Harley-Davidson tops estimates, but sales decline
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Harley-Davidson reported a decline in motorcycles sales in the U.S. and abroad as it continues to adapt to an aging clientele while navigating the costs of higher tariffs on its motorcycles shipped overseas.
President Donald Trump, who last summer supported calls for a boycott of the company after it announced it was moving some of its production outside the U.S., went to Twitter on Tuesday to call the European tariffs "unfair."
Harley-Davidson has been trying to make up for declining U.S. ridership by targeting overseas markets, a plan which has been hamstrung by the recent tariff wars. The company has been absorbing much of the costs of higher steel and aluminum prices due to the tariffs and previously estimated that foreign tariffs could cost it up to $100 million a year.
Harley-Davidson said it shipped 58,891 motorcycles in the first quarter compared with 63,944 a year ago. For the full year it expects to ship 217,000 to 222,000 motorcycles, including between 65,500 and 70,500 in the second quarter.
The company's U.S. motorcycle sales declined 4.2% and international sales fell 3.3% in the quarter.
U.S. motorcycle sales peaked at more than 1.1 million in 2005 but then plummeted during the recession and haven't recovered. Analysts say there aren't enough millennial riders to offset the number of baby boomers who no longer ride.
In a sign that the company is trying to lure a new generation of riders, Harley-Davidson acquired StaCyc, which produces electric bikes for kids. Harley-Davidson also plans to roll out its first electric motorcycle later this year.
The Milwaukee-based company's first quarter earnings and revenue met Wall Street expectations but fell from the same quarter last year. The company said a January recall also hurt results, as certain motorcycles were not available for sale.
First quarter earnings fell to $127.9 million from $174.8 million last year. On a per-share basis, the company said it had profit of 80 cents, which beat Wall Street expectations of 67 cents, but was less than the $1.03 for last year's first quarter.
The motorcycle maker posted revenue of $1.38 billion in the period. Its adjusted revenue — which excludes financial services revenue — was $1.2 billion, which met Street forecasts. The company had $1.54 billion in total revenue in the first quarter last year.
In midday trading, Harley-Davidson Inc. shares edged up 36 cents to $40.08.