H-D Plans 300 to 400 Additional Job Cuts

Harley-Davidson, Inc. plans to cut 300 to 400 production jobs in addition to the 1,100 jobs it previously announced would be eliminated in 2009 and 2010 as part of a restructuring.

"We don't make any job reduction decisions lightly," says Jim Ziemer, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Inc. "But, based on further planning since January and a deeper analysis of our production requirements, we have now determined that fewer production employees will be required. We will continue to work with the union leadership as we move forward, and as always, we will appropriately manage Harley-Davidson based on business conditions and the needs of the marketplace."

On Jan. 23, Harley-Davidson announced a three-part strategy for managing through the global economic downturn and strengthening its operations and financial results going forward. That strategy consists of: 1) continuing to invest in the Harley-Davidson brand; 2) creating the appropriate cost structure; and 3) obtaining funding to support the lending activities of Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS).

The OEM expects its restructuring activities to result in annual savings of approximately $70 million to $80 million upon completion of the restructuring actions, with 2009 savings estimated to be $20 million to $25 million and 2010 savings estimated to be $40 million to $55 million.

Worldwide retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles for the first quarter, ended March 31, totaled 58,583 units, down 12.0 percent compared to sales of 66,561 units during the prior-year quarter.

In the U.S., retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles totaled 42,041 units, down 9.7 percent compared to sales of 46,572 units during the same three-month period last year. In international markets, retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 17.2 percent. Sales were down 30.4 percent or 816 motorcycles in Canada; down 17.4 percent or 1,761 units in Europe; down 7.2 percent or 382 units in Asia; and down 26.3 percent or 488 units in Latin America.

H-D shipped 74,670 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the first quarter of 2009, up compared to 71,868 motorcycles shipped in the year-ago period. The OEM plans to ship 55,000 to 59,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the second quarter of 2009. Shipments to dealers for the full year are expected to be between 264,000 and 273,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a 10 percent to 13 percent reduction from 2008.

"While we are mildly encouraged by the fact that the U.S. retail sales rate declined less in the first quarter than in the prior two quarters, we remain cautious and continue to expect 2009 to be an extremely challenging business environment," says Ziemer. "We continue to make good progress in executing our strategy for the economic downturn, and we will continue to manage our business with strong discipline."

- Submitted by Guido Ebert