Harley-Davidson Disappointing Results And News

harleydavidsonheadquarterNo good news on my computer when I woke-up today at 6 AM ET. Harley-Davidson was announcing its second-quarter results and the numbers are quite disappointing. Although the underlying fundamentals of the Harley-Davidson brand remain strong and the dealers’ retail motorcycle sales declined less than the main competitors, comparing to the same year-ago period demonstrates how our recession deeply affected our industry. 

Worldwide retail unit sales of new Harley-Davidson(R) motorcycles were down 30.1 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Retail new Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales in the U.S. were down 35.1 percent and declined 18.2 percent in international markets compared to last year’s second quarter. Industry-wide retail sales of heavyweight motorcycles in the U.S. declined 48.1 percent for the same period.

Harley lowered its 2009 shipment expectations for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The Company now plans to ship between 212,000 and 228,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2009, or 25 percent to 30 percent fewer than the 303,479 shipped in 2008.

As a result of the lowered shipment volume, the Company will implement a further reduction this year of approximately 700 positions in the hourly production workforce. Harley-Davidson will also be reducing the non-production, primarily salaried headcount by an approximate 300 additional positions, including a reduction at HDFS. The Company plans to offer a voluntary separation incentive package to eligible salaried employees. Earlier this year, the Company had announced workforce reductions totaling about 1,400 to 1,500 hourly production positions in 2009 and 2010 and about 300 non-production, primarily salaried positions.

Starting July 25th, in exclusivity I will publish pictures and detail for you the new 2010 models line-up.

18 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Disappointing Results And News”

  1. 1 Jeff Nicklus Jul 16th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    CHANGE has come to America …… We will be lucky to have some change remaining when this is over! God help America.

    Over & Out,


  2. 2 ian Jul 16th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I guess I am more sanguine about it – here in Europe HD is still a great brand and one that i think will endure, and just look how Goldman Sachs bounced back – roll on the double dip.

  3. 3 Lyle Jul 16th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    They’ll be OK. Every dealer I’ve seen within the 6 states I’ve ridden through so far this year looked busy. maybe the bikes aren’t selling as well as the last few years but everyone still needs tires, oil, and other stuff. I remember how bad it was in the 70’s…

  4. 4 jj Jul 16th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    boo hoo. quit crying and blaming anybody and get back to work.

  5. 5 just my opinion Jul 16th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Harley will survive. I don’t think Warren Buffet would have loaned the 500 or 600 million he did without knowing more than we know. He surely has a plan and judging from the jump in HD stock prices today ,I would guess many others feel the same as I do. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out.

  6. 6 FUJI Jul 16th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    just my opinion

    Mr. Buffett is not alone, Davis Selected Advisers LP (HOG’s biggest investor, owns 10.2% of the common stock , purchased $600 million As posted on Cyrils site

    These two companies/investors know that if Harley falters ” unlikley ” it retains a street value. Then what happens.

    This is a win win for both and a great risk for the Motor Co but they had no other choice. It’s harleys finger that is stuck in the damn just hope that they don’t fall asleep.

  7. 7 Icy Jul 17th, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Motorcycles and Guns. Two of my most prized possessions and pastimes. One is taking a hit because of all this change shit from the idiot from Kenya and the other one is thriving everyday because of the same idiot from Kenya.

  8. 8 BikerMarc Jul 17th, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Here’s my 2 cents Cyril:

    Time for HD to go all the way and “right-size” the company for the economic realities of today and from all I see and feel, the next decade.

    This will ensure the brand keeps its value and we lovers of all things Harley-Davidson will continue the live the dream.

    Like I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the Motor Company needs to dramatically transform its marketing strategy.One where they expand their target market(s) NOW and where they lower their product price points to attract more qualified buyers on everything with a HD label on it.

    Additionally, they need to start kicking some political ass in Washington DC to minimize any further destruction of their American business by the current Administration.Does Harley-Davidson have and agressive leather-clad lobbyist team in DC?

    Keep focused on the riders, re-price your products, secure credit options relevant to your expanded target audiences and keep creating “experiences” for your fans and you will get through this and thrive again.

    Further, be real nice and supportive of your loyal distribution network- HD dealers make or break evey sale.


  9. 9 Grayhawk Jul 17th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Ian with respect Goldman Sach was the obviuos TARP entity to bounce back with their relationships to the FED/i.e. ex and current employees being in the decision making positions / loyalty arenas, noting the key competing companies that were not bailed out went belly up so who benefits and used/uses tax payer money to its benefit you named them, just follow the money and the empowered trails and perseaved loyalties.

    Buffet did not take an equity position in regards to his companies part of the $600m but yes he is financially astute, see link below, HD took on the 15% note because they had to as the mortgage bundle buyers stopped buying the paper, not so unlike the auto world. Sure size of companies helps in good times but reverse is they are brought to their knees in the bad times warp speed as net percentage profits are not the windfall that some seem to think with daily cost of doing business/overheads and burdens and future growth expenses, future product R & D and outlays of investment for all with all based on money availabilty and flow no matter the size just proportional to size to balance the net 30 day, 60 day, 90 day, etc. payouts and so on.


    Stock rose yesterday yes but ?; maybe because of day traders, those that know when to get in and when to get out make money on the shorts. Ones needs to be in know and have reserve to play that game not for the faint at heart or those that have lost most of the nest egg already.

    Get educated make good decisions, its your money. Maybe also because paper buyers thought it the right moves to down size further to cut cost of doing business and bring production in line with demand or discretionary ability to buy.

    Additional Food For Thought


    Long term; baby boomers have been the buying force and steered the directional product manufactoring and quantities produced since the 80’s in most areas of American purchasing not just motorcycles, Generation “X” has far less people numbers and buying power. Thus production quantities were to reduce over time even without the meltdown unless European, Eastern and Southern markets picked up the slack especially in 650cc and up motorcycles, but as we all know all impacted by the worldwide slump to some extent. Noting, American youth market of tomorrows buyers is again smaller, not as inlined with the past likes/dislikes of the boomers and have less purchasing power as a whole, numbers and self worth. All industry areas probably should adjust to what is left in the boomers and what is/will be the future trends of purchase ?

    Industry wide motorcycle industry reflection is the same and similar to the cage world, less buyers, less dealers, smaller sized dealers, consolidated business streams, smaller manufactoring sizing weighted proportionally to market demand and value of ticket purchase item and profit margins/sales in direct relation to region of economic purchasing strength or not as a whole with the understanding one with money will buy what and from where regardless but is smaller niche to say the least.

    All are in this together and will all be impacted to different levels of the situation in direct relationship as to your good businees practice, sound business decisions, leaness and ability to adjust to changing scenarios and yes a bit of luck as a lot is sure economices of the times. Take care of the customers you have and quit choosing sides and beating each other up in print and brand or type.

    On Your Side


  10. 10 Rodent Jul 17th, 2009 at 9:50 am

    How come in a down economy HD preveiws its CVO line at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay where rooms start at 600 bucks a DAY!!!

  11. 11 Grayhawk Jul 17th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    My American youth of tomorrow self worth in context point was not meant derogatory at all just as a point of buying power in this day in time of their financial purchasing power curve of life.


  12. 12 FUJI Jul 17th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    “We are pulling back on everything,” CEO Keith Wandell said in an interview. “We will be shutting down the Sportster production line in our fourth quarter, and that will have an impact on the Capitol Drive plant which makes engines for Sportsters.”

    The shutdown will accelerate a plan to close the Capitol Drive facility and move its production to the company’s factory on Pilgrim Road, in Menomonee Falls.

  13. 13 bigalyts Jul 17th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    A little thought, as I see it. Price, Price, Price. That is what is going to sell HD’s in todays market. All the Hype of HD’s holding their Value and “owning a HD is like owning a Rolex Watch” it was 10 years ago. HD is the leader, it is the reason all you Builders are in buisness, because you take thier Designs, their marketing ideas and their Strategy and you “CREATE” off of that. I think that’s Wonderful, but when the “Shit Hit’s The Fan” like it did and it is, time to Discount, Discount and more Discounting. Harley use to Build 70,000 Bikes total in those days. Their Bikes use to hold a value, now Owning a Harley is still a feeling like not many other feelings, however there is no Resale ! That’s the problem you have to give them away if you want to sell them Used. Now who want’s to but a new HD and k now that if you invest $20 grand and you Spend another 10 G’s in Accessories, it is worth $15 on trade. Try trading a Year old HD and that’s when you get on a 2010. Fuck that, reduce all the Bikes across the Board 5 GRAND………..Except Sportsters Sell that Division to Wallmart !

  14. 14 J Jul 17th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    LOL- Buffet isn’t a benefactor- he’s a capitalist, and took a DEBT position in Harley because he wants to be first in line to pick out the best scraps of the inevitable heap……

    If Warren Buffet wants to buy your debt, you are NOT having a good day!

    Mostly, this is just a reflection of the incompetent management group that has plagued Harley for years….

    Picture Kevin Bacon, at the end of “Animal House”, standing in the street yelling “All is well, remain calm!” while the town tramples his ass, and you pretty much have the state of current management’

    Well played, Mr Buffet- well played………

  15. 15 James (Kiwi) Jul 17th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    This is a bit of a wake up call as GrayHawke is on the nail, the BB’ers are ageing and in the US,Aus,NZ and I presume Canada The Cruiser is the big market and thats where the BB money goes.
    Europe is different there are crazy people riding 200mph motorcycles at speeds that would frighten the crap out of the average BB’er.Their market is very different and I am sure the purchase of MV and the XR1200 model are ways HD are trying to get into the Crotch Rocket market.
    If you want younger riders to buy your bikes you have to build bikes they want to ride.Not advertise blacked out bikes with pretty young gals on them.
    The ageing BB’s are going to create huge political and economic issues in all parts of the west.
    Probably the majority of the folk that read this blog will be in that catagory.

    There is a bit of youth coming through with home built chops that are raw bone and rowdy.
    The law will be their biggest problem.
    Bike Week in Aus has been cancelled because of the Club Wars and they are trying to stop the BullDog bash in England.The Global political police want rid of Motorcycling period.
    Facism is did not die with Hitler,It just moved into The corporate structures.
    The deals that were made in 45 in Switzerland will never be revealed

    Cynical thoughts are bad for the soul.Saturday morining here, one hell of a frost out side but sunny.
    I’m off when the ice melts to pay money to the facsists to register my cycle ,and go for a ride

    Have a good weekend everyone.
    James (Kiwi)

  16. 16 bigalyts Jul 17th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Boy Oh Boy I Thought Warren Buffet is helping Harley Davidson for the “LOVE OF RIDING” ! Maybe he can get HD and the Dealer Network to take 5 G’s off of every Bike ! You know if HD would make a move like that, the worst that would happen is that they would sell more Parts and more clothing and more repairs and more work for you ” Builders” .You might even start REBUILDING again.

  17. 17 David Jul 18th, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Has everyone forgotten the the high fuel prices helped the motorcycle industy and now that prices are down the market is suffering. This also has to do with the assholes at Goldman Sachs that were causing the inflated gas prices by screwing with the oil furtures.Which also caused the people to spend more on fuel and less on everything else because they still thought they had to travel just as much as before which also caused them to lose their homes.(So now all taxpayers can support them and the unions)
    We just cant go on buying more and more stuff(especially from China who just about owns us lock, stock and barrel anyway).
    Just my observations!!!

    Over and over;David

  18. 18 nicker Jul 19th, 2009 at 2:24 pm


    “… The deals that were made in 45 in Switzerland will never be revealed…”

    Spot on…….. even before the war started
    (as an example, the like the patent rights to the Bosch diesel fuel injectors)

    But then, there has always been and will always be international power-players above even the governments. However, HD is not one of them.

    Now that doesn’t preclude HD from becoming a “benifactor” of some well heeled South American patron.

    More than one insider has suggested that the massive R&D it took to get a certain European V-twin into a dominant position over the 4-bangers was financed by “pallets of money” from such a source.

    Who knows…. Stranger things have happened.

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Cyril Huze