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Aug. 9, 2010 – Harley’s market share gains continue in U.S.

August 6, 2010
Filed under Features

A trend from a year ago — lower sales volume and a higher market share — continues for Harley-Davidson Motor Co., although in smaller degrees.
Harley reported a decrease in its U.S. new unit sales for its second quarter, although the year-over-year percentage decline is moderating.
Harley’s U.S. unit sales were off 8.4 percent compared to a year ago, in comparison to being down 24 percent in the first quarter and 35 percent in the second quarter of 2009.
“Despite the decline in second-quarter retail motorcycle sales, we believe interest in the Harley-Davidson brand remains strong among riders of all generations,” Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell said in a press release.
Harley reiterated this point in its earnings conference call with analysts as it noted the following data that comes from R.L. Polk:

  • Harley has been the heavyweight market (typically defined as more than 651cc bikes) leader in new motorcycle sales to young men and women ages 18-34 since at least 2006;
  • Harley has been the heavyweight market leader to women, Hispanic and black riders ages 35 and over since at least 2006.
    Harley-Davidson Chief Financial Officer John Olin also said the company continues to pick up market share, with the company currently owning 53.6 percent of its target market.
    In its second quarter, Harley’s overall new unit sales declined 5.5 percent as its international sales were nearly stable to a year ago. Harley continues to have success in Europe, where sales grew for a third straight quarter.
    The company also continues to move aggressively in emerging markets, like China and India. Wandell said he expects four new dealerships to open in China this year, bringing the brand’s dealer network there to eight. Harley-Davidson also has opened three dealerships in India.
    In the United States, Harley dealers are being aided by selling more current-year product than their competitors, Olin said. In the second quarter, more than 85 percent of Harley’s unit sales were current-year model motorcycles, he said. In comparison, competing dealers sold just more than 30 percent of current-year units. Still, Olin did note Harley’s previous model year inventory is higher than normal at this time of the year.
    Looking forward, Harley is expecting to ship a similar number of bikes in the third quarter (53,000-58,000) as it did a year ago. For the full year, Harley expects to manufacture 201,000-212,000 bikes, a reduction of 5-10 percent compared to last year.
    Harley announced it has begun manufacturing trikes at its York, Penn., plant. Trike production was previously done off-site by Lehman Trikes. psb

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