Signs of life are finally coming back to the motorcycle industry, as Harley-Davidson has shown strong gains in the third fiscal quarter of 2013. Posting an increase in sales of 15.5% worldwide, Harley-Davidson grew 20.1% in the United States the last three months, due mainly to its “Project Rushmore” line of water-cooled motorcycles.
“Rider response to the 2014 motorcycles we introduced August 18 was extremely positive. In fact, initial retail sales of the new Project Rushmore motorcycles sparked the largest year-over-year new model year sales increase in two decades,” explained Harley-Davdison CEO Keith Wandell in the company’s investor communique.
In the first nine months of 2013, Harley-Davidson has sold 214,964 units to consumers, an overall increase of 4.1% YTD. Harley-Davidson now forecasts that it will ship between 259,000 to 264,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide by the end of 2013 (the Bar & Shield brand shipped 247,625 units last year).
The real important news though is that Harley-Davidson saw growth in its bottom-line figures. Up 21.1% over Q3 2012, Harley-Davidson reported operating income of $175.5 million, while revenue grew 10.7% over last year’s Q3.
Accounting for roughly half of the American motorcycle market, Harley-Davidson’s positive gains the last three months should help buoy the two-wheeled industry. However, the bigger point from Harley-Davidson’s news is that brands that continue to develop their product lines and release new models in this economy are seeing positive results. Hopefully other OEMs will take note.