On April 27, 2023, Harley-Davidson announced its 2023 Q1 financial results on an earnings call. Consolidated revenue was up 20 percent over the same period in 2021, covering reporting from all three of the Motor Company’s reporting segments: Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC), Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS), and LiveWire. HDMC includes the brand’s motorcycles, parts and accessories, apparel, and licensing; HDFS covers financing for both Harley and LiveWire motorcycles; LiveWire includes LiveWire electric motorcycles, as well as StaCyc balance bikes.
While consolidated revenues were up, diving into motorcycle sales tells a different story. For those unfamiliar, Harley-Davidson records motorcycle shipments and motorcycle sales as separate concepts and numbers. It’s worth hanging onto that differentiation in your mind when we get to LiveWire reporting, as well.
For Q1 2023, Harley-Davidson Retail Motorcycle Sales were down as compared to Q1 2022 results in almost every global market except for Asia Pacific, where it showed modest sales growth.
In North America—the company’s biggest single market—Harley sold 26,000 bikes in Q1 of 2023, as compared to 31,200 in Q1 of 2022, recording a drop of 17 percent. In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Q1 2023 sales were 5,900, which represents a drop of 6 percent compared with the 6,300 bikes it sold in Q1 2022.
Over in Asia Pacific, it sold 6,900 bikes in Q1 of 2023, which represents a three percent rise over the 6,700 bikes it sold in the region in Q1 of 2022. Moving over to Latin America, it sold 600 bikes in Q1 of 2023, as compared to the 800 it sold in Q1 of 2022. That represents a 25 percent decrease in sales year-on-year in that market. Total global retail motorcycle sales added up to 39,400 bikes sold in Q1 of 2023, as compared to 45,000 in Q1 of 2022—a drop of 12 percent in worldwide sales for the quarter year-on-year.
Remember how we mentioned that Harley records shipments separately from sales in its reporting? Over in the LiveWire segment, the only numbers that Harley provides are shipment numbers—not sales numbers. In Q1 of 2023, a total of 63 LiveWire One motorcycles were shipped (no zeros missing, that’s 63 total bikes). Back in Q1 of 2022, a total of 97 LiveWires were shipped, including 72 LiveWire Ones and 25 Harley-Davidson LiveWires (this was during the transitional naming period for the company as it shifted identities). That marks a drop of 35 percent in LiveWire shipments year on year.
LiveWire’s revenue decreased by 25 percent for Q1 of 2023 as well, which the company attributes to lower sales of both its core LiveWire bikes and also the StaCyc balance bikes for kids. It also reported an operating loss of $25 million, which it attributes both to development costs and the general expenses involved with starting a new organization and spinning LiveWire off from its parent company.
While those numbers are negative in the short term, they still fall in line with the company’s stated 2023 financial outlook guidance. Over the course of the year, it is aiming for between 750 and 2,000 LiveWire sales and a total yearly operating loss of between $115 and $125 million as it continues to expand and establish itself in the market. It will be interesting to see how LiveWire’s new presence in several European countries affects its overall sales.