Today October 23, 2012 before Wall Street opening, Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) reported earnings per share of $0.59 for the third quarter of 2012, in line with Company expectations. Earnings were lower than the year-ago period due to a previously announced plan for lower third-quarter motorcycle shipments during the launch of an ERP production system at the Company’s largest assembly plant. For the full year 2012, Harley-Davidson continues to forecast a five-to seven-percent increase in motorcycle shipments compared to 2011. Industry-wide U.S. heavyweight new motorcycle (651cc-plus) retail unit sales increased 3.8 percent through nine months of 2012 compared to the prior-year period.
Retail Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Sales: Through nine months, retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 6.0 percent overall, 6.2 percent in the U.S. and 5.4 percent internationally compared to the year-ago period. In the third quarter, retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 1.3 percent worldwide compared to the prior-year period, with unit sales down 5.2 percent in the U.S. and up 7.6 percent in international markets.
On a worldwide basis: dealers sold 61,053 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the third quarter of 2012 compared to 61,838 motorcycles sold in the year-ago period. Dealers sold 40,402 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the U.S. compared to sales of 42,640 units in last year’s third quarter. In international markets, dealers sold 20,651 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the third quarter compared to sales of 19,198 units in the year-ago period. During the quarter, retail unit sales increased 32.3 percent in the Latin America region, 9.8 percent in the Asia Pacific region and 1.8 percent in the EMEA region and decreased 4.7 percent in North America (U.S. and Canada) compared to last year’s third quarter. Through nine months, dealers sold 206,444 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles worldwide, with retail unit sales up 47.5 percent in the Latin America region, 14.1 percent in the Asia Pacific region and 6.0 percent in North America and down 2.9 percent in the EMEA region compared to the year-ago period.
Guidance: Harley-Davidson continues to expect to ship 245,000 to 250,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2012, a five-to seven-percent increase from 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company expects to ship 44,500 to 49,500 motorcycles, a two-to twelve-percent decrease from the year-ago period. This is consistent with the Company’s previously announced plans for lower shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012 related to the implementation of surge production at York in the first half of 2013. The Company believes surge production provides the flexibility to produce more motorcycles in the first half of 2013, closer to customer demand during the prime selling season. The Company continues to expect full-year 2012 gross margin of 34.75 percent to 35.75 percent.