Harley-Davidson Q4 and 2017 Results: Not So Hot

John Burns
by John Burns

The world’s largest maker of heavyweight motorcycles continues to struggle. Net income fell 82% in its fiscal fourth quarter to $8.3 million, compared with a year earlier. Earnings per share were 5 cents, down from 27 cents a year earlier. Revenue, however, was up: $1.23 billion from $1.11 billion last year.

It appears that a big part of the earnings drop is the 91% effective tax rate associated with President Trump’s tax cut, along with a $29.4 million charge for a voluntary product recall.

Click on the link below to see H-D’s whole 30-page presentation.

Harley-Q4 2017 Quarterly Slides

Furthermore, this morning’s USA Today reports that part of H-D’s consolidation plan will result in closure of H-D’s Kansas City manufacturing plant, along with the loss of 800 jobs.

It’s not exactly a rosy picture for the Motor Company, but it’s seen much worse; see 2009-2010 in the above chart. Limp sales over the past few years have encouraged the introduction of a slew of new models and rider initiatives for 2018, and the slide presentation claims there are 32,000 more H-D riders in the U.S. than there were a year ago. Plant consolidation, lower taxes, and increasing overseas sales are expected to boost the bottom line going forward. And H-D even says it plans to “invest more aggressively in electric motorcycle technology.”

HOG stock was down nearly 9% on the news (on a bad day for Wall Street in general). But we wouldn’t count H-D out anytime soon. It’s not over till the Fat Bob sings.

John Burns
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  • Steveinandiego Steveinandiego on Feb 01, 2018

    baby-boomers, like i, are aging. here in san diego i do not see many next-generation HD riders. i tested a new 2015 street bob three years ago. i loved it, but couldn't justify +$17K, though i had all cash burning a hole in my pocket. bought a new suzuki v-strom 650 for $8k otd. woot!

    • Born to Ride Born to Ride on Feb 02, 2018

      I see tons of guys my age and a little older rolling around on street bobs. Probably ten years old but how could you tell? They all have the same black tank and wire wheels, and various acoutremonts to “individualize” them. They ride to the bars, pick up chicks with their cool cut off jackets and perfectly trimmed beards. I don’t hate on em at all, but they aren’t the next generation of motorcyclists by a long shot.

  • Mikstr Mikstr on Feb 04, 2018


    can you say, Titanic? lol