Harley-Davidson First Quarter 2017 Sales Are Slightly Down

Harley-Davidson just released its first quarter sales report for 2017, and the company says everything is going according to plan, despite a small dip in the numbers compared to last year.
Harley-Davidson Electrra Glide Ultra 1 photo
Photo: Harley-Davidson
The report shows first-quarter worldwide Harley-Davidson retail motorcycle sales went down 4.2 percent compared to the same period in 2016. In line with the company’s expectations, sales in the U.S. market were down 5.7 percent as well.

“First quarter U.S. retail sales were in line with our projections and we remain confident in our full-year plan despite international retail sales being down in the first quarter,” said Matt Levatich, CEO, Harley-Davidson. “We are very pleased with our continued growth in U.S. market share and the progress our U.S. dealers made in reducing their inventory of 2016 motorcycles in the quarter.”

Harley-Davidson's U.S. market share for the quarter was 51.3 percent in the 601cc-plus segment, up compared to the first quarter in 2016. The manufacturer’s international retail sales decreased 1.8 percent compared to the same quarter in 2016.

The international figure decrease was driven by lower sales in the U.S., which, in turn, were caused by soft industry sales and the H-D’s decision to reduce shipments of 2017 model year motorcycles.

This decision helped dealers focus on selling down their 2016 inventory. International retail sales were down behind weak demand in Asia Pacific, partially offset by strong growth in Latin America. The EMEA and Canada regions were both down as they compared against strong prior year growth of 8.8% and 16.3 %, respectively.

For the rest of the year, Harley-Davidson continues to anticipate motorcycle shipments to be flat to down modestly in comparison to 2016. For the second quarter, the Milwaukee company expects to ship around 80,000 to 85.000 bikes.

On the long term, H-D plans to attract two million new riders in the U.S alone by 2027. It also plans to grow international business to 50 percent of annual volume, launch 100 new motorcycles, and grow the business without enlarging its environmental impact.
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