So far, 2019 has proved a dismal year for Harley-Davidson’s sales. Total revenue for January to March was 10.2% down to £1.068bn. Worldwide wholesale shipments to dealers tumbled by 7.9% to just 58,891 machines. Operating profit plunged by 29.3% to £129m and net profit fell by 26.8% to £98.8m.
Global retail sales dropped by 3.8% to 49,151 bikes. Domestic sales were 4.4% down to 28,091 units. This just about beat the overall 4.7% decline in the US market which meant HD slightly increased its market share.
Seizing this one piece of good news, Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich gushed “We are acting with agility and discipline to take full advantage of rapidly evolving global markets. US market share growth and retail sales performance in the first quarter are further evidence of the effects we are having as we continue to implement and dial-in our More Roads efforts. We are driven by our unparalleled rider focus and deep analytics that are guiding our efforts today and into the future. We, along with our dealers, are determined to lead and stimulate global industry growth.”
... sounds to me like corporate nonsense of the worst kind.
In the meantime, international sales were down 3.3% to 21,060 bikes. European figures dropped by 2.1% to 9508. Asia-Pacific markets (including major players like Japan and Australia) dipped by 4% to 6074 even though Harley claims its new factory in Thailand has already started to boost sales in the region.
My feeling is that people have started to realise that Harley-Davidsons are not very good bikes and they’re looking elsewhere for a better product. The guys in Milwaukee had better hope their investment in electric bikes pays off.