MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Harley-Davidson new unit sales were up across the board last year, showing a 6.2 percent increase in worldwide sales and a 6.6 percent bump in the United States.
Dealers sold 249,849 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles worldwide in 2012, with retail unit sales up 39.2 percent in the Latin America region, 14.3 percent in the Asia Pacific region and 6.2 percent in the North America region (U.S. and Canada) and down 3 percent in the Middle East compared to 2011.
In the fourth quarter, retail sales of new motorcycles increased 7.5 percent worldwide compared to the prior-year period, with unit sales up 8.4 percent in the U.S. and up 6.3 percent in foreign markets.
Dealers sold 43,405 new bikes worldwide in the quarter, with retail unit sales up 23.5 percent in Latin America, 14.8 percent in the Asia Pacific region and 7.3 percent in North America and down 3.3 percent in the Middle East compared to last year's fourth quarter.
The Motor Co. shipped 47,067 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 50,730 in the year-earlier period.
Fourth-quarter shipments reflect previously announced plans for lower shipments in the quarter, related to the implementation of seasonal surge production at York in the first half of this year. The company expects surge production to provide the flexibility to produce more motorcycles closer to customer demand during the prime selling season.
Harley expects to ship 259,000 to 264,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2013, up about 4.5 percent to 6.5 percent from 2012. In the first quarter of 2013, the company expects to ship 71,000 to 76,000 motorcycles, about 10 percent to 18 percent more than the year-ago period.
Revenue of $771.1 million from motorcycles in the fourth quarter was down 2.6 percent compared to the year-ago period. Revenue from PG&A was $161.6 million during the quarter, up 0.2 percent, and revenue from general merchandise, which includes MotorClothes and accessories, was $74 million, up 6.8 percent, compared to the year-ago period.
Fourth-quarter operating income from motorcycles and related products was $53.1 million, a 49.4 percent increase compared to operating income of $35.6 million in the year-ago period. Operating income in the quarter benefited from lower restructuring costs and higher gross margin compared to the prior-year period. (continued)