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Oct 23, 2018

Harley-Davidson’s more expensive bikes rescue profit as U.S. sales fall

There's a reason why Harley-Davidson loyalists have tattoos of the logo

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Harley-Davidson Inc. reported better-than-expected profit as selling more expensive motorcycles takes some of the sting out of a continued drop in sales.

  • U.S. retail sales plunged 13 per cent in the three months ended in September, the steepest quarterly drop in more than eight years.

Key Insights

  • Despite weak U.S. demand and tepid overseas growth, motorcycle-related revenue rose on the richer mix of shipments.
  • U.S. sales took a turn for the worse after Donald Trump said he would back a boycott of Harley. The president started directing his ill will toward the company in June, when it said it would move some production overseas to sidestep EU tariffs.
  • While the EU’s tariffs on Harley’s bikes jumped to 31 percent earlier this year, from just 6 percent, demand is holding up in that market. Retail sales rose 4.6 per cent in the quarter.

Market Reaction

  • Harley shares rose 1.7 per cent to US$39.40 as of 7:22 a.m. Tuesday in New York, before the start of regular trading. The stock had dropped 24 per cent this year through Monday, when they closed at the lowest since February 2016.

Get More

  • Earnings per share was 68 cents, or 78 cents excluding costs related to closing a plant in Pennsylvania. Analysts anticipated 51 cents.
  • For more details on the earnings, click here.