With sales plummeting again, 2017 is shaping up to be an annus horribilis for the world's most recognizable motorcycle brand.
Harley-Davidson Sales Drop Again in Third Quarter of 2017
US sales down 8.1 percent, but market share increases
Third quarter results released by Harley-Davidson this week show the iconic American brand is continuing to struggle, with worldwide retail sales down 6.9 percent compared to the same time period last year.
The Milwaukee company's U.S. retail motorcycle sales were down 8.1 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, though Harley-Davidson reps point out that the overall U.S. industry is down 9.2 percent for the same period. Harley says the weak industry conditions were created in part by the impacts of hurricanes in the southeast and Texas. On the positive side, Harley-Davidson's U.S. market share for the quarter was 53.1 percent in the 601cc-plus segment – up compared to the same quarter in 2016.
Harley-Davidson’s international retail motorcycle sales – where the company has been trying to dramatically increase its influence – decreased 4.6 percent compared to the third quarter in 2016. Third quarter net income was $68.2 million on consolidated revenue of $1.15 billion versus net income of $114.1 million on consolidated revenue of $1.27 billion in the third quarter of 2016.
“The continued weakness in the U.S. motorcycle industry only heightens our resolve and the intensity we are bringing to the quest to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders,” said Matt Levatich, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson. “Launching 100 new high-impact motorcycles is a critical part of our 10-year journey, and the all new Softail lineup is a significant statement of our commitment.”
Levatich said that despite the continuing downward trend Harley-Davidson will stick to its guns in terms of strategy.
“Our investments in new product and marketing are targeted to drive ridership growth," he said. "We have the strategies, plans and people to make it happen.”
Harley-Davidson continues to expect to ship 241,000 to 246,000 motorcycles to dealers worldwide in 2017, which is down approximately 6 percent to 8 percent from 2016. In the fourth quarter, the company expects to ship 46,700 to 51,700 motorcycles compared to 42,414 motorcycles shipped in the year-ago period. The company continues to expect full-year 2017 operating margin to be down approximately 1 percentage point compared to 2016. The company continues to expect 2017 capital expenditures to be $200 million to $220 million.