Activate Your Premium Membership Today >

Presidential election trumps Harley

Presidential elections affect Harley-Davidson sales

Harley-Davidson sales are up 4.3% globally, but down 5.2% in the US in the past quarter because of uncertainty over, among other factors, the presidential election outcome.

Announcing the second-quarter figures, company bosses refused to comment on recent speculation that Harley would be bought by private equity company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR & Co).

Rumours of the takeover caused a 20% spike in shares at the start of the month but they have tapered off in the absence of any substantial evidence.

Chief executive Matt Levatich said the lacklustre domestic sales were due to uncertainty about the political environment (referring to the presidential race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton) and consumer credit conditions, combined with slower sales in oil dependant regions around the country.

However, sales may spike later this year when Harley is tipped to introduce 107 cubic-inch engines to their Touring and possibly other families.

Harley-Davidson 107 engine
Harley-Davidson 107-cube engine

Motorbike Writer will be at the world launch of the new models in Seattle in the first week of September.

The biggest spike in international Harley sales in the second quarter was 8% in Europe.

Harley-Davidson is also doing well in Australia where it has retained its number one spot over Honda in road bike sales with 20.4% of the 22,921 market.

The company reported its second-quarter earnings per share increased to $1.55 from $1.44 a year ago and topped analysts’ expectations of $1.53.

While US domestic sales were down their market share grew 2% to 49.5%.

Meanwhile, Polaris Industries’ motorcycle sales jumped 23% in the quarter, although the sales growth rate was half what it was this time last year.