Harley-Davidson Sales Launch to a 9% Gain Worldwide

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We now take a break from our usual doom and gloom when it comes to Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales, to report that the Bar & Shield brand has reported a stellar first quarter to 2021.

What we expect will the first of many motorcycle manufacturers to see strong growth in the new year, Harley-Davidson saw a 9% increase in motorcycles sold in the first three months of this year. Boom goes the dynamite.

Rocketing ahead was the American market, where Harley-Davidson does the bulk of its business (roughly 75% of the bike sold in 2021 were sold in the United States), with a 30% increase over the same time period last year.

That number comes with a few notes though, as the first quarter of 2020 was the start of the global pandemic, and involved more than a few markets having strict quarantine orders.

This makes Q1 2020 a rather low bar to beat with this latest sales report, but the trend is nevertheless there and real, and certainly Harley-Davidson can use some upward momentum.

It wasn’t all roses though for Milwaukee brand, as we did see a drop in some markets. For example, doing worse in Q1 2021 was Harley-Davidson’s European numbers, with the EU down 36% compared to last year.

Latin American had a similar failure to launch, and both markets can perhaps attribute those results to those regions seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, and thus a stifled consumer economy.

For the shareholders, the more important metrics are perhaps best found on the balance sheet, where Harley-Davidson posted a 10% overall increase in revenue ($1.423 billion), while net income boomed with a 272% increase, worth $259 million in Harley-Davidson’s pocket.

The brand attributes these results to the company’s Hardwire strategy, and the news comes on the release of the Pan-America 1250 adventure bike, which is perhaps the most important Harley-Davidson in recent history.

“I am very pleased with the pace of recovery that we have seen across our business, as demonstrated by the strong financial results this quarter,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson. 

“The actions we have taken to reshape the business are having a positive impact on our results, especially for our most important North American region,.”

“We can see the initial signs of consumer excitement and optimism returning and I am confident Harley-Davidson in 2021 is a significantly leaner, faster, and more efficient organization which is ready to win and successfully deliver on our 5-year Hardwire strategy, as the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.”

Motorcycles (sales in thousands) 
1st Quarter
2021 2020 Change
North America 32.8 25.2 30%
EMEA 4.9 7.7 -36%
Asia Pacific  5.8 5.8 1%
Latin America 0.7 1.8 -59%
Worldwide Total 44.2 40.4 9%

Source: Harley-Davidson