Harley tempers forecast on lower sales

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. today reported that motorcycle sales declined 1.3 percent year-over year during the first quarter, which Harley attributed in the U.S. to increased, aggressive pricing of motorcycles by competitors.

As a result of the dip, the company has tempered its forecast to reflect motorcycle shipment growth of 2 to 4 percent in 2015, compared to its earlier prediction of 4 to 6 percent shipment growth.

“Given the first-quarter retail results, and ongoing, increased levels of aggressive competitive discounting in the U.S. which we expect will continue, we are taking the precautionary step of lowering our estimated growth rate for full-year motorcycle shipments in order to manage supply in line with demand and protect the premium nature of our brand,” said Keith Wandell, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson Inc.

Harley reported first quarter net income of $269.9 million, or $1.27 per share, up from $265.9 million, or $1.21 per share, in the first quarter of 2014.

Operating income was $410.1 million, down from $410.9 million in the same period a year ago.

Revenue was $1.5 billion, down from $1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2014. The company attributed the decrease to an unfavorable foreign currency exchange and slightly lower motorcycle shipments.

“While the first quarter had its share of headwinds, our business is strong and we remain clearly focused on executing Harley-Davidson’s strategy to be customer-led in everything we do, grow our reach among new customers in the U.S., grow internationally and continuously improve every aspect of our operations,” Wandell said. “We continue to manage Harley-Davidson for long-term performance from a position of great strength.”

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display