Harley-Davidson posts best Q3 income since 2015 amid restructuring

Classic high-end bikes in focus for the brand

Harley-Davidson reported third-quarter net income on Tuesday of $120.2 million to post its best Q3 result since 2015.

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The Milwaukee-based company began a restructuring this year under new CEO Jochen Zeitz aimed at refocusing the brand on its core high-end models rather than the affordable, youth-oriented motorcycles championed by his predecessor that failed to find an audience.

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Zeitz’s overhaul involves reducing the number of motorcycles it offers by 30 percent, a reduction in U.S. dealers and cutting its global workforce by 10 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal. In its quarterly earnings report, the company said it will concentrate on 50 global markets, with 17 that include India serviced by local distributors charged with developing licensed products specific to those areas. Thirty-nine markets will be exited due to low sales.

Worldwide Harley-Davidson sales were down 8% for the quarter, but up 7% in Europe, which along with North America and Japan is reportedly one of the markets where most of its efforts will be directed in the coming years.

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Harley-Davidson is also shifting its new model launches from August to the first quarter to better tap into the start of the riding season. Its next all-new offering will be the Pan America, which is an adventure-style motorcycle that will compete with models from BMW, Ducati and the major Japanese brands. It will continue to build the all-electric Livewire motorcycle launched last year, despite low initial sales, but is outsourcing a recently announced foray into the e-bike segment.

Adjusted revenue of $964 million beat Wall Street estimates of $889.9 million and the stock was up approximately 10% in pre-market trading.

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