Fast Motorcycle Industry News

Harley Unable To Produce As Many Touring Bikes As Customers Want. Yesterday, you may have been surprised to read here soon in the morning pretty good news about Harley-Davidson 3rd quarter results then to see its stock (NYSE: HOG) almost immediately plunge 7.5% at Wall Street opening. Was it another case of Wall Street “buy the rumor, sell the (good) news?” There is much more than this. Part of a larger restructuring, Harley has consolidated production of several models in a state-of-the-art assembly line at York, PA. The changes, designed to boost the company’s long-term profitability, temporarily reduced York’s production of the more profitable bikes, the big touring bikes. Hence a drop of Harley profit margins. Harley-Davidson’s third quarter gross margin — or the proportion of revenue the company kept as profit — fell to 33.7 percent from 34.9 percent a year earlier, which company officials mainly attribute to the production issues at the York plant. Analysts worry somewhat, but agree that the company’s overall recovery appears to be on track and noted that the bulk of the restructuring will probably be completed by the end of this year.

Official 2011 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Numbers. It takes the city of Sturgis about 2 months to gather and publish its data. Official statistics show a decrease in attendance. For Brenda Vasknetz, rally department director, the drop in attendance was expected due to the 2011 rally following an anniversary year, the increase in gas prices, flooding across the nation, and other economic instabilities. This year’s rally was attended by 416,727 people, which is a negative difference of 50,042 people. there are five factors taken into account when determining how many people attend the rally. 1- the tonnage of garbage hauled out of Sturgis 2- vendor licenses issued in the city of Sturgis 3- South Dakota Department of Transportation traffic counts within Sturgis and around the Black Hills 4- Mt. Rushmore traffic counts 5- South Dakota state sales tax collected. This year’s garbage haul was 511.79 tons, down by 12.24 percent. There were 727 vendor licenses issued, down from 761 last year. The DOT counted 415,367 vehicles throughout the Black Hills, down from 459,968 from the year before. Mt. Rushmore saw 55,556 visitors this year, compared to 67,130 last year. Finally, the state collected $411,466 in state sales tax, collected through Sept. 30, down by 9.96 percent over 2010.

Electric Motorcycle And Scooter Sales To More Than Double By 2017. A new research from Pike Research shows that due to ever-increasing fuel costs, government incentives and a better informed public, more people in North America and Europe are going to use electric motorcycles and scooters. Worldwide, the total number of e-motorcycles and e-scooters on the road will increase from 17 million in 2011 to 138 million by 2017. Compound annual growth rates for e-motorcycles in North America is projected to surpass 71 percent. Annual sales for e-motorcycle and e-scooter in Western Europe will essentially double each year through 2017. Pike said that countries such as Italy and France will experience compound annual growth rates of greater than 120 percent. Nations of Eastern Europe, which include countries like Poland and Russia, will see even more explosive growth, with e-motorcycle sales increasing by 138 percent annually from 2011 through 2017. Small manufacturers of two-wheeled electric vehicles are also finding specialty niches (for ex. small parcel deliveries, police forces in big cities) that will provide solid growth early on in the next decade. China is the largest market for e-motorcycles and e-scooters to date, with a forecast to sell respectively 2.3 million and 13.5 million vehicles.

Harley-Davidson Opens New Latin America Headquarters In Miami. Harley-Davidson is joining the long list of American Companies looking for market opportunities in Latin American, and like many of them has chosen Miami, Florida as the base of its South America operation. “This new regional headquarters is part of that transformation, and confirmation that Harley-Davidson is committed to fulfilling the dreams of customers in Latin America from Tierra del Fuego to the Rio Grande.” said Mark Van Genderen, vice president and managing director of Harley-Davidson Latin America. In 1998, the Company had already established complete knockdown (CKD) assembly operations in Manaus, Brazil iHarley-Davidson motorcycles have also been sold in Mexico dating back more than 80 years. The Latin America regional office, (formerly based out of the Company’s global headquarters in Milwaukee) supports subsidiary operations in Brazil and Mexico, as well as operations in many other countries through the region’s Latin America Direct Markets group. All Harley-Davidson functions critical to development and support for the markets are represented in the new headquarters including: sales, marketing, dealer development, and others.

8 Responses to “Fast Motorcycle Industry News”

  1. 1 Brother T Oct 19th, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Isn’t the 110 coming up? I see a surplus of used entry level bikes available for the rider that wants to jump on the bandwagon while touring bike manufacturing is ramped up for the veteran rider, all for the 110 branding…

  2. 2 Matt Oct 19th, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Brother: If history dictates correctly Harley will roll out the 110 as it’s standard engine about 3-6 years after every one else comes out with one =).

  3. 3 Brother T Oct 19th, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I meant the 110th anniversary, not the engine. I’m sorry, I should have been more specific.

  4. 4 Toby Oct 19th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Does anybody buy the claim that there was a “shortage” of touring models? I’m in the southeast and sure have not seen it over the last year.

  5. 5 Jeff Nicklus Oct 19th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    If you are to believe the Rally numbers attendance was only down 12% over all …. if you are to believe their numbers that is …. I call bullshit! 30%-35% I will believe!

    Over & Out,


  6. 6 Mike Oct 19th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I agree with you Jeff! I’ve been saying it was off at least 40% for sure. I’m a vendor too.

  7. 7 Imaginethat Oct 19th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    If we believe the HD story of lack of Touring bikes how long will it take for the dealerships to gouge a extra add-on charge because of lack of bikes??

  8. 8 Rider2 Oct 20th, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Sales of electrical motorcycle doubling by 2017? We have 3 or 4 electrical motorcycles manufacturers in this county, most of them in California. I have never seen one on the road, at a dealership or at a rally. So if they are selling 100 of them a year and they will go to 200 by 2017, that’s not really something people are going to notice. Scooters sales going up…. that we can see eventually, especially in large cities.

    Europe is huge in scooter sales with their gas at $7/gallon and the distances allow that kind of products to be successful. Pretty much everybody who has tried to put an electrical motorcycle on the market has failed, at least to a level of profitability. It’s sad but it’s the same way that the electrical car industry took 25 years to even put one expensive model into production.

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Cyril Huze