Harley-Davidson has become a far more profitable company in 2011 even though it only sold 233,117 motorcycles. (In 2006 they had sold 349, 196 motorcycles)

Cost cutting measures implemented by Keith Wandell saw the company save $217 million dollars by slashing their work force at the York plant by some 950 + jobs. They also negotiated a contract that sees their employees wages held until 2017.  Their plants in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have also experienced job losses.

As a business owner, I understand outsourcing and cost watching/cutting - it is the life blood of business, but when you are a publicly traded company the dollar is the only "God" investors know and humanity gets stripped from the equation.

What do I mean by that? Well, in the name of profitability, the employee at Harley-Davidson saw their lifestyle and ability to earn a living reduced - many lost their jobs, almost all saw their incomes held or reduced but not in the boardroom.

Begin Quote: 
The top five executives at Harley-Davidson Inc. earned almost $5.7 million in bonuses in 2011.

Keith Wandell, president/chief executive officer: $2,803,233 bonus, $7,232,147 total pay.

John Olin senior vice president/chief financial officer: $611,123 bonus $1,785,030 total pay.

Matthew Levatich, president/chief operating officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Co.: $1,117,093 bonus,$3,065,869 total pay.

Lawrence Hund, president/chief operating officer, Harley-Davidson Financial Services: $737,917 bonus,$2,398,907 total pay.

Paul Jones, vice president/general counsel: $389,390 bonus, $1,007,524 total pay. End Quote

I understand that you need to pay good people well - you pay them for doing the tough jobs but I do find it hard to understand why top executives who already earn a great wage need to be paid bonuses for cutting other people out of the pay equation completely.  I guess that is why I will never run a publicly traded company.

I don't think I could take a bonus on the backs of those who loose their conscience wouldn't let me.

What are your thoughts on H-D and the bonuses paid to their executives?

In other news:
In the US - Motorcycle Super Store has been bought out by MAG - Motorsports Aftermarket Group

The Marines are taking motorcycle safety seriously

In Europe, Knievel Cycles has had two fat tire motorcycles approved for that market: the Patriot Pro-Street and the Patriot Chopper.

In New Zealand, the Rebels are causing a stink by having purchased some land for their clubhouse.

There's an interesting article on biker hangouts in Singapore

From sports to gadgets for your garage, and everything in between, there is lots in the news feeds today at where we sift through the news, so you don't have to!

I am getting packed and ready to head out to the Toronto National Motorcycle & Tattoo Show - and am looking forward to seeing a ton of riders and being able to report on the riding community and their machines, travels and dreams!

I leave you with a few funnies shared with me by friends on Facebook and through emails...hope they bring a smile to your face.

Have a fabulous Hump day everyone!

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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  1. Canadian Sunrise5:20 PM

    I guess what really pisses me the most is the Harley Davidson is an American icon, yet when I look at the tag on my Harely leathers, where does it say they are manufactured? China. Jayzuz H ... that is one really sad statement. I guess it's more interested in being a Wall Street icon than an American icon.