Harley-Davidson to build more bikes in 2011

Harley-Davidson’s better-than-expected fourth quarter led the company to increase its expected 2011 production.

The manufacturer said today it will shift its production strategy, shipping more motorcycles next year to its U.S. dealers than it anticipates selling at retail. Harley expects to build 221,000-228,000 motorcycles next year, a 5-8 percent increase over a year ago.

Harley said the change in production strategy stems from dealer feedback as well as its goal to get dealer inventory back to appropriate levels.

Harley’s fourth-quarter retail sales in the United States were nearly on par with a year ago, even as the industry-wide heavyweight motorcycle sales declined nearly 15 percent.

For more on Harley’s fourth quarter, see an upcoming edition of Powersports Business.

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