No easy ride for Harley-Davidson as its sales hit the skids
Tough times for bike maker as baby boomers age and sensible millennials pay off debt
Bengaluru — Harley-Davidson reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, hit by declining sales in the US, its biggest market, as loyal baby boomers age, sending its shares down nearly 6%.
Harley’s loud, bulky and expensive cruising bikes preferred by these traditional customers have not clicked with millennials, as many of them spend on paying off home, car and student loans.
The company, making bikes priced at more than $28,000, last year unveiled a plan to introduce cheaper, nimbler motorcycles to woo younger riders.
Harley is also investing to develop electric motorcycles and will launch its first motorcycle without the traditional clutch and gear-shift controls this year.
The company said it expected to ship 217,000 to 222,000 motorcycles in 2019, its lowest in eight years.
Analysts were on average expecting 2019 shipments of 228,190 motorcycles, according to research firm Consensus Metrix.
Harley’s US retail motorcycle sales, or sales by dealers to customers, fell 10.1% in the fourth quarter ended December 31, more than the 8.3% fall analysts expected.
Total global group retail sales were down 6.7%.
Harley said it earned 17c per share in the quarter. Analysts had expected it to report earnings of 28c per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Revenue from motorcycles and related products fell 8.7% to $955.6m.