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Harley Davidson is revamping it’s goals amid terrible sales

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Harley-Davidson’s (Harley) 2020 Q1 financial report shows that the moto manufacturer continues on hard times.  For the full first quarter, U.S. retails sales fell 15.5% year over year.  It’s U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market share fell 2.2 percentage points to fall to 48.9%.

Internationally, the story is even worse.  International retail sales are down 20.7% year over year.  And, in the first quarter, its European market share is only 7.6%.   All up, motorcycle and motorcycle related products are down $100M year over year.

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All of this is against a backdrop of four straight years of falling sales.  Frankly, that’s pretty dire news for any company.  And, the impact of COVID-19 will likely sour Harley’s financials for at least the next quarter as well.

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New course

The current management of Harley has to do something to chart a new course.  Fast.  They continue to face pressure from investors, including Impala Asset Management, over the MoCo’s finances and management.  So with the rollout of its 2020 Q1 finances, the MoCo rolled out some fairly extreme measures to deal with its financial picture.

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  1. Harley needs to sell the bikes they are planning for Asia and other emerging countries in the U.S. Small displacement, low price, entry level bikes are what made the Japanese companies successful. I started on a Honda 125 & climbed the ladder, buying 4 other Hondas over the years, to my final Honda, a CB750. To climb the Harley ladder you have to start on the 4th rung and most people don’t want to start riding on what they perceive to be a big bike. I know from working in the motorcycle industry for over 40 years that many first bike buyers stick with the brand they started on as they move on to bigger bikes. Once they figured out most all bikes are good bikes they consider a different brand. The big challenge Harley will have selling small bikes will be getting the dealers to actively market them. It isn’t going to chase the hard core riders away, they might not like it, but it didn’t hurt Harley back when they were selling mini bikes and dirt bikes in the 70’s.

    I’ve seen the PanAm & Bronx & they are nice bikes, but in true Harley fashion they will likely be over priced in comparison to the competition. They need to keep prices on new models in line with the competition or they are doomed to failure. The Livewire is an awesome bike, I rode one in Daytona, but $30,000 is $10,000 too much, especially for a bike with limited capabilities.

    If I were made CEO the first thing I would do is clean house on the Board of Directors which has no motorcycle oriented members, I doubt that any of them even ride. They need at least a couple of “Willie G’s” on the board to steer the company in the right direction.


  2. Adventure Bikes….Small cc Fishead scooters….Asia or Europe sales ALL Bull-💩. Phufk Asia and Europe. “Stick to what they know” just Lip Service! Well, H-D, inc. has proven they have not learned their lesson, yet!
    To many Chiefs and not enough Indians at Harley-Davidson Inc.
    H-D not only has to cut executives$’s but they have to cut the prices of their motorcycles, Period.
    H-D must get prices inline with Indian. Period.
    Harley-Davidson, Inc. are DOLTS.
    Go broke stupid.


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