Harley-Davidson Sales Up 5.9% in 2011

January 24, 2012
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

The Harley-Davidson fourth quarter earnings report shows a rebound for The Motor Company in 2011. H-D doubled its income this year compared to 2010. The company also claims 5.9% increase retail sales for 2011.
Harley Davidson Motorcycles
The fourth quarter earnings report reveals Harley-Davidson income has doubled from the previous year, with its retail motorcycle sales up 5.9% in 2011.

A strong fourth quarter bolstered Harley’s claims. Worldwide sales for Q4 were up 10.9% at 40,359 units, with the domestic U.S. market up 11.8% at 23,753 units. Harley-Davidson sold a total of 235,188 units worldwide, up 5.9% compared with the 222,110 units sold in 2010. The total haul in the U.S. market was 151,683 units (5.8%). International sales topped 83,505 units, up 6.1% for the year.

H-D’s Q4 operating income of $54.6 million ($0.24 per share) reverses the $42.1 million loss it generated in the same quarter last year. Harley-Davidson reports a full 2011 operating income of $584.1 million ($2.33 per share), more than double the $259.7 million ($1.11 per share) posted in 2010.

The 2011 revenue increase comes via more bike production, gains from H-D’s parts and merchandise segments, as well improved performance of Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS). For the year H-D shipped 233,117 bikes to dealers, up 10.7% from 2010’s 210,494 units. Revenue generated from motorcycles totaled $3.55 billion, up 13.3% for 2011. The parts and accessories segment enjoyed a 9% increase at $816.6 million, with merchandise revenue up 5.8% at $274.1 million.

HDFS cites improved credit performance to boost its 2011 operating income for Q4 to $56.8 million. For the year HDFS brought in $268.8 million in income, compared to $181.9 million in 2010.

The company also claims savings reaped from its restructuring moves. The controversial cost-cutting measures included renegotiating its labor union contracts, as well discontinuing Buell Motorcycles and selling MV Agusta. Harley reckons restructuring efforts incurred a one-time cost of $68 million in 2011, but generated $217 million in savings. Harley also reports a $51 million tax benefit related to its sale of MV Agusta.

In its company earnings statement announcement, H-D President and CEO Keith Wandell said: “At retail, we believe the solid improvement in new Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales reflects the strong appeal of our product lineup to a diverse customer base and the great efforts of our dealers, combined with results from our investments in growth opportunities across all regions and improved consumer confidence in the U.S. While we are encouraged by the retail sales trend, we continue to keep a close watch on the marketplace and remain cautious in our expectations for 2012.”

The Motor Company plans a modest 3 to 5% increase in production for 2012. It expects to ship up to 245,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors, with up to 63,000 slated for the first quarter of 2012.

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