Saturday, April 13, 2024


The preamble to every set of results from Harley-Davidson in recent times has stressed what enormous efforts the company is making to attract new customers and reverse uninterrupted decline. Latest nine-monthly figures for 2019 show that these objectives still remain beyond its reach. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Global revenue across the three quarters in question fell by 6.2% to £3.282bn. The portion attributable to sales of motorcycles and related products was 7.8% down to £2.862bn. Revenue from consumer credit and dealer inventory funding services grew by 5.9% to £457.3m. Operating profit for the period plunged by 23.5% to £420.4m and net profit took a 22.8% dive to £317.4m.

Harley has shipped 173,485 bikes into its dealer networks worldwide so far this year, a 6.3% reduction. Domestic shipments were 6.1% down to 101,481 and those aimed at international markets dropped by 6.6% to 72,004. In the fourth quarter, about 38,500 to 43,500 should be added to this wholesale tally.

Global retail bike sales volume sank by 4.9% to 179,519. US sales were 5.6% lower on 105,756, giving the brand a 49.4% market share of some 213,877 domestic over-600cc registrations — which, in turn, fell by 3.9%. So Harley is still losing ground on home turf to competitors. Its total international retail volume shrank by 3.9% to 73,763.

In Europe, Harley’s biggest export destination, retail sales retreated by 7.6% to 32,326. European over-600cc registrations actually grew by 6.8% to 371,412 in the same period. Therefore the Harley market share deteriorated from 10.1% to 8.7%.

A solitary positive note could be found in Harley’s second-largest export market, the Asia-Pacific region, which grew by 1.6% to 21,822. This was very much a case of winning on the swings and losing on the roundabouts, though. While sales are expanding in South-East Asian countries within the ASEAN free trade area, owing to a new tariff-busting Harley plant in Thailand, they are contracting elsewhere, most notably in Australia.  



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