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HARLEY STRUGGLING AT HOME?

Dealer surveys conducted by US financial analysts suggest that Harley-Davidson has experienced a far weaker second-quarter domestic sales performance than anticipated.

After a first quarter subdued by harsh winter weather, Wall Street analysts had predicted double-digit growth driven by pent-up demand in the warmer three months to the end of June. But they are now revising their forecasts sharply downwards as Harley’s quarterly results announcement approaches.

Negative reports from Wells Fargo Securities, William Blair and UBS Investment Research  are already affecting Harley’s share price, which has fallen by 4.6 per cent against a parallel S&P 500 stock index gain of almost seven per cent.

Late or non-arrival of new smaller-capacity Street models in dealerships, due to unspecified delivery issues, was cited as a factor by one researcher. And there is a sceptical consensus view that the PR blitz surrounding presentation of Harley’s Livewire electric cruiser prototype — a machine that the company admits it has no plans to manufacture and market at the moment — was a gimmick designed to both distract investors and drive customers into showrooms.

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