New 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycles and popular used motorcycles are selling at Suburban Motors in Thiensville.
Rick Wood / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
With U.S. motorcycle sales continuing down a road that hasn’t been good for quite a while, Harley-Davidson Inc. on Tuesday reported a drop in profit for the first quarter of the year.
Harley said it had $174.8 million in net income, or $1.03 per share, for the period ended April 1, down 6.2% from $186.4 million, or $1.05 per share, in the same period a year ago. Analysts on average had expected profit of 90 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue in the recent quarter was $1.54 billion, up from $1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2017 as the company introduced new bikes and saw improved sales in some overseas markets.
Harley’s motorcycle sales in the U.S. were down 12% in the quarter compared with a year ago, with the overall U.S. industry down 11% for the same period. Harley and other makers of cruiser and touring motorcycles have seen sales fall year after year as Baby Boomers begin to age out of riding and fewer younger people step up to take their place.
Harley’s international sales were up 0.2% in the quarter, with the strongest growth in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, offset by declines in Asia and Canada.
Worldwide, including the U.S., sales fell 7.2%.
“The company is currently refining its plans and this summer intends to reveal significant additional steps to improve performance and value creation through 2022,” Harley said in a statement, not providing further details.
The company reaffirmed its motorcycle shipments estimate for the year, offering hope that its business could be stabilizing. For the current quarter, it expects to ship about 67,500 to 72,500 motorcycles, down from 81,807 a year earlier.
The company’s 10-year strategy is to train 2 million new U.S. riders, grow international business to 50% of sales, and launch 100 new “high impact” motorcycles.
Last week, the company said it was offering free motorcycles to eight college students joining its summer internship program. They will have the enviable task of being paid to ride and share their experiences on social media.
Harley says it will teach the interns how to ride, compensate them for their work and travels, and let them keep their motorcycles. The company says it’s looking for those that have the ability to create media content on the fly, are creative and can shoot great photos and videos. Applicants must be 18 years or older and looking for a career in social media.
In March, Harley said it acquired part of a California company that’s been making electric dirt bikes for eight years, and that it will collaborate with the company, Alta Motors, on Harley’s future electric motorcycles.
Harley says its first electric bike will be available for purchase in 2019.
This article will be updated later this morning.
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