Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson started 2023 with a 20% increase in revenue for the first quarter and a 37% increase in its net income.
The motorcycle maker reported total revenue of nearly $1.79 billion for the first quarter, up from almost $1.5 billion at this time in 2022.
The increase was driven by a 23% increase in motorcycle revenue to $1.3 billion for the quarter. Apparel revenue was up 39% to $71 million while parts and accessories revenue increased $3 million to $168 million.
For the year, Harley is forecasting revenue at its motorcycle business will be up 4% to 7%
Revenue at Harley-Davidson Financial Services increased 16% to $223 million while the LiveWire segment saw revenue drop from $10 million to $8 million in the first quarter.
The Harley motorcycle segment was also the driver of increased profitability, reporting operating income of $336 million, up 53% from this past year. In financial services, operating income was down 32% to $58 million and LiveWire reported an operating loss of $25 million.
Despite the strong start to the year for Harley as a company, retail sales of its motorcycles were down 12% worldwide, including a 17% decline in North America. The company attributed the drop to the timing of its new product launches and shifting macroeconomic conditions.
Wholesale shipment of motorcycles increased 14% to 62,200 as the company built inventory in dealerships ahead of the riding season.
LiveWire, which is not included in the above figures, shipped a total of 63 units in the quarter, down from 97 the prior year. The company, which is now its own publicly traded entity primarily owned by Harley, is focused on the launch of its Del Mar model, which offers an electric motorcycle at a much lower price than the original LiveWire One. The brand is also in the midst of launching in Europe.
The combination of a new market and a new model are expected to boost LiveWire over the course of the year. The company is forecasting it will ship 750 to 2,000 units this year.
Until then, most of LiveWire’s revenue comes from the sale of Stacyc balance bikes for kids. Stacyc revenue was down 22% in the quarter to $6.3 million as LiveWire’s channel partner took a more conservative approach to inventory management.