Harley-Davidson sales slump slows

Vehicle sales decline was shallowest in 12 quarters

Harley-Davidson’s sales slump continued in the last three months of 2019, sending shares lower.

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Revenue slumped 7 percent year-over-year to $1.07 billion as U.S. vehicle sales slipped 3.1 percent to 20,204. The drop was the smallest in 12 quarters. Worldwide vehicle sales fell 1.4 percent year-over-year to 38,754.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
HOGHARLEY DAVIDSON17.43-1.50-7.92%

"In 2019, we took important steps toward returning to significant growth in 2021 -- including launching LiveWire, our first electric motorcycle, optimizing our global dealer network and expanding our international footprint," said Matt Levatich, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson.

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The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker reported fourth-quarter profit of $13.5 million, or 9 cents a share, in line with estimates. Adjusted earnings, excluding the impact of recent European Union and China tariffs, were 20 cents a share.

In 2019, Harley pushed forward in its "More Roads" growth initiative by commissioning a factory in Thailand and establishing a distribution center in China, which will curb the impact of tariffs on imports from the U.S. More riders joined Harley than the year before, the company said, and the total number of U.S. riders rose to 3.1 million.

Harley also launched its LiveWire electric motorcycle, but production was temporarily frozen in October due to a battery charging problem.

"We see 2020 as the pivotal year in the transformation of Harley-Davidson," Levatich said.

Looking ahead to 2020, Harley sees motorcycle revenue of $4.53 billion to $4.66 billion, compared to $4.57 billion in 2019.

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Harley-Davidson shares were down 6.3 percent year-to-date through Monday, lagging the S&P 500's 0.4 percent gain.