Harley-Davidson Reports 11% Global Sales Increase

Harley-Davidson Corp. ended 2011 on a strong note, as the Milwaukee motorcycle manufacturer reported a 10.9% increase worldwide in motorcycle sales in the fourth quarter, compared to 2010.

The company’s 2011 revenue rose to $4.7 billion, compared to $4.2 billion for the previous year, and that sales performance helped bring its 2011 net income to $599.1 million ($2.55/diluted share), compared to $146.5 million (62 cents/diluted share) in 2010.

In the U.S., sales increased 11.8% during the final quarter.

Keith Wandell, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, credited the 2011 results with the company’s progress in becoming more agile and effective. He said changes have included shorter product development lead times.

“While we are encouraged by the retail sales trend, we continue to keep a close watch on the marketplace and remain cautious in our expectations for 2012,” Wandell said in a press release.

Units sold

On a worldwide basis, Harley-Davidson dealers sold 40,359 new motorcycles in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 10.9% over the 36,390 motorcycles sold in the same period one year ago.

Dealers sold 23,753 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the U.S., an 11.8% increase over the fourth quarter of 2010.

For the full year, worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 5.9% to 235,188 units, compared to sales of 222,110 units in 2010. U.S. retail sales of new motorcycles increased 5.8% to 151,683 units.

Harley-Davidson also said income from continuing operations was $54.6 million, or $0.24 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to a loss of $42.1 million, or $0.18 per share from continuing operations in the year-ago quarter.

For the full year 2011, income from continuing operations more than doubled to $548.1 million, or $2.33 per share, compared to income of $259.7 million, or $1.11 per share, from continuing operations in 2010.

In terms of Harley-Davidson’s various business segments, full-year operating income from motorcycles and related products grew 48.2% on higher shipment volume and operating margin improvement, the company said. In addition, operating income from financial services grew 47.8% on improvements in credit performance over 2010.

Revenue from motorcycle parts and accessories totaled $161.2 million during the quarter, up 7.9%, and revenue from general merchandise, which includes apparel and accessories, was $69.3 million, up 12.8% percent compared to a year ago.

Full year revenue from motorcycles was $3.55 billion, a 13.3% increase compared to a year ago, while full-year parts and accessories revenue was $816.6 million, a 9% increase over to 2010. General merchandise revenue was $274.1 million, a 5.8% increase over 2010.

Harley-Davidson expects to ship 240,000 to 245,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2012, a three-to five-percent increase over 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, the company expects to ship 58,000 to 63,000 motorcycles.

For the full year, Harley-Davidson expects its gross margin to be between 34.75% and 35.75%.