Harley-Davidson First Quarter Earnings Soaring

This morning April 19, 2011 just before Wall-Street opening bell, Harley-Davidson (HOG) said first-quarter earnings soared to $119.3 million, or 51 cents a share, from $33.3 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier as worldwide sales of motorcycles rose 3.5% and operating income at its financial division skyrocketed. Harley-Davidson said operating income from financial services climbed 154.6% from a year earlier. Revenue rose to $1.06 billion from $1.04 billion. “We are pleased by the growth of our dealers’ new motorcycle sales on a worldwide basis, led by strength in Europe, even as we continue to encounter some headwinds in the U.S. related to the challenging macro-economic conditions,” said Harley-Davidson President and CEO Keith Wandell, in a statement.

The motorcycle maker said it was “maintaining a cautious outlook for the year.” The Company said it expects to ship 215,000 to 228,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in 2011, compared to its prior shipment guidance of 221,000 to 228,000 motorcycles. The company said the move is related to what it believes will be a modest level of supply chain interruption to the company arising from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In the second quarter, Harley-Davidson expects to ship 62,000 to 67,000 motorcycles.

17 Responses to “Harley-Davidson First Quarter Earnings Soaring”

  1. 1 L. Parcher Apr 19th, 2011 at 7:59 am

    As I expected, Harley will make it and is already a profitable company even before the recession is over. Or is it already over?

  2. 2 zyon Apr 19th, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Yah, and all they had to do was kill their union, shut down plants, hire part time scabs and outsource even more overseas…way to be profitable so you can still build those dinosaurs you call motorcycles. It never ceases to amaze me that a company can create almost zero innovation over the last 25 years and still manage to survive.

  3. 3 Toby Apr 19th, 2011 at 9:19 am

    It’s not HD’s fault that the economy tanked and they had to shut down and reorganize operations. They did not kill the union like other manufacturers. The union is alive and well and negotiated a reasonable package given the economic times. Less than 3% of line workers are non-union. They are not “scabs”.

  4. 4 zyon Apr 19th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    What do you call laying off union workers to hire part time low benefit low wage employees? i’m not saying Harley did anything wrong or anything that every other company is doing to survive. I’m not particularly pro union either.

    My comment was in regards to the first posts assumption that Harley is out of the woods, has a strong product and is better than any other company. They are not and the OP made no mention of the negative effect they have had on their local economies to shore up their own bloated and outdated belts. Whatever you say, people lost jobs, benefits and security.

    Harley can fail just like any other company. The changes they made will help but they seem to have no viable long term goals to make their product stand above the others. Same old sleds repackaged is all they are producing while other companies are out there making the industry new again.

  5. 5 Nicole Apr 19th, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Toby- Nobody said it was HD’s fault the economy tanked. HD did what they had to do to make their company more profitable and their shareholders happy. Their operating income increase for financial services is impressive but I suppose that’s what happens when you start to make all those cuts too. Interesting article.

  6. 6 poppymann Apr 19th, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Hmmmmm. I’d liek to know ho wthe revenue from financing rose.
    Was it due to long term investments? A 3% rise in product sales could hardly account for a 154% increase in revenue. That has to be gained through new financing, increased interest rates on floating rate loans, or reinvestment. It doesn’t have anything to do with shutting plants.

  7. 7 Grayhawk Apr 19th, 2011 at 11:58 am


    Might be that HDFS a year ago was in the red and was processing/financing very few motorcycles for Joe Customer, now that people can get loans again that wing of HD is bringing in the money again. Its also the wing that can bring it to a halt again if the loans are shaky or the ability for HDFS to source loan securities drys up again.

    Kinda like when some compare gains from nothing to double if you only had 5 and went to 10 that is 100% gain 154% from the bottom is good but only from that year to year viewpoint.

    Between the lines that neg .5 percent, basically flat, in US units in their report may have more to do with the forecast for a reduction in the bottom forecast of unit production forward by negative 6k for the year than the interruption in chips for radios from Japanese suppliers unless there are many more supply issues than just incidental as reported.

  8. 8 live2rideaglide Apr 19th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I guess the only way some would be happy is if HD shut down ,went out of bizness and everybody including the union workers lost their jobs. When you hate , you hate. If you don’t like ’em then don’t buy ’em.

  9. 9 hoyt Apr 19th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Criticism about lack of innovation or product diversity is not necessarily “hate” and definitely does not wish complete shutdown. In many cases, it is actually encouragement. Believe it. Encouragement to add diversity so that HD will still be around making classics like the Road King for decades longer.

  10. 10 fredp Apr 19th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    According to a new disclosure by the Federal Reserve, Harley-Davidson was given a previously secret $2.3 billion bailout during the fall of 2008 and winter of 2009. We’ve previously reported that Harley borrowed nearly $1 billion in emergency operating capital from Warren Buffett at 15 percent interest during the same period and has since upped that amount to nearly $2 billion from other lenders. The disclosure of this emergency aid by the Fed gives a new indication as to just how close Harley was to the brink during the darkest days of the financial crisis and a new indication of how much American taxpayers spent to keep it open. Hell for Leather posted, recently.

  11. 11 Richard Apr 19th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I don’t understand why all the negative remarks about Harley. They have been in business, hirering and paying salaries for what….111 years??? Their bikes are reliable and perform well for the market segments they serve. My new Road King is fuel injected, has air rear suspension, ABS, cruise, fly by wire, a six speed tranny and runs flawlessly. It’s got heaps of torque and I can ride in confort all day. Also important these days, is that I get 48/52 MPG. With respect to the post, we should be elated that by making good business decisions Harley survived the recession and is showing positive signs of continued recovery.

  12. 12 Magic Butt Apr 19th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Yesterday’s technology today, tomorrow and forever. I’m voting with my dollars. HD won’t get any more from me, next bike will most likely be a Victory or a Honda.

  13. 13 Doc Robinson Apr 19th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Magic Butt if you don’t buy American you are part of the reason the country is in big financial trouble. Buy a Victory by all means, but not a Jap bike. And don’t run the bull about Harleys running some Jap parts, they do but that’s old news. Richard, way to go!

  14. 14 Wiz Apr 20th, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Richard, You made a positive, feel-good statement. God and America love ya! Wiz

  15. 15 Polished Aluminium Apr 20th, 2011 at 3:04 am

    As I said earlier in another post here… Harley is and will be fine. They had to make some tough choices to keep the company viable. I am SURE they would have loved to keep Buell, MV, and done better by their workers but that was not the reality the economy presented to them. That said, all of those super duper whiz bang competitors would trade balance sheets in a minute. Honda and Yamaha’s motorcycle operations have been losing money for years. I don’t know the all of the detail about Suzuki and Kawasaki, but I would imagine they are in the same boat as the other two.

  16. 16 Brother Tiberius Apr 20th, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Fred is right but also not telling the whole story. There were a number of corporations (including all of the large auto makes other than Ford) that were in exactly the same boat due to financing. Most of the banks (including the one I used to work for) have made adjustments in underwriting to (hopefully) prevent those same credit extension mistakes from happening again. The MoCo shouldn’t be much different in that regard.

  17. 17 pdg1958 Apr 26th, 2011 at 8:40 am

    If it were up to me, I would’ve moved HD operations to South Carolina or other right to work state. The union thuggery we recently witnessed in Wisconsin has caused me to hate unions more than ever. We beat back a union attempt at my business a few years back and would spend whatever was necessary to do it again. F-unions and the obamunists that are in bed with them. FUBO.

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Cyril Huze