The recent years' trend of very gradual decline in terms of Harley-Davidson's earnings and sales has continued into the first quarter of 2017.

The Milwaukee-based company released its financial report Tuesday, showing that sales of motorcycles are down slightly over the same quarter last year. Harley reported it had sold 33,316 units in United States in the first three months of 2017; that's down 5.7 percent from last year's numbers. Meanwhile, worldwide sales stood at 55,049 units – down 4.2 percent over last year.

Harley-Davidson’s Earning Per Share (EPS) for the first quarter 2017 decreased 22.8 percent to $1.05 compared to $1.36 in the same period of 2016. First quarter net income was $186.4 million on consolidated revenue of $1.50 billion versus net income of $250.5 million on consolidated revenue of $1.75 billion in the first quarter of last year.

"First quarter U.S. retail sales were in line with our projections and we remain confident in our full-year plan despite international retail sales being down in the first quarter," said Matt Levatich, CEO, Harley-Davidson.

Harley-Davidson says the decline in retail motorcycle sales in the United States were in line with expectations and reflect an overall sluggishness in U.S. industry for the same period. The company's long-term strategy through 2027 is focused on five objectives:

  1. Build 2 million new Harley-Davidson riders in the United States.
  2. Grow international business to 50 percent of annual volume.
  3. Launch 100 new, high-impact motorcycles (That works out 10 new motorcycles a year! Looking forward to it! –Ed)
  4. Deliver superior return on invested capital for Harley-Davidson Motor Company (S&P 500 top 25 percent)
  5. Grow the business without growing its environmental impact.

At the end of the first quarter of 2017, cash and marketable securities totaled $844.7 million, compared to $739.1 million in 2016. Harley-Davidson generated $159.9 million of cash from operating activities in the first quarter of 2017 compared to $41.1 million in the same period of 2016. The company paid a cash dividend of $0.365 per share for the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 4.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016. On a discretionary basis, the company repurchased 1.2 million shares of its common stock during the first quarter of 2017 for $70.9 million.

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