Despite an expanding US economy, sales of Harley-Davidson (H-D) for 2019 reached its lowest point in the past 16 years. A fourth quarter report by H-D showed its income from motorcycle sales in the US fell by 8.5% to USD 874.1 million (RM3.56 billion), exceeding analysts predictions of a 3.4% drop.
The figure represents a total of 40,454 motorcycles sold in the US, versus a forecast of 41,700 units. According to chief executive officer Matthew Levatich, H-D’s heavy and expensive bikes were competing for “people’s scarce time, people’s scarce funding and commitment,” in a Reuters report.
Acknowledging the Milwaukee based motorcycle maker is facing significant challenges, Levatich said H-D is looking forward to new bike launches and its Livewire electric motorcycle to draw in new riders. H-D is also banking on expanding business operations internationally, notably in South-East Asia and China.
For 2019, H-D’s sales in the Asia-Pacific region rose by 2.7%, bolstered by its Thailand production facility coming online. H-D also plans to launch a small displacement motorcycle in China in the later part of 2020.
Expectations are high for sales in the Europe market to lift H-D’s fortunes, having obtained permission from the European Union to allow shipments from Thailand and circumventing the 25% retaliatory tariff on imports of US made motorcycles. H-D’s earnings forecast for 2020 is estimated to be between USD 4.53 billion (RM18.4 billion) to USD 4.66 billion (RM19.0 billion), compared to USD 4.57 billion (RM18.64 billion) in 2019.