforts to grow ridership by making it easier for more riders to throw a leg over and experience the thrill of riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle across our great country,” Mike Kennedy, Harley-Davidson vice president and managing director, said in a press release.

EagleRider was founded in 1992 by Chris McIntyre and Jeff Brown with four Harley-Davidson motorcycles in a Los Angeles garage. Since then, the rental company has grown to serve more than 100,000 riders annually.

The new program will include short- and long-term rentals, according to a spokesperson for Harley-Davidson Motor Co. However, it is unclear what the long-term rental limits are, or whether the program will offer consumers a “lease-like” option. The spokesperson did not specify the limitations, and EagleRider did not comment by press time.

Powersports Finance reported last month that Harley-Davidson Motor Co. was poised to offer a “lease-like” program through one of the “big agencies” in the rental space to offer non-traditional leases. The program could operate similarly to a lease, where a consumer can finance the motorcycle for a specified amount of time and, at the end of the term, there would be a guaranteed buyback by the manufacturer,  said a source who asked to remain unnamed.

Harley-Davidson Financial Services offered a true leasing program about 10 years ago or so, near the financial collapse, the source said. “They wanted to drive down the cost of monthly payments on big heavyweight cruisers and touring bikes. However, the utilization was very poor for two reasons: One is that [leasing] added another dynamic from a financing perspective,” he said. Dealers already struggle with navigating the waters of all the different finance programs, and then HDFS added leasing to the mix, he added.

The second reason is that leasing is “a little more convoluted, because the consumer doesn’t own the paper,” he said. Consumers would try to get the payments down, and they were less tied to the brand itself. “With leasing, [consumers] never felt like they owned the unit, so even though they could save $50 to $100 a month, consumers were more apt to do longer credit terms than leasing,” the source added.

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