Harley-Davidson Sales Dropped 9.3% in US Over Second Quarter 2017

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Harley-Davidson reported its second quarter 2017 results and the numbers aren’t pretty. H-D sold 6.7% fewer motorcycles worldwide (and 9.3% fewer in the U.S.) during the second quarter compared to the same period in 2016. Motorcycle shipments were down 7.2%. Overall, Harley-Davidson reported a net profit of $258.9 million, down from a profit of $280.4 million from the same time last year.

According to the company’s second quarter report, Harley-Davidson sold 81,388 motorcycles in the three months ended June 30, 2017, compared to 87,266 units in the same quarter last year. American consumers accounted for 49,668 motorcycles, a decrease of 9.3% from the 54,786 motorcycles sold in Q2 2016.

While Harley-Davidson expected sales to be down in the second quarter, the company admits U.S. sales decreased more than anticipated. The overall U.S. industry was down in the quarter, but Harley-Davidson fared worse than most, dropping a percentage point to 48.5% of the market share for motorcycles larger than 601cc in engine displacement. Harley-Davidson attributes the decrease to soft used motorcycle prices cutting into the demand for new motorcycles.

International sales also took a hit, with Harley-Davidson reporting year-over-year sales decreases in all markets except Canada which saw a 0.4% increase.

Harley-Davidson Q2 Motorcycle Shipments
2017 Touring36,6502016 Touring27,682
2017 Cruiser25,2782016 Cruiser37,644
2017 Street/Sportster19,8792016 Street/Sportster22,834
2017 Total81,8072016 Total88,160

If there was one positive sign, it’s the strong consumer demand for Harley-Davidson’s new Milwaukee-Eight touring models. Harley-Davidson shipped 36,650 touring models over the quarter, compared to 27,682 units in the second quarter of 2016. Shifting the product mix to the pricier touring models helped to offset some of the decrease in sales revenue from lower overall shipments.

Motorcycle sales brought in $1.27 million in sales revenue, down 4.5% from the $1.33 million reported in last year’s Q2 results. Revenue from parts and accessories decreased by 8.0% while sales of general merchandise decreased by 16.8%.

“We are pleased with our ability to deliver strong margins in the quarter despite challenging market conditions, particularly in the U.S.,” says Matt Levatich, Harley-Davidson president and chief executive officer. “Given U.S. industry challenges in the second quarter and the importance of the supply and demand balance for our premium brand, we are lowering our full-year shipment and margin guidance.”

So, how does Harley-Davidson hope to turn things around? Focusing on product development is a start, as Harley-Davidson reiterated its goal of introducing 100 new models over the next ten years. Also, as the company previously laid out, Harley-Davidson hopes to grow the U.S. market by by promoting its riding academy. The company recently ran an initiative to get the entire population of Ryder, N.D. licensed to ride. Of course, the town only has 84 people, but the P.R. stunt garnered attention in the mainstream press.

“Our long-term strategy, focused on building the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders, is our true north. Our new product investment is one pillar of our long-term strategy to build riders globally and we are energized by the strength of our model year 2018 motorcycles coming later this summer,” says Levatich.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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