Fewer Bikes From HD
We all know at this point that Harley-Davidson is struggling to gain more riders as its current major demographic ages out of riding. Now the company has had to cut its shipment forecast. According to The Wall Street Journal, Harley expects to ship between 212,000 and 217,000 motorcycles this year. That is down from the previous year’s forecast, which was set at 217,000 to 222,000 bikes.
This cut comes after a six percent drop in sales for the second quarter of this year when compared with last year’s second-quarter sales. This equates to $1.43 billion—below the $1.44 billion analysist predicted for the company. Pair this with declining shipments and the fact the company seems to be struggling with its brand identity and you have Harley in a tight spot.
“We are in a tough environment,” Chief Executive Matt Levatich told The Journal. “It’s going to take time. We are very confident that what we are doing is working.”
Levatich is talking about the company’s goals of selling half of its motorcycles overseas by 2027 and making big steps towards electrification with bikes like the LiveWire. I’ve long said that electrification should be part of Harley’s future, but it’s not as important as building gas-powered motorcycles people want and can afford to buy.
Having said that Levatich is probably right. Harley is big enough to sustain a lot of abuse. I think the company is starting to do the right things to build a prosperous future. However, I also wonder if Harley waited too long. It could be a very long time before HD is back to its former glory if it can ever get there again at all.