Harley is back in the black

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Words: NZ Autocar
23 Apr 2021

After a run of awful quarterly results, especially in 2020, Harley-Davidson has kicked off 2021 on a high, with first-quarter sales up in North America, though this was offset by drops in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company posted an overall profit of $US259m.

This seems to indicate that the Hardwire interventions are starting to pay dividends. Chairman, president & CEO of Harley-Davidson, Jochen Zeitz, commented “The actions we have taken to reshape the business are having a positive impact on our results”.

“I am confident Harley-Davidson in 2021 is a significantly leaner, faster, and more efficient organization…[en route to being] the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.”

Globally, Harley-Davidson sold 44,200 units in the first quarter, up nine per cent on the 40,400 units sold at the same point in 2020. North America sales were up 30 per cent. Revenue rose by 12 per cent, with strong sales of touring motorcycles.

The pandemic, shipping issues and the disappearance of models like the Street all played their part in disappointing overseas results. Deliveries of the Pan America are now underway and should help bolster second quarter sales.

On the downside, European lawmakers have slapped a 56 per cent import tariff on American-built bikes entering the EU, as of June this year. That would include Harley product made in Thailand. That factory was set up to circumvent a 25 per cent tariff instituted by the EU in 2018.

Zeitz said the company will appeal the decision and added that the impact of this decision to compete in Europe is significant.

The move by the EU is also bad timing as Harley is set to launch the Pan America in the UK next month.

The US imposes tariffs of less than 2.5 per cent on European-built motorcycles.


 

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