No 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.