That’s my Buell making it’s annual pilgrimage to HOG(NYSE) AKA Harley’s abandonned test track in the Everglades. Here’s the link to the real estate listing:  http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/16645904/5301-34th-Avenue-SE-Naples-FL/

Yup, the Motor Company, after over two years, still hasn’t been able to unload this 500 plus acre test track complete with shops and administration buildings and miles of track. As you can see from the ad, there’s a long long straightaway AND a road course. And if HOG(NYSE) ever decided to get “dirty” again, there’s those 500 acres to play in. And that’s just the tarmac and turf on the property- for miles around there’s miles and miles of empty roads and trails. Cross over to the south side of Alligator Alley and there’s more miles of roads and trails in a state forest.

And that’s just the possibilities as a test track… How about a moto-themed campground? With 500 acres to work with, should be possible for a few thousand gearheads to camp and enjoy the winter warmth with room to spare. Charge enough to break even on the camping, and soft sell the gearhead campers on HOG(NYSE) products by slow osmosis. Even put a dealership on site so buyers can test ride right there on the track.

But NOOOO… HOG(NYSE)’s top management, fresh from running a battery maker or whatever, shut the test track down in 2009 along with Buell and a bunch of other assets. Buell had just signed a lease for a larger factory, and that cost a few million to buy their way out of. Same with the contract to buy engines from Can-Am- Reputedly getting out of that long term contract cost in the tens of millions. Meanwhile, HOG(NYSE) management turned down cash offers from Can-Am and others  to buy Buell as a going operation. The management stupidity continues at the abandonnned Everglades test facility- HOG(NYSE) paid around seven million for it a decade ago, and after it hasn’t sold after over two years on the market HOG(NYSE) is still asking the same seven million dollar price. Here in South Florida, property is lucky to sell for half what it sold for a decade ago.

This seems to be some sort of communicable disease that is spreading among top executives today- I’ve seen the same stupidity at my former employer Hostess Brands, which is renting properties they’re barely using while owning properties they’re barely using. The Postal Service has the same problem, for example renting a huge warehouse in Minneapolis while not ten miles away the St.Paul Post Office they own sits largely abandonned for the new one they built a few miles away in a suburb.

Yet each of these organizations is blaming labor and demanding wage and benefit concessions while their property management is totally out of control and their products play to the past. So HOG(NYSE), Hostess, and USPS- quit blaming the help, come out with some fresh competitive products, and get your assets in order!

Advertisements