Australian HOG membership has surged off the back of record Harley-Davidson sales and a “new era” of inclusivity, according to Harley-Davidson Australia customer experience manager Garry “Gaz” Luxmore.
The 46th HOG Chapter begins today with a sign-on of members for the new Bayside Chapter at the Adelaide Harley-Davidson Bike Works dealership which opened its doors just before Christmas 2015.
Charter members will receive a free barbecue with sign-on from 9am to 1pm.
Gaz says there are now 46 HOG Chapters in Australia with 24,357 members and six in New Zealand with 3305 members.
“The growth lately has been phenomenal going from 24,000 at the start of December to over 27,000,” he says.
Sales have been a big driver in the increased number of HOG members, he says.
Every customer who buys a new Harley gets a free one-year HOG Membership and there are plenty of them with HD now the top road motorcycle company in Australia, ahead of Honda.
Australia really is bucking the trend with sales up 14.1% to 9790 last year compared with worldwide Harley sales down1% to 46,857 in the last quarter and 3.4% in the US.
“There’s also been a massive increase in renewals which we put down to several things including HOG chapters getting back to basics which is riding and having fun.
“They are starting to realise that they need to enjoy the brother and sisterhood and the camaraderie. They are starting to realise that it’s fun to be a member.
“They are also becoming more Inclusive rather than exclusive. In the past if you were not a HOG member you couldn’t ride with them, but now, if you own a Harley, you can go on a ride.
“We’ve been asking them to open up a bit and get others to experience the camaraderie.
“Even the existing Adelaide Chapter is not seeing this new Chapter as competition. They are welcoming them. It’s all about inclusivity. We’re all brothers and sisters together.”
The inclusive policy extends to the national HOG rally which is now called Harley Days and is open to riders on all types of bikes, but retains some exclusive elements for HOG members.
The first open HOG rally was the Iron Run in Queenstown, New Zealand, last year with another Iron Run in March in Paihia.
The first Australian Harley Days HOG rally will be held in Wollongong from October 28-30.
Gaz says the past few national rallies have been successful and contributed toward members renewing their membership.
He also says women and younger riders are joining HOG.
“We’re seeing a lot more women joining LOH (Ladies of HOG) and women saying they want to be a rider, not just sit on the back,” he says.
“There is a lot growth in families because we are a family oriented safe fun club. Members want to ride safely in a safe environment.
“We’re also getting more young people through on the (learner-approved) Street 500.”