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.

Source: Harley-Davidson

  • paulus

    Whether they are good or bad is not important… Well done for selling more 2 wheelers into the world.

  • smiler

    No accounting for taste. Having closed and nearly finished off Erik Buell as well as MV, the mainstream (old) motorcycle population gets older and more are adopting chaps, tassles and getting on the most inefficient and outdated form of personal transport on the planet.

    God for them.

  • K1200Rider

    let the harley hating begin.. and then the Buell sympathisers.. come on people, i dont care for harley any more than the next guy, but lets admit it, they know what it takes to sell bikes, T-shirts, cup holders and other shiny stuff!! If the japanese companies took a page out of harleys marketing books, they would be doing a whole lot better!
    Kudos to harley for getting more people on two wheels!! they dont just sell a bike, they sell a lifestyle!!

  • Rico Bustamente

    Freakin H-D… all their bikes suck, they screwed poor Erik Buell…. they abandoned MV…… As soon as my tantrum is over … I’m going to go full on AGATT & jump on my trusty 650 Vstrom & go out riding in the 90 degree heat. ..what? I hope I don’t have to wave to any of those black t shirt wearing HArley riders cause they are flat out mean…. & I might cry….

    Washington should pass a law against Harley….. force them to make their riders wear AGATT & wave… & the bikes should have sewing machine motors installed instead of big twins…. I would feel better riding my weestrom then…. & if you bought one… then maybe I would… but I’m afraid to go into one of the dealerships alone cause I think they know I ride a veestrom & they’ll see the AGATT …. & they might laugh…

    & Erik Buell… damn HD…. closed down Erik in 1 night…. not that I would have bought one of his bikes… & I won’t buy one now…. but it is a good reason to keep trashing Harley, right?

    & look at the technology…. hahahaha… so old school.. so inefficient…. no switches that change the timing, no traction control, no electronic suspension…. hahahah… my other bike… an R1 has all that stuff. OF course, I can’t really ride it anywhere near its capability since I only know how to go straight… but I go straight really fast….. & I zip by unsuspecting cars & they give me the finger… hahahah… take that HD…

    So.. I am right with ya Brother Smiler…. let them keep the tassles & assless chaps… & we will keep are full on spacesuit AGATT & we’ll ride off on our 650 vstroms laughing together in the 90 degree heat…… poor dumb Harley Davidson….. hahahahhaaa…

  • Gutterslob

    It’s not a surprising figure, really.

    Outside the US (or maybe in the US as well, I dunno), Harley’s are seen as luxury vehicles (Sunday morning ride types) and are often purchased by the richer folk. History has often shown that the rich tend to get richer faster during periods of economic downturn. If anything, Harley’s sales could be seen as lackluster compared to many other luxury brands that are experiencing record growth/profits.

  • Grey Matter

    So the average Harley guy doesn’t read this site so bash all you want. Their usually to busy growing beards, sitting in a bar, holding up traffic in 20 bike packs while some others are busy being doctors, pilots, working Wall Street or being business owners. Let’s face it, the market is being flooded with HD and it will soon reach it’s saturation point. When that will be, who knows. I can tell you this, HD has the most diverse population of riders. The problem is that every swinging schlong is riding one and that can pose a problem, but not for sales. HD’s image is changing slowly but surely and if you want to be original, buying chrome is the only way you can get that in an HD which creates even more sales. My personal issue with HD is that the most advanced bike they have is the V-Rod and even that came out over ten years ago. Last time I checked, a company not willing to change with the times is going to slowly fail. The only thing HD has going for them is a set of watercooled heads. So, far, this has been their biggest change but it’s funny how deep you have to dig to get that info. Seems like they don’t want anyone to know about it even though the developement of these heads started with some guy named Erik who used to work for HD and they even owned part of his company.

  • David

    I love HD topics.

    HD riders are such losers. Pretending to look bad ass.

    I much prefer Sportbikers and their actual hooliganism of blocking the interstates while doing wheelies and burnouts and yanking some poor SOB out of his car and beating him senseless in front of his wife and kid.

    The death of HD is such a tired argument. (of which I used to spout myself, LOL)

    More motorcycle sales is a GOOD thing….for everybody.

  • John D’Orazio

    I really can’t understand this hatred for Harley Davidson. I have the good fortune to be able to own several street bikes and among them is (Oh my God!!) a Harley. Harley makes a very fine bike. Fit and finish are second to none and the bike performs flawlessly within its design spec. I also can’t understand this love affair with Buell motorcycles. If they were so damn good, why didn’t they sell?

    Fact is, there are a lot of great bikes on the market these days. Ride what you like.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    I don’t think it’s hatred of Harley per sey.

    To me, Harley Davidson is like the Oakland Raiders (to Europeans, Harley is like Manchester United). I don’t hate the Oakland Raiders I hate their brain dead, moronic fans that think they’re bad-ass. They’re all fat, drunken, losers. Here’s the rub of my analogy–The Oakland Raiders do not tell fans to come to the games and act like hooligans drunk off thier asses acting like they’re hardasses. Harley Davidson, on the other hand, plays to the bad-ass biker image. They play it up, condone it.

    A harley davidson is a costume accessory. Leather chaps? check. Skull cap that won’t protect anything? check. Fingerless gloves? check. Leather vest with gang patch? check. Fat, middle aged, butt ugly pale white woman with tattoos on her kankles riding on back? check. Harley with super retarded loud pipes???? Of course! Now I can pretend I’m Sonny Barger! huh huh huh (in Beavis and Butthead laugh).

    That’s what I see as the problem with Harley Davidson.

    now on the other hand you have squids…

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Point being–Harley Davidson motorcycles are pretty damn cool. Most of the people who ride them? uggg.

  • Looter

    Harley haters are spitting on the grave of the VR1000. Pascal Picotte worked his ass off trying to appease you crotch rocketeers. Then Ford became a sponsor and the VR gave way to Harley edition pick-up trucks. The Harley hardcore then commenced to spit on said trucks. Spitting matches the image of the HD bad ass weekend warrior. I tried spitting with a full face helmet on once; to look tougher than what my 600cc’s afforded me. The Davidson should bring back the VR and hire VR to race as a new offering to sport biker sentinments. They should have made an MV Augusta edition F-onefiddy when it had the chance. :P

  • Mike

    Good for American jobs, but the thought of more “custom” Sportsters toddling around like grannies already makes my ears and eyes hurt. Although getting the stink-eye from a land pirate because my KLR “isn’t a real motorcycle” does make me chuckle.

  • Doctor Jelly

    Project Rushmore is all FL’s, air cooled and ‘Twin Cooled’ (aka liquid).

  • sunstroke

    If HD is selling sportsters to younger buyers, we can be hopeful about a long term market recovery for the entire industry. If HD is selling $20,000 image-bikes on credit, this news is just the prelude to another bailout.

    I hope HD’s hipster marketing scheme works. Hipsters aren’t my favorite, but cultivating a counter-culture that doesn’t shut down highways and start bar fights can’t be bad for Harley in the long run.

  • Bill

    I like HD motorcycles. I read this blog. I also like sport bikes, dirt bikes, naked bikes, touring bikes, electric bikes, and even scooters. I ride an ADV bike that actually gets dirty. Stop hating things that are successful just because you don’t get it. HD is also the number one seller of motorcycles to women.

  • paulus

    @ Mike: “Land Pirates” LOL
    Now I will forever be stuck with the mental image.

    As Bill rightly pointed out… bikes are fantastic, whatever the flavour!
    I will spend the weekend riding on-road and off-road. Enjoy.

  • It’s funny to hear all about how Harley Davidson builds the most outdated, inefficient, heavy, slow, etc motorcycles around.
    One has to keep in mind that what Harley Davidson actually is an sells an image/lifestyle and the bikes are basically the most expensive of the accessories that make up that image. To compare a Harley to any other motorcycle is to miss the point entirely.
    Ducati is successfully adopting a similar strategy and BMW has done it for years also.
    Some people like chrome, some like carbon fiber and others like aluminum luggage but it’s all the same wind.

  • Tom

    John D’Orazio says:

    I really can’t understand this hatred for Harley Davidson.


    It stems from H-D being inferior technology being passed off as the best that America can do and that only their bikes represent REAL America and Americans. Its not the bikes themselves, but the BS religious cult based on lies that surround them.

  • Grey Matter

    You want them to bring back a bike that was an epic fail? A bike that constantly blew up or had a mechanical? How many careers ended with the VR1000? I can count at least two. Pascal and Scott Russell. The machine was a blundering bomb of oil and engine bits. It was too heavy, underpowered and just a pile. The VR1000 won a couple of races….in the rain and everyother time, it would get it’s ass kicked. HD will never venture in that territory again because they don’t want to look like a bunch of idiots so they will keep making their inferior technology and you can go buy a bunch of chrome so it doesn’t look like your neighbors but wait, oh.. it still does.