How Hard Has the Sales Slump Hit Harley-Davidson?

Something strange happened to motorcycle sales in 2016. The year started out with a bang, sales looked like they would outpace the number bikes sold in 2015, then May hit. Sales slumped and it has left many motorcycle manufacturers biting their nails. This may best be seen in Harley-Davidson and how the legendary bike factory is coping with the slump.

Can Harley-Davidson Strike Back from this Slump?

Harley was expecting to ship around 264,000 motorcycles in 2016—it shipped only 262,221 units instead. This was mainly due to an unforeseen sales slump that struck in May and continued through the rest of the year. This slump was so severe that Polaris shut down its Victory Motorcycles brand, and Eric Buell Racing is starting to close its doors as well. Despite these tremors shaking up the industry, Harley-Davidson has still managed to stay somewhat stable.

The company’s earnings dropped from $1.18 billion to $1.11 billion in 2016, but estimates for 2016’s earnings were much higher. In the fourth quarter, Harley was expected to earn $54.1 million but only earned $47.2 million. Those earnings were still 12 percent higher than last year’s, but falling short of those estimates has shaken investors.

This year, Harley-Davidson plans to delay the roll out of its 2017 models in order to clear out the surplus of 2016 cruisers that are still in its dealerships. But analysts are being critical of the strategy, which is causing Harley to lose some of its value on the stock market.

Could this be a sign of the future of motorcycling in the U.S.? Will the market continue to dwindle? Will we lose other American motorcycle makers? The motorcycling attorneys at the Metier Law Firm will keep an eye on the situation so keep following our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more updates.

Tom Metier

Tom Metier

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