Typical Harley Owner Muammar Gaddafi

Known the world over for a nearly fanatical brand loyalty, Harley-Davidson may well rival Coca-Cola for pure global brand recognition. So H-D’s latest ad campaign, aimed at dispelling the stereotype of Harley owners as bearded, leather-clad ruffians, focuses on who the owners of their machines really are and what they’re like.

According to Italian authorities, at least one member of the Harley Fraternity is, well, a notorious despot.

Not sure that’s the kind of image Harley would want to project, but then, Donald Trump might own a couple of Harleys and maybe the Men of Milwaukee might find that unsettling as well.

You can have the Fiat stock, but give me back my ElectraGlide!

The Italian government recently seized more than $1.5 billion in assets controlled by the family of the ousted former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and one of the items they glommed onto was – a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Among other assets held by the family-run Libyan sovereign wealth fund was a 1.25 per cent stake in the nation’s largest bank, UniCredit, worth $814 million and a stake in ENI, the top foreign energy producer in Libya. The seizures also included stakes in Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica, and a stake in Italian carmaker Fiat and truck maker Fiat Industrial.

According to police, the former Libyan dictator also owned stock in the Italian football club Juventus and one of his sons, Saadi, once served on the football club’s board of directors.

The legal framework for the seizures came from rulings handed down by the European Union and many of the assets had already been frozen at the start of the Libyan rebellion last year.

Most of the Italian holdings were piled up by Gaddafi after he and Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, signed a “friendship treaty” in 2008.

In the United States, Harley-Davidson is the number one-selling brand for youths shopping for motorcycles in the 651cc and over market segment, and the Motor Company holds almost 50 per cent of the American under-35 market, at least according to RL Polk.

I’d be willing to bet that, of all those assets seized by various governments around the world, the one the Gaddafi family will miss the most is that HOG. Okay, coming up a billion short at the end of the month might hurt a little as well…


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