I reproduce below what I think is a great analysis by Rich Duprey for the Motley Fool. In it, he explains why the demise of Victory Motorcycles will not help Harley-Davidson, quite the opposite. I agree with him that the exit of Victory is only going to intensify the competition against the industry leader. Read, then voice your opinion.
“Unfortunately for Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG), there’s no way it can capitalize on the decision by Polaris Industries (NYSE:PII) to kill off its Victory brand of motorcycles. Although it means there will be one less American-made motorcycle on the market, which ought to bolster the made-in-America motorcycle king, its rival’s move to focus instead on its fabulously successful Indian Motorcycle nameplate means Harley is going to have an even harder time selling its bikes.
A losing proposition. Few would argue Polaris didn’t make the right move. Despite 18 years on the market, Victory hardly made a dent in the consciousness of bike riders. Growth was negligible, and the brand had accumulated losses of $100 million for Polaris. With an industry in the midst of a downturn, pouring more resources into Victory was not feasible, certainly not when Polaris has the Indian brand that could benefit further from the additional investments that will be thrown at it. Because Indian has made swift inroads into Harley’s market share, quickly jumping into second place in the short span of years since the nameplate was bought out of bankruptcy, having even greater resources available to it could see larger swaths of the market fall into its camp. As Harley-Davidson’s fourth-quarter earnings show, that’s a distinct possibility. While the bike maker finally snapped a two-year losing streak of falling quarterly sales in the U.S., the gains weren’t anything special. Revenue rose 0.1% over 2015, as it sold exactly 33 more bikes in the period than a year ago.
Declining volumes. At least it didn’t try to fudge the shipment numbers this time around. Unlike the last two years in a row — when it pushed out more motorcycles onto dealer lots in the fourth quarter than were warranted, to be able to say it made its full-year shipment forecasts — this year Harley just wouldn’t have been able to justify the big spike needed to make even the low end of its forecast. In the end, shipments fell 12%. That means Harley-Davidson missed its guidance for the year. Where it had said it was confident it would ship between 264,000 and 269,000 motorcycles in 2016, it ended up shipping a little over 262,000 bikes. Continue reading ‘Why Harley-Davidson Can’t Benefit From Victory’s Demise’