Harley-Davidson Q2 2011 Results Suggest The Company Ain't Dead Yet

Overall Sales Down, But H-D Shows Some Positive Signs


The reports of the demise of iconic motorcycle brand and manufacturer Harley-Davidson are, it seems, a bit premature.

While the entire market segment for motorcycles has taken a huge hit in these rough economic times, the Boys From Milwaukee seem to be doing just fine, indeed, and thank you for asking.

Total motorcycle sales for June 2011 were down 5.6% from the same time period in 2010, with a total of 8,709 units sold compared to some 9,226 in June 2010.

The overall motorcycle market is down 2.9% this year, with 44,396 units sold, compared to 45,736 for the same time period in 2010, and despite a hope throughout the industry that the worst of the slump is already over, it looks like the recovery has failed to materialize.

The Adventure Sport and scooter categories are the only market segments to show upticks in overall sales with 1,211 Adventure Sport motorcycles sold in June 2011, compared to 1,085 in June 2010, a change of 11.6%.

Scooter sales are about the only bright spot in the market overall with the smaller displacement (sub-125cc machines) showing a blip of 14.4% with 1,370 units sold in June 2011. That compares to 1,198 in June 2010. The big scooters? Those were doing bang-up business up 18.2% with 1,808 sold in June 2011, compared to the 1,530 scoots sold in June 2010.

harley davidson factory tourDespite the rise in scooter sales, the total market has shrunk by 2.1%, with 51,396 powered two wheelers sold so far this year, compared to 52,501 in 2010.

Harley-Davidson generated improvements in the second quarter of 2011 across the board, with strong earnings upticks, increased shipments and growth for most dealer’s new motorcycle sales. Those numbers hold true both in the U.S. and globally, and some of the stats that H- D CEO Keith Wandell and CFO John Olin released at the annual dealer meeting seem to bear that out:

  • Revenue during the second quarter of 2011 was $1.51B, up 15%, and income was up 36.8% to $190.6M
  • Motorcycle shipments were up 7,769 over the same time period last year
  • Motorcycle segment revenues were up $204.6M, or 18%, versus the same period last year
  • Touring motorcycle shipments made up 38.3% of all shipments in the second quarter of 2011, and that represents a 3.6% increase over last year at this time
  • International shipments were 36.2% of the total, down a little from 42.5% from last year
  • The forecast looks good for 2011, and H-D believes those should increase by 8% and the company expects to ship between 228,000 and 235,000 motorcycles worldwide
  • Market segment share in the larger engine displacement category is 53.8%, and that represents s 0.2% uptick from 2010

The shareholders loved the news as well, as the stock price set a new 52-week high at $46.88.

The new 2012 touring models seem to lack much in the way of new innovation and changes have been limited to paint palette changes, and that’s not really much to crow about. The lack of innovation is especially troubling given that product development spending was up $7M in the first half of 2011. That news might reflect a case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” thinking.


When you finally make the call and decide to buy that brand new Harley Fat Boy you’ve been drooling over, you’ll need to make sure you protect your investment – and your health – with the proper insurance coverage.

We can help you out with that, click here for the Definitive Guide to Motorcycle Insurance...

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