Harley-Davidson Sales Up 4.4% for 2013

01/31/2014 @ 5:47 pm, by Aakash Desai25 COMMENTS


The brand that seems to polarize motorcyclists worldwide but is inextricably tied to the image of “the biker”, did quite well in 2013. Hot off the presses of Harley-Davidson’s Accounting and Finance department in Milwaukee is the 2013 sales report detailing their growth in worldwide new motorcycle sales.

For 2013, H-D sold 5.7% more bikes in the fourth quarter and 4.4% over the full-year compared to the previous year.  Full year net income was $734 million on consolidated revenue of $5.9 billion. Compared to 2012 when the net income was $623.9 million on consolidated revenue of $5.58 billion.

President and CEO Keith Wandell cites various reasons for this success: “without question 2013 was an outstanding year for Harley-Davidson. We unveiled game-changing motorcycles like Project Rushmore and Street, launched surge manufacturing, celebrated our 110th anniversary with customers around the globe and delivered continued financial growth.”

The document also highlights improvements in organizational structure, employer, dealer and supplier support and efforts to expand the brands accessibility to broader audiences.

For 2013, 260,839 Harleys were sold worldwide with roughly two-thirds of them sold in the United States (167,016 units sold in the US, 74,039 sold abroad). The US market thus remains a sales stronghold for the brand, and these figures speak to the continued relevancy of the Harley marketing image and saliency in American motorcycling culture.

With Harley now looking towards the East to expand their cruiser empire bikes like the Street, it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the world will buy into the tired clichés of freedom, the open road, and rebellion betwixt your legs that is purportedly embodied in every Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Let the flame war begin.

2013 Harley-Davidson Quarterly Motorcycle Shipments

Sportster 13,588 16,907 11,903 7,910 50,308
Custom* 30,302 35,315 19,111 18,222 102,950
Touring 31,332 32,384 23,011 20,486 107,471
Total 75,222 84,606 54,025 46,618 260,471
Domestic 50,683 57,070 32,061 27,202 167,016
International 24,539 27,536 21,964 19,416 74,039
Total 75,222 84,606 54,025 46,618 260,471

Source: Harley-Davidson

  • Paul McM

    Freedom, the open road, and rebellion are not clichés, because they are things that will be loved, celebrated, and pursued as long as humans populate the planet.

    That said, I have ridden a good share of the latest Harley offerings (including one of the Rushmore bikes). For the life of me I cannot understand why so many people want a bike that is oppressively heavy, that shakes so much, and that forces you into a riding position akin to a lady having a gyno exam.

    I want to see all bike makers succeed because diversity is a good thing. But to be honest, I am stupefied to read that H-D took in $5.9 BILLION in revenue last year. As someone with 41 years of riding experience, embracing many different brands, I just can’t comprehend why Harley controls such a large share of the market, when there are so many other terrific motorcycles made by other manufacturers. This shall remain an eternal mystery to me I guess….

  • They are cliche when your entire brand image and marketing strategy revolves around them.

  • Campisi

    I hadn’t realised so many people enjoyed sitting their tailbone atop a paint shaker.

  • Rico Bustamente

    let the games begin….

    Like little kids when Mom says “let it out… cry all you want… you’ll feel better”…

    well…. do ya?

    Frankly, I am “stupefied” that the anti H-D crowd can’t understand why a well run US company that controls costs, produces a high quality, reliable product that is recognized worldwide, would be so successful.

    If you don’t like the product, don’t buy it…plain ‘n simple.

    But… what you all are really saying is “now if I ran H-D, I would blah, blah, blah”…

    You are the same crew that crucified H-D for letting Buell go… you all bitched & moaned about Erik Buell this, Erik Buell that…. but few if any of you bought a Buell when you had the chance & hew if any will now.

    I like ALL bikes… sure… I wish some models had better suspensions, ergo’s etc…. but that’s the market…

    So for the love of God…. give it a rest!

  • Starmag

    I wonder if skull and cross bones do-rags are up 4.4% as well, they seem to be a cult necessity even for folks who aren’t follicly challenged. H-D is genius at selling bar and shield clothing and accessories to their customers who pay willingly a premium to advertise for H-D for free. No other manufacturer even comes close. P.T. Barnum was unfortunately right. I wonder if they have a secret shrine up inside the marketing dept. in the Juneau plant of Edward Bernays. I like H-D and want them to succeed, which they obviously are, but I hope the new competition from Indian knocks back the general arrogance a bit.

  • Rider

    all of the above references to the vaunted H-D marketing department implies that the 260,471 new H-D owners in 2013 are mindless idiots taken in by some mysterious magical marketing karma…. all of sudden they wake up one morning & have an obsessive desire for skulls & loud pipes…..

    do ya think?

    Could it be that at least some if not most of the 260k owners bought a Harley because it suited their tastes, satisfied their requirements, etc…. same reason you guys ride the bikes you ride…

    or are you trying to say that only YOU can make a logical decision of what bike to buy & that the 260k Harley owners can’t…

    You guys must have really big heads….

  • mars

    there is nothing wrong with riding/owning Harleys, but dont deny the marketing strategy. fact is, some people are weak minded and they need to identify with something like the “biker” image to feel better about themselves.

  • Norm G.

    re: “The brand that seems to polarize motorcyclists worldwide”

    not worldwide… their country of origin.

    see entry for “cannibalism”.

  • Norm G.

    re: “I like H-D and want them to succeed”

    no you don’t.

    not like how the Swedes want Volvo to succeed. not like how the Germans want Mercedes to succeed. nor like the how Italians want Ferrari to succeed.

  • Norm G.

    re: “some people are weak minded”

    take the red pill…

    and i’ll show you how deep this rabbit hole goes. (Morpheus voice)

  • Norm G.

    re: “it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the world will buy into the tired clichés of freedom, the open road, and rebellion betwixt your legs that is purportedly embodied in every Harley-Davidson motorcycle.”

    if Shinya Kimura spoke English, he would ask, what you talkin’ ’bout willis…?

    Harley Davidson, on the brand recognition scale, right up there with Levi jeans and Buicks.

  • Looter

    Whoa nice video there Norm!

  • Starmag

    Rider, strawmen are so easy to knock down aren’t they? Read my comments above again. No disparaging of H-D’s products nor the reasons to own one. My comments are about the cult. You’ve never seen the human H-D billboards walking around? Or the ubiquitous skull and bones do-rags? They wear them to be noticed, and I have, too bad they’re not having the desired effect on me. Instead of “bad ass” I’m thinking really insecure. The large percentage of big twins with straight pipes isn’t doing motorcycling any P.R. favors either. Extremely self-centered. I wouldn’t think of telling anyone else what to do, but to me it’s sort of sad comedy.

    Norm G. says:
    February 1, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    re: “I like H-D and want them to succeed”

    no you don’t.

    Norm, mind reading now? To go with your,um, wit? Keep this up and you’ll have your own show in no time.

  • RobR

    For the life of me I’ll never figure out what the attraction is, I’ve rode my share of HDs from a sportster to a couple of FX s and a Road King . Each time I’d say the same thing, why would anyone want to spend or spend way to much of their hard earned $ for one of these? It’s insane! The only thing that comes to mind is the people that do are not willing to try anything else. If they did they would find out they spent twice as much on a machine that isn’t half as good.

  • dagoof

    @RobR, I’ve talked to riders that never have tried anything but an HD and of course they can only manage a sneer if you mention any other brand, which of course they have to do to maintain their entry in “The Club”. I also worked with a guy that went out and bought an HD and hated it. He tried a R1200RT and traded in the HD for it. So a few of them do get away…

  • rob

    Paul McM is correct, and as a US citizen I’ embarrassed that this is what we have to offer the world motorcycle community.
    The only viable motorcycle manufacturer that we offer is an overpriced, underpowered, ill-handling, ugly piece of crap.

  • L2C

    This thread is laughable. I bet each and every one of you who dislikes/hates Harleys -for whatever reason- has a brand in mind that you swear by. That brand could represent anything at all. It could be Paul Newman’s spaghetti sauce, for all I know, but you pick your butt up off the couch on the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly and invest in that brand without thinking because the product/feeling associated with it gives you exactly what you want.

    Savoring the taste, feeling, ride, social experience and associating it with that most revered of brands and its most-necessary logo/badge/ethos, you only think about the brand after the fact because by some mystical power unknown to you and your butt buddies, that brand had *YOU* in mind when it was created and put into production. You are alive!

    What a joke.

    I always laugh at this stuff. Sitting across from someone lecturing you on the evils of Apple or Microsoft or Dell or Whatever-the-Fux, meanwhile this person is dressed down exactly to the prescribed ways of The Cosby Show, Beverly Hills 90210, Miami Vice, Yo! MTV Raps, Dawson’s Creek, Brooks Brothers, Nirvana, or Skateboard Magazine.

    And you swear by the politician you voted into office last November, and the mighty greenbacks in your purse, that Betty Crocker® was the best you ever had — in your whole life.

    Now go gather ’round the *TUBE* with yer Budweisers, Doritos, Papa John’s and watch *THE SUPER BOWL*, you mindful “Finger lickin’ good!” consumers of no particular brand affiliation.

    Seahawks or Broncos?

    LMFAO, I’m just waiting for MotoGP to kick it off “for real” next week.

  • L2C

    Thanks for posting that vid, Norm. Excellent.

  • Bill

    What you missed in this article is the fact that HD also sold more bikes to women, minorities, and young people age 18-34. The prime demographic everyone else wants to sell to.


  • RobR

    I guess if someone’s brand ain’t HD then their gonna hear about it one way or another. A few people on a internet forum say they wouldn’t buy a Harley and their haters. LMFAO. What a joke! I’ve been riding on the street 35+ years and what rider and on what brand of bike on more than 1 occasion has insulted me for what I ride which now is Triumph, let me see, was it someone on a BMW, no,no. Was it someone on a Ducati, nope.

  • paulus

    Anything with 2 wheels is better than 4 wheels (to me).
    Well done HD for a stellar sales year. Lots of bikes sold… even more apparel sold.
    Whatever keeps the 2 wheeled world turning.

  • Rider

    Starmag… yeah.. right… strawmen….

    self centered…. V twin loud pipes making it bad for motorcycles…

    yeah… like all of the doo ragged Harley riders that WERE NOT involved in that NYC fiasco where your fellow sportbikers made international headlines…. cultish behavior, huh…

    Denying the facts do not make them cease to exist.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Elvis rode a Harley.

  • Singletrack

    I am perplexed with the Shiny Kimura video posted earlier. Chabott Engineering ?? I see lots of art. But not much engineering.

    Now this is the result of art & engineering.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRveGTFJwaU ,

    Until Hollywood decides to foster another image of motorcycling… we’re stuck with crap like Orange County Choppers. Can’t someone can ‘sex up’ the clinical image of a modern race shop?

  • Richard Gozinya

    Can’t really blame Harley for putting out the stuff they put out there. It’s what their customers demand. Their customers don’t demand performance, modern engineering, or superior handling. They want big, heavy, loud cruisers with lots of torque, made from steel. So, HD delivers on that. While I lament the fact that Harley never seriously pursued turning Lucifer’s Hammer into a production bike, I can’t really blame them for not doing it. Their customers didn’t want an under 300 lbs sportbike that ate Ducatis as a snack, they wanted something that was good for cruising around on, lazily traveling wherever the rider felt like going.

    So, we are where we are. On the other hand, I can hate Polaris for their me too bullshit. Let Indian die already. The few people who experienced riding a brand new Indian are all either dead or in nursing homes. The nostalgia for that company is built on nothing but myth. And tassles.