Recession, production cuts fuel demand for used bikes

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OEMs’ slower production over the last year or two is starting to generate more demand for used bikes to feed demand.

"There is a little bit of a scramble now for inventory," says Chaz Hastings, owner of Milwaukee Harley-Davidson. In December he had an offer from a Harley dealer in Europe to buy 24 used bikes, but he couldn’t spare them.

"I would be in a lot of trouble now if I had done it," he told the Chicago Tribune.

"I think people are starting to come out from being cooped up financially," says Dan Burdett, GM at Action Power Sports.

Buyers are still watching their budgets, and used bikes fit the bill.

"Now if you can get a used 2006 Fat Boy for $12,000, it opens up the market to a lot more people," Hastings says. "As the economy comes out of the funk we have been in, people are being more careful about how they spend their money."

Wholesale prices at industry auctions are up about 30 percent over the last two months, Burdett observes.

Reduced production at Harley-Davidson and other OEMs is having the desired effect of stoking demand. Some dealers worried about getting flooded with used Sportsters after a national sales promotion that protected the trade-in value, but Hastings says curtailed production headed that off.

Posted by Holly Wagner