Harley-Davidson CEO on creating the motorcycle "experience"


(CBS News) Harley-Davidson Motorcycles is celebrating its 110th anniversary this month, and it's releasing eight new bikes to mark the occasion.

But what is it about these motorcycles that has become part of the American landscape?

Keith Wandell, chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson, said on "CBS This Morning," it's about personal expression. "This year we're celebrating our 110th anniversary. So there's been 110 years of people being able to express personal freedom through riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles and coming to the rallies and, you know, participating with a cross-section of people. And it's really about the experience more than it is the product. ... We're really selling an experience for a lifetime. It goes beyond the product and it's all about the expression of personal freedom."

Wandell said the company has been working to reach out to female and younger riders, as well as minority riders, such as African-American and Hispanic riders. "We have been successful in increasing our sales and extending the family," he said.

The company has transformed itself in recent years, according to Wandell, from design to manufacturing. He said, "Number one is how we design and develop and bring products to market more quickly for our dealers and our customers. Number two is how we manufacture them in a more flexible way to get the bikes where they need to be when they need to be there and third is being customer-led at retail."

Harley-Davidson is projected to ship 259,000 to 264,000 motorcycles to dealers worldwide in 2013, and production is up approximately 4.5 to 6.5 percent from 2012.

For more with Wandell on Harley-Davidson, including the safety of motorcycles, watch his full interview above.