Harley-Davidson reported 15.9% increase in motorcycle revenue despite selling 9.1% fewer motorcycles over the first quarter of 2013.
According to the company’s first quarter 2013 report, Harley-Davidson recorded revenues of $1.15 billion from motorcycle sales, compared to $995.9 million in the same quarter of 2012.
At the same time, Harley-Davidson sold 54,254 motorcycles worldwide over the first quarter, down from 59,677 motorcycles in the same period last year. Harley-Davidson attributes the decrease to a longer winter this year as well as an abnormally warm spring in 2012. Motorcycle shipments to dealers, however, were up 17% to 75,222 motorcycles compared to just 64,263 motorcycles in the first quarter of 2012.
“With our focus on continuous improvement throughout our operations and providing outstanding products and customer experiences, we have continued to deliver gains in Harley-Davidson’s financial and competitive performance,” says Keith Wandell, Chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc. “The successful launch of seasonal surge production at our York assembly operations in the first quarter is the latest example of our efforts to drive greater efficiency and be even more responsive to the market.”
U.S. consumers accounted for sales of 34,906 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the first quarter, down 12.7% from 39,762 in the previous year. Still, Harley-Davidson fared better than most manufacturers, with the industry seeing a 16.5% decline in sales of motorcycles 601cc and larger.
As reported earlier this week, data from market research firm Polk shows Harley-Davidson is the U.S. market leader for motorcycles among women, African-Americans, Hispanics and adults 18-34 in 2012. Wandell says most of Harley-Davidson’s American motorcycle sales were outside the company’s traditional base of Caucasian men 35 and older. More importantly, Harley-Davidson is making inroads beyond brand loyalists, reaching out to customers who had never owned a Harley before.
“In 2012, nearly four in ten sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the U.S. were to customers who are new to the brand. Outside the U.S., two-thirds of sales were to customers new to the brand,” says Wandell. “And nearly six in ten sales worldwide were to customers outside our traditional U.S. base of Caucasian men 35-plus. We believe our strategy to expand our reach to new customers and market segments in the U.S. and internationally, while also growing the base, holds tremendous opportunity for Harley-Davidson’s future.”
The weak European market also saw a decline in sales to 7,700 units from 8,882 in 2012. Sales were up however in Asia, including Japan, as well as Latin America.
Overall, Harley-Davidson reported a net profit of $224.1 million in the first quarter of 2013, up from $172.0 million last year.
For its year-end forecast, Harley-Davidson expects to ship between 259,000 and 264,000 motorcycles in 2013, an increase from 4.5% to 6.5% last year.