Harley-Davidson Motor Company (often abbreviated H-D or Harley) is an American motorcycle manufacturer. Founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the first decade of the 20th century, it was one of two major American manufacturers to survive the Great Depression. Harley-Davidson also survived a media-accelerated negative image of motorcyclists, a period of poor quality control, and competition with Japanese manufacturers.
The company sells heavyweight (over 750 cc) motorcycles designed for cruising on the highway. Harley-Davidson motorcycles (popularly known as "Harleys") have a distinctive design and exhaust note. They are especially noted for the tradition of heavy customization that gave rise to the chopper-style of motorcycle. Except for the modern VRSC model family, current Harley-Davidson motorcycles reflect the styles of classic Harley designs. Harley-Davidson's attempts to establish itself in the light motorcycle market have met with limited success and have largely been abandoned since the 1978 sale of its Italian Aermacchi subsidiary.
Harley-Davidson sustains a loyal brand community which keeps active through clubs, events, and a museum. Licensing of the Harley-Davidson logo accounts for almost 5% of the company's net revenue.
In addition to manufacturing motorcycles under its own name and its licensing and accessories line, Harley-Davidson's operations include Custom Vehicle Operations, which makes special editions of Harley models with larger engines, the Buell Motorcycle Company, a manufacturer of Harley-engined sportbikes and a middleweight "beginner" bike, and Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta, including their Cagiva subsidiary.
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