Harley-Davidson Anticipates Steady 2024, Points to Weak Demand

Harley-Davidson, the renowned motorcycle manufacturer, isn’t expecting significant growth for the year ahead. In fact, they’re predicting that their motorcycle segment’s revenue for the full year might remain stagnant or even dip by up to 9%. Why? Well, according to them, factors like higher borrowing costs and the persistent pressure of inflation are putting a damper on the demand for their beloved bikes, particularly in North America.

Challenges in North America Persist

The picture isn’t too rosy for Harley-Davidson, especially in North America where the volumes of their motorcycles continue to decline. Despite their efforts to improve margins by selling fewer bikes at higher prices, they’re still grappling with a decrease in bike shipments. In the fourth quarter alone, their global motorcycle shipments plummeted by 13% compared to the previous year. Dealers aren’t stocking up as much due to sluggish demand, which further exacerbates the situation.

Across the board, Harley-Davidson’s retail sales took a hit, dropping by 11% globally, with North America leading the decline at 9%. The company attributes this downturn to various factors including higher interest rates, economic uncertainties, and decreased sales of non-core motorcycles.

In terms of financials, Harley-Davidson’s sales from motorcycles and related products saw a significant drop of about 14%, totaling $792 million in the quarter. This figure fell short of analysts’ expectations, who were anticipating revenues closer to $880.2 million. However, the company managed to surprise with a profit of 18 cents per share, surpassing analysts’ estimates of 4 cents.

So, while Harley-Davidson may be facing some headwinds, they’re still navigating the terrain relatively well, at least in terms of profitability. But the road ahead remains uncertain as they grapple with the challenges of a shifting market landscape.