Harley-Davidson had quite an eventful 2021. Guided by CEO Jochen Zeitz’s Hardwire strategy, the Motor Company posted gains in Q1 and Q2, but also juggled proposed European Union tariff increases and supply chain-imposed 2-percent surcharges. Coming off a $96.4M loss in Q4 2020, Harley had an uphill battle on its hands, but the brand turned its fortunes around by the end of the year, reporting a 40-percent revenue increase in the final quarter of 2021.
The latest numbers bode well for Zeitz’s Hardwire plan, with the Bar and Shield recording a $1.02B revenue in Q4 alone. That’s an impressive figure when compared to the $725M profit posted during the same period in 2020. The $21.6M revenue bump increased Harley share prices by 14 cents, which equates to a 15-percent growth at $41.73 per share.
Under H-D's Hardwire plan, the brand discontinued underperforming platforms, invested in selective expansion (adventure bike market), and leaned into lifestyle products and accessories. The firm also focused on the North American, European, and specific Asia-Pacific regions to minimize costs and maximize profits.
While Harley’s Q4 2021 motorcycle sales were up 8 percent compared to the same time in 2020, the MoCo netted a 22-percent sales increase in North America and an 8-percent improvement worldwide throughout 2021. During that time, Harley boosted revenue by 32 percent and gained a record $415M in operating income thanks in part to its financial services arm and the new certified pre-owned motorcycle program.
Despite doubling down on heavyweight cruisers and touring models, the brand continues to grow, but that doesn’t mean Harley-Davidson won’t face similar challenges in 2022.
"It's a question of supply, not a question of demand," noted Zeitz. "The supply chain issues are not going away. In fact, they intensify going into the year."
Thanks to the Motor Company’s recent performance, analysts expect a 5-10-percent revenue growth in 2022. Hopefully, by this time in 2023, we’ll be able to report even more encouraging news from Milwaukee.