Harley Invades Africa

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Case Questions

  1. According to Harley-Davidson’s Africa country manager, Celine Gruizinga, “No one who comes here is going to make a quick buck. It’s no small feat. It’s a type of commitment that takes decades.” Let’s say that you’re the CEO of a publicly owned U.S. company that manufactures fashion footwear. You’re interested in getting involved in the sub-Saharan Africa market, which will eventually total 1.1 billion middle-class consumers—50 years from now. You need to decide which sort of globalization strategy would work best for you: exporting, licensing, joint venture (or some other form of strategic alliance), or direct investment. Generally speaking—and given Gruizinga’s warning—what are the pros and cons of each option?
  2. As it happens, Celine Gruizinga is also Harley’s first-ever female country manager. She’s also an avid Harley rider. The company is targeting women buyers in sub-Saharan Africa, who already account for 26 percent of Harley riders in a region where the company reports “a significant increase in the number of both white and black women riders.” Interestingly, Harley is also targeting women in the United States. What kinds of marketing appeals might Harley make to female consumers in both markets? What kinds of appeals will probably have to be distinctive for each market? Why do you think more women are interested in buying Harleys?
  3. Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa. It’s oil rich, and the economy is growing rapidly, driven by agriculture, telecommunications, and services. The banking sector is strong. Unfortunately, Nigeria is also a serious security risk. How should Harley-Davidson proceed with any plans to do business in Nigeria? (“Cautiously” is a good answer, but try to be more thorough in analyzing the situation.)

Case References

  • Joris Fioriti, “Meet the Elephant’s Bikers, Côte d’Ivoire’s Version of Hells Angels,” Voices of Africa (South Africa), November 27, 2013, www.voicesofafrica.co.za, accessed on January 1, 2017; Anthony Volastro, “Harleys, Hogs and Hells Angels Ride on Africa,” CNBC, December 5, 2013, www.cnbc.com, accessed on January 2, 2017; Elaine King, “Motorcycling: Harley-Davidson Rides into Africa,” Financial Mail (South Africa), May 22, 2017, www.financialmail.co.za, accessed on January 2, 2017; Zwelakhe Shangase, “Mike Rides in for Harley,” The New Age (South Africa), March 21, 2013, www.thenewage.co.za, accessed on January 1, 2017; Sulaiman Philip, “South Africa’s Black Middle Class on the Rise,” Media Club South Africa, November 22, 2013, www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com, accessed on January 1, 2017; and “The World’s Fastest-Growing Middle Class,” UHY International, July 12, 2012, www.uhy.com, accessed on January 2, 2017.
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