MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Harley-Davidson attributes a strong fourth quarter and a profitable year to new vehicles and new markets.
Buzz over the new Street and Rushmore motorcycles helped sell 45,875 new units worldwide and 27,387 in the United States during fourth quarter, said Keith Wandell, Harley-Davidson president and CEO during a conference call to announce quarterly and annual earnings. Sales in 2013 were up 6.3 percent in the United States and 4.7 percent internationally over 2012, he noted.
Harley sold 260,839 motorcycles worldwide in 2013, a 4.4 percent increase year-over-year. However, sales slowed slightly from the third quarter to the fourth, attributed to the temporary discontinuation of Road Glide models.
Wandell said sales to "outreach" markets -- adults 18 to 34 years of age, women, African-Americans and Latinos -- have increased 7.2 percent year over year, more than twice the rate of the 3.1 percent increase in core customers. In 2013, Harley-Davidson secured a 54.9 percent share in the 601cc-and-higher displacement market, a record high for the company.
“We’re relying on our dealers to help broaden our reach,” Wandell said. “We believe we have a lot of opportunity with these underserved demographics.” He cited the new Street models (see image) introduced in Q4, which are designed for riders in urban areas.
U.S. dealer inventory dropped year-over-year by 1,850 units, which Wandell credited to the company’s new surge manufacturing strategy. As a result, revenues increased by 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter, despite shipping 449 fewer bikes, he said.
“We were able to build motorcycles closer to when they were needed,” Wandell said.
The company expects to ship between 279,000 and 284,000 bikes this year, including 76,500 to 81,500 in the first quarter.
Overall, the company posted $1.19 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter, up 1.7 percent, for a net income of $75.4 million, an increase of 6.8 percent. For the year, Harley-Davidson posted $5.9 billion in revenue, a 5.7 percent increase from 2012, with $734 million in net income, a 17.6 percent increase.
The Motor Co. has added 118 new dealerships outside the U.S. since 2009, including 25 in 2013, eight of which were added in the fourth quarter. The company said it had top market share in Brazil and was in second place in Europe.