The state of the cruiser

The windscreen and saddlebags mean this Sportster is set up for touring.

Harley-Davidson and Polaris both released financial numbers for the second quarter of 2014, and they give an interesting look at the state of cruiser sales.

Harley-Davidson’s net income in 2014’s Q2 was up significantly, to $354.2 million. Last year, they had a Q2 income of $271.7 million. However, their actual number of units sold is fairly flat; in Q2 of 2013, they sold 90,218 bikes, but in Q2 of 2014 they sold 90,193 bikes. They did ship more bikes in 2014, but some markets saw a slow-down in sales, partly due to the poor riding weather this spring.

Here’s another guess, too: If sales numbers are flat, but net income rose, it could be because H-D’s pricier Mount Rushmore bikes have sold well, but lower-priced machines like the Sportster lineup aren’t doing as well because customers are waiting to get a look at the entry-level Street 500 and Street 750, coming soon. Or, maybe they’re waiting for an electric bike to come to market?

But what about the other Big American Cruiser Company? The execs at Polaris have to be smiling, because thanks to their re-introduction of the Indian brand, they’ve sold a lot more motorcycles in 2014’s Q2.

Back in 2013, Polaris only had the Victory line, and they sold 49,872 motorcycles. A year later, the addition of Indian has helped them sell 103,128 bikes. That’s a 107 per cent increase in sales; no matter what the performance-minded sportbike junkies tell you, the cruiser is far from dead.


    • Good point. It will be interesting to see if that continues of if it’s just the pent up demand for Indian that created the high sales, and now that everyone that just had to have a new Indian has one, the numbers might drop down again.

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