The Harley-Davidson Owners Group, or HOG, is the biggest events organiser and charity fundraiser in the world, according to HD Asia-Pacific customer experience manager Martin Engelbrecht.
Martin says Harley is not only the number-one road bike company in Australia and New Zealand, but HOG is also a worldwide leader in organising events and raising funds for charity.
He says one in three new Harley owners is a HOG member and there are now more than 1 million HOGs worldwide, including 23,000 in Australia and 3000 in New Zealand.
“They are ambassadors for the brand, they spruik our product, they organise events and they raise money for charity,” he says. “They basically do the marketing for the dealers.”
His reasoning for the owners’ group being the biggest events company and charity raiser is based on statistics: There are 1500 dealers worldwide, each with a chapter and each organising a ride once a week or once a month, with major events each year.
That’s about 80,000 events each year and most of those raise money for charities.
“There are four basic principles of HOG; non-political, non-religious, family oriented and non-profit, so their functions raise money for charities,” Martin says.
But the member organisation is also big business for Harley, which is why they spend so much time and money on them.
Martin says HOGs ride 27% more than non-members, spend 117% more on accessories, 57% more on general merchandise and buy one in every three new Harleys.
“There are many people doing their MBAs by studying the HOG business plan, because it is the most successful owners group in the world.”
In 2015, Harley-Davidson sold 264,627 motorcycles, up 1.3% on 2014.
When Harley-Davidson reported fourth-quarter earnings back in January, it noted it was targeting its new outreach customers (females, young riders, Hispanics and African-Americans) more than its core customers.
Outreach customer growth hit 6.5%, ahead of its core base and double the rate of industry growth.