Harley-Davidson second-quarter sales drop in US, global markets

Harley-Davidson has released its second quarter sales numbers, and they indicate a slip in sales in both the global market, and the home market in the US.

According to Harley-Davidson’s numbers, the company’s Q2 second-quarter motorcycle sales were down 9.3 per cent in the US. Globally, the MoCo saw a 6.7 per cent decrease in motorcycle sales, and retail sales also dropped 2.3 per cent. The company’s profits and revenues also dropped in Q2.

(In Canada, the 2017 Q2 sales were 3,827 units, up 14 bikes from the same quarter in 2016, so sales were steady here).

There was immediate fallout from the bad news. The revelation hit Harley-Davidson’s stock prices, which took a slide; the company’s CEO Matt Levatich said there would be cutbacks in the company’s workforce, but didn’t elaborate. Management and the company’s unions haven’t been on the best of terms lately, and this news won’t help matters.

As a result of the sales slide, Harley-Davidson is also going to lower its planned shipments and margins for the rest of the year.

Looking forward, we’re wondering the long-term implications. Will this move Harley-Davidson’s foreign production forward, as the company tries to build overseas markets? Will shrinking profits see made-in-India bikes shipped to the US, to boost the company’s coffers? No matter what, interesting times are ahead for the manufacturer.

16 thoughts on “Harley-Davidson second-quarter sales drop in US, global markets”

  1. Hmmm. 14 more bikes sold from last year in Canada. As a business owner I wouldn’t take that as positive news! I would think “I need to do something fast or I am toast as a business”! HD bikes are ok, not my cup of tea (I like old bikes, I can fix them myself). HD needs to figure this issue out, or they will end up like Sears Canada, who didn’t realize their clients were dying off and they did not ‘speak’ so to say with product and service to new younger consumer out there. New design, some cheaper alternatives that is built well. Personally I see more 20/30 year olds using bicycles, mopeds, electric whatever for transport, because they just don’t give a crap or listen to marketing hype. And like Rui mentioned, something affordable.

    1. They do have the electric bike coming in 5 years. Project livewire. I love it. Will it help save HD? Millennials can’t afford it and most baby-boomers are stuck on the HD image or retiring from bikes. Maybe the Indians or Chinese will bail them out?

  2. I don’t think it’s just a Harley problem, I think the younger generation just do not have the extra cash for a new motorcycle. If you walk into a Harley dealership there might be a Street on showroom floor, but everything else is north of $12K.

    Honda maybe on to something with the new Rebel, and it’s affordable price tag.

    In Canada salaries are stagnant and the cost of living keeps rising. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for much else. I think the new generation of young people have watched and learned from the previous generation of racking up debt to have all the latest toys. At least I hope most of them have.

  3. Given past market changes and how HD dealt with them, and borrowing from a forum comment, is HD the original “Rebel without a clue” perhaps?
    Just thinking out loud.

  4. Every single review of the new “Street Rod” in the mainstream motorcycle media has followed the same pattern: The reviewers are clearly desperate to find anything good to say about it, while trying to minimize criticism of the bikes shortcomings including terrible ergonomics, low power and far too much weight. They make their money on advertising so they can’t annoy the Hardley Ableson mothership too much, but if you read between the lines it’s a pretty crappy bike.

    With all the years of selling sizzle instead of steak with their silly “lifestyle”, HD has backed themselves into a corner. The age of their core demographic is right about “dead” and they can’t seem to build anything new that is competitive in function, cost and quality with what other manufacturers can build.

    You can’t expect millennials to buy crap based on a “lifestyle” that means nothing to them. Every generation needs to rebel against their ancestors. The middle-aged fat guy on a LOUD motorcycle is just the sort of pathetic middle-age-crisis crap the millenials are rebelling against.

    1. ”You can’t expect millennials to buy crap based on a “lifestyle” that means nothing to them”
      The millennials are probably a generetion that buy a lot of crap for lifestyle..One exemple ” Apple ”. But they lifestyle are more Vespa than Harley.
      In the motorcycle world must of the new motorcycliste are in the thirty .. They still have a little bit of ” Harley brand on them. But with Indian in the game with there scout sixty ect… And even Triumph (Bonneville, Street cup ect) there are better option for a new motorcycliste.
      Maybe Harley want to buy Ducati to bring a different type of custumer.. so Harley will still making Cruiser and the Ducati brand have already a bike for every other categorie. (Super sport, adventure, standard, and beginner friendly (Scrambler) … Time will telll…….

    2. NOP, you’re negative bias is becoming pathetic – stating that all the reviews show it to be a “pretty crappy bike” is just BS – here are summaries just from the first page from a google search:

      From Motorcyclistonline: So does Harley-Davidson have a winner here? In most respects, the answer is absolute…. the 2017 Street Rod is whole different animal. It’s got style, performance, aggressive ergos, and it has the bar-and-shield brand heritage that makes motorcycling for guys like us a lifetime experience. And all that comes with a base price well under $10K. So who cares if my leg gets hot in heavy Bike Week traffic or my foot feels a little awkward on the right peg. This bike looks cool, is fun to ride, and is affordable. That adds up to a winner in my book.

      From Cycle World: From our first ride I can say confidently that the days of waiting for a sport-standard Harley-Davidson are officially over. And if Harley-Davidson really aims to attract two million more riders to the brand, this bike will have to be a major piece of that goal.

      From Motorcycle Cruiser: The Street Rod takes the 750 platform into relevance. It is the kick in the ass of the Street 750 that was needed to make something of that platform and turn it into something more than a bike that we ride around in a parking lot while we have our learners permits. It’s more aggressive, higher revving, and more forward-thinking than any production bike we have seen from Harley-Davidson in decades,

      There’s more but fuk it!

      1. Rui, one big question regarding the Street 500/750 – how many have they sold ?
        If this is the bike that is going to save the Motor Corp. it had better get more attention in the real world here in North America.
        I think I’ve seen 2 on the road, and the ones at the bike show were totally ignored the whole time I stood there (half an hour ?) chatting with a friend.
        I understand they’ve been well received in foreign markets, but what about here ?
        Its not a rhetorical question – I don’t know, do you ?

        1. No idea, the CEO said they met expectations but what does that mean?

          When the “Streets” came out it was the first time in a long time I questioned the MoCo – styling (Willie G must have had a fit when he saw it), objective (is it a standard, is it a cruiser?), performance, finish – all wrong. The only think they had right – cheap bike but still made in the US for NA markets.

          But the Street Rod shows they’ve listened – a cheap bike that’s now a respectable mount with an excellent dealer network selling for less than its made in Asia competition.

      2. Poor little snowflake! I can pick quotes from those same reviews that prove my point:

        Motorcyclistonline: “With a 30-inch inseam, I had to make an effort to position my right leg wide and away from the pipe to avoid scorching my jeans while at a stop.”

        Cycle World: “little details had us losing track of the times where we stood there with the Street Rod and cried, “Why, Harley, why!?”” and “the Harley’s footpeg-to-seat gap locking our hips in a position that would only be okay if we practiced yoga on a daily basis.” and “less-than-inspiring clutch feel to the exhaust that runs right beneath your foot (don’t worry, there’s a pad atop the muffler so that you can rest your foot on it…) to the gas cap that made each fuel stop that little bit more difficult,”

        Motorcycle Cruiser: ““You’re cramped up in the legs and stretched out up top—I feel like a toad!”
        While I wondered how it was possible for two guys with a ten-inch height difference to have the same problems with ergonomics, it was apparent that the Street Rod 750’s ‘rider triangle’ had some serious issues.” and “I had the same reaction the first time I sat on this bike as I did my first time on the Street 750: “Oh no, these foot controls are awful,” but I was so much more upset about it on the new model. I had been so excited for this to be the Revolution X that I could actually ride, but the combination of heightened seat, low bars, and high-weird-mid-forward foot controls left me sitting in the “toad position,” with cramped up legs and stretched out arms.”

        You want to attempt reading for *comprehension* instead of *validation*.

        1. First of all man up and stop calling people names on internet forums.

          I used the actual summaries of the articles which clearly indicated that the street Rod wasn’t seen as a “pretty crappy bike” vs. – not cherry picked excerpts like you. You know – most reviews show positive and negative aspects of most bikes, right?

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