Harley-Davidson: Retail Unit Sales Fell 26% in 2009

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In 2009, U.S. Harley dealers retailed 162,385 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, 25.8 percent fewer than they did in 2008. The company announced the decline today in a press release anticipating the filing of its 2009 financials, in which it will record its first quarterly loss in 16 years.

Worldwide, retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 22.7 percent. Sales dropped 15.4 percent in international markets.

Harley apparently gained market share during the year. The company says that industrywide in 2009, U.S. retail sales of heavyweight bikes (651cc-plus) declined 36.7 percent to 303,182 units.

During the fourth quarter, retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 27.9 percent in the U.S., 21.4 percent worldwide and 10.3 percent in international markets, compared to the prior-year quarter. Industrywide, U.S. retail sales of heavyweight bikes declined 20.9 percent.

From continuing operations in 2009, Harley-Davidson reported revenue of $4.29 billion and income of $70.6 million, down 23 percent and 90 percent respectively compared to last year. In the fourth quarter, the company reported revenue of $764.5 million (down 40 percent) and a loss of $147.2 million from continuing operations (it made $92 million in 4Q 2008).

Affecting fourth-quarter results were a previously announced 53.1 percent reduction in Harley-Davidson motorcycle shipments from the year-ago period and $167.1 million in costs related to restructuring and the dumping of Buell.

Including MV Agusta discontinued operations, the company reported a full-year net loss of $55.1 million and a fourth-quarter net loss of $218.7 million.

“Our full-year 2009 results were affected by the difficult economy, as well as the planned actions we took that resulted in restructuring charges of $224 million. We believe these actions are critical to restoring greater profitability and long-term growth to Harley-Davidson,” Keith Wandell, Harley-Davidson president and CEO, stated in the press release.

Last year the company shipped 223,023 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, down 27 percent compared to what it shipped in 2008. Revenue from parts and accessories totaled $767.3 million in 2009, down 10.7 percent compared to 2008, and revenue from General Merchandise was $282.2 million, down 10.1 percent.

Harley’s cash and marketable securities totaled $1.67 billion as of Dec. 31, compared to $568.9 million at year-end 2008.

Looking Forward
For 2010, the company expects to ship 201,000 to 212,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide, a reduction of 5 to 10 percent from 2009.

The company expects previously announced restructuring activities that began in 2009 to result in total one-time charges of $430 million to $460 million into 2012, including charges of $175 million to $195 million in 2010. The company continues to anticipate annual ongoing total savings from restructuring of about $240 million to $260 million on completion of all announced restructuring activities, including savings of about $135 million to $155 million anticipated in 2010.

In December, Harley-Davidson said that as a result of a new seven-year labor agreement at its York, Pa., factory, it would be restructuring to focus on the core operations of motorcycle assembly, metal fabrication and paint.

“When the restructuring is completed,” Wandell stated, “we will have completely changed the face of how we build motorcycles in York, and we expect significantly greater manufacturing flexibility and significant annual cost savings from a more efficient operation. It is a tribute to our employees at York that they understood we could not continue on the course we were on, and they worked with us to find a better way.”

Harley continues to move forward with the sale of MV Agusta and is in the process of identifying potential buyers. MV Agusta is now presented as a discontinued operation for all periods. For the full year of 2009, Harley-Davidson Inc. incurred a $125.8 million loss from discontinued operations.

Click here to access the original press release, which contains additional information.

Posted by Arlo Redwine