On October 26, 2023, Harley-Davidson reported its 2023 Q3 financial results. While CEO Jochen Zeitz specifically called out the positive news that CVO retail sales are up 25 percent, a closer look at both revenue and motorcycles sales figures unfortunately paints a less rosy picture.
As a refresher, Harley-Davidson's reporting format segments the company into three parts: Harley-Davidson Motor Company (all motorcycles except LiveWire), Harley-Davidson Financial Services, and LiveWire. This structure has been how the Motor Company has handled its financial reporting ever since it spun LiveWire off into its own company in 2022.
Together, all three segments of Harley-Davidson form Harley-Davidson Incorporated, which is the overall entity that reports Consolidated Financial Results. Year on year, the Motor Company reported a 24 percent drop in profits over Q3 of 2022. Reuters noted that stock shares fell by 11 percent in response to this news.
Since this is RideApart, not StockTickerApart, what we really want to know about is motorcycle sales. How did those do?
Harley-Davidson reported that retail motorcycle sales for all its bikes (excluding LiveWire) were down in all geographic regions for Q3 of 2023. Overall, worldwide sales dropped by 16 percent year on year.
Here’s the breakdown of sales by region. In North America, the Motor Company saw a 15 percent drop in Q3 2023 sales as compared to the same period in 2022. In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (which count as one region, called EMEA for short) sales were down by 13 percent. For Asia Pacific, sales dropped by 24 percent. Finally, in Latin America, sales dropped by 11 percent in Q3 of 2023.
What about LiveWire? One thing to keep in mind is that Harley does something a little different when reporting its LiveWire numbers. While its ICE Harley-Davidson Motor Company figures all refer directly to motorcycle sales in each region, as well as worldwide, its LiveWire figures don’t do the same. Instead, they refer to “Electric Motorcycle Shipments,” not sales.
With that in mind, what we can tell you for Q3 of 2023 is that a total of 50 LiveWire electric motorcycles were recorded as shipped in Q3 of 2023. That represents a 76 percent decrease over Q3 2022 LiveWire shipments, which totaled 206 a year ago. (And no, we’re not missing a zero—the figure really does say that 50 bikes were shipped.)
To be completely fair, LiveWire is still in its early stages, and a lot of new technologies and ventures aren’t immediately successful. Also, the company only recently began selling its bikes in Europe.
While riders in Europe and Asia have been quicker to adopt electric motorbikes in general, riders in the US mostly haven’t been. As LiveWire establishes itself in Europe and markets outside the US, particularly with the S2 Del Mar, it will hopefully find a more receptive audience.