chapter  13
44 Pages

Doing Business in the Industrialized Countries

Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company was established in 1903 by William Harley, Walter William, and Arthur Davidson, who built their first three motorcycles in a shed in Milwaukee. In 1909, the company introduced its trademark bike: a two cylinder, V-twin engine (the fastest motorcycle at that time), able to reach speeds of 60mph. However, a few years later the competition was becoming stiffer. During World War I, the demand for US motorcycles grew tremendously overseas. As a result, Harley-Davidson (HD) became a leader in innovative engineering in the 1920s. With the introduction of the front brake and “teardrop” gas tanks, Harley was quickly developing its mystic appearance. The industry, which was thriving after World War I, was diminishing quickly as a result of the Great Depression. As one of only two remaining motorcycle companies, HD survived because of exports and sales to the police and military.