Despite sluggish U.S. retail sales, Harley-Davidson Inc. managed just a 1.3 percent decline in revenue for 2007 compared to the previous year, the manufacturer said in its year-end financial report.
The manufacturer’s U.S. retail sales of new units declined 6.2 percent to approximately 251,700, a rate that was worse than the industry downfall (5 percent) for the U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market.
However, increases in foreign bike sales, general merchandise and parts and accessories sales made up some of the decreased revenue from U.S. bike sales.
“Harley-Davidson managed through a weak U.S. economy during 2007,” H-D CEO Jim Ziemer said in a press release.
“While these are challenging times in the United States, our international dealer network delivered double-digit retail sales growth in the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2007.”
Some of that increase in export sales came in Europe (up nearly 11 percent compared to the previous year), Canada (nearly 46 percent) and Japan (4.5 percent). Exports now account for nearly 27 percent of Harley’s shipments, an increase of approximately nine percentage points over 2004.
Like most of the industry, Harley-Davidson endured a difficult fourth quarter. Harley’s U.S retail sales fell more than 14 percent compared to the previous year quarter and revenue for the period ended Dec. 31 declined 7.7 percent while net income fell 26.3 percent.
However, the company does expect “moderate revenue growth” for 2008. It’s planning to ship between 68,000-72,000 Harley-Davidson bikes in the first quarter, which compares to the approximately 67,700 shipped in the previous year period.
“We expect the U.S. economy to continue to be very challenging in 2008,” Ziemer said, “and we will closely monitor the retail environment and regularly assess our wholesale shipments throughout the year.”
In its year-end report, the company also announced:
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