Harley-Davidson is still bleeding. This morning the motor company announced it will lay off 118 workers at its York, Pennsylvania assembly plant. It promised to add 118 jobs in Kansas City, It didn’t say when it would start hiring.
The announcement came two days after Polaris said it was adding two, new Indian baggers to its product line. Polaris, which announced it was discontinuing its Victory brand in January, will now offer a dozen Indian models. The new touring bikes are the Chieftain Limited and the Chieftain Elite. According to Polaris, the new bikes will feature 111-cubic-inch engines, “infotainment” and navigation systems and many pounds of shiny chrome. The Limited will retail for $24,449 and the Elite will cost $31,499.
Since the beginning of the “economic recovery” in 2008, Harley has pursued multiple marketing strategies. The company is now telling potential investors that it can create two million new American riders; sell half of its motorcycles overseas; create 100 new models in the next decade; and increase profits. Harley has been trying to sell touring bikes and Polaris is aggressively contesting Harley’s share of that market.
Harley-Davidson’s sales continue to fall.
Harley announced this week that its “consolidated revenue” for the first quarter of 2017 had dropped $250 million from the first quarter last year. The company’s net income dropped from $250.5 million to $186.4 million.
Sales declined everywhere except “Latin America,” where the company sold 456 more motorcycles than last year. Harley sold 33,316 new motorcycles in the United States in the first three months of 2017 which was about 2,000 fewer motorcycles than last year. The company sold 21,773 motorcycles in all the rest of the world which was also down from last year. The company said it sold 55,049 motorcycles worldwide which was down about four percent from 2016.
In a press release, Harley boss of bosses Matt Levatich said, “First quarter U.S. retail sales were in line with our projections and we remain confident in our full-year plan despite international retail sales being down in the first quarter. We are very pleased with our continued growth in U.S. market share and the progress our U.S. dealers made in reducing their inventory of 2016 motorcycles in the quarter.”
“We recently announced our plan to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally. We are energized by our focused strategy, and we believe our powerful brand and commitment to excellence will position us to drive demand for our products and grow our sport.”
The company plans to ship between 80,000 and 85.000 motorcycles between now and Independence Day.
Harley’s Chief Financial Officer John Olin said, “We believe the U.S. industry continues to be adversely affected by soft used bike prices and weakness in the oil-dependent areas and we continue to expect the industry will remain soft for the full year.”