Harley-Davidson reports North America down 17 percent in Q1

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (HDI) has released its first quarter 2023 results, reporting a 20 percent increase in consolidated revenue versus 2022. But North American sales were down 17 percent.

Harley-Davidson reported a first-quarter revenue increase of 20% but was down in North America.

“Harley-Davidson delivered a solid start to the year, with consolidated first-quarter revenue up 20%, driven by HDMC (Harley-Davidson Motor Company), reflecting the progress we continue to make in advancing our Hardwire strategic plan,” says Jochen Zeitz, chairman, CEO and president, Harley-Davidson.

First Quarter 2023 highlights

  • HDMC Revenue was up 21 percent versus prior year behind wholesale shipment growth, favorable unit mix and global pricing realization
  • Achieved HDMC Operating Income margin of 21.6%, an increase of 4.6 points versus prior year, as pricing, unit mix and cost productivity more than offset inflation
  • HDFS operating income finished down 32 percent on higher interest expense and higher credit losses
  • Repurchased $84 million of shares (2.0 million shares) on a discretionary basis
  • Company reaffirms its full-year 2023 outlook

Consolidated revenue was up 20 percent in the first quarter driven by HDMC revenue growth of 21 percent and HDFS revenue growth of 16 percent.

Consolidated operating income in the first quarter was up 28 percent, driven by an increase of 53 percent at HDMC, a decline of 32 percent at HDFS, and an operating loss of $25 million in the LiveWire segment. Consolidated operating income margin in the first quarter was 21 percent relative to 19 percent in the first quarter a year ago, representing a 132 basis-point improvement.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC) results

  • First quarter global motorcycle shipments increased 14 percent in advance of key riding season.
  • Revenue was up 21 percent driven by the increase in wholesale shipments and continued global pricing realization
  • Parts & Accessories revenue was up one percent driven by pricing, while Apparel revenue was up 39 percent behind sales of 120th-anniversary merchandise and product mix.
  • First quarter gross margin was up 4.2 points behind pricing, shipment mix, and cost productivity more than offsetting the negative impacts from foreign currency and cost inflation
  • First quarter operating income margin improved by 4.6 points largely due to the factors above

Retail motorcycle sales 

(excludes LiveWire units)

  • Global retail motorcycle sales in the first quarter were down 12 percent versus prior year
  • North America retail performance was down 17 percent, driven by the timing of new product launches, as well as the shifting macro conditions.
  • Growth in Asia Pacific was driven by continued strong demand across key markets, including Japan and Australia.
  • EMEA decline of 6 percent was primarily driven by market exits, in addition to a planned unit mix shift towards the profitable core product segments, following the sunsetting of Sportster. 
  • Latin America continued to be adversely impacted by regional economic conditions.

Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) results

  • HDFS’ operating income decline of $28 million in the first quarter, or down 32 percent, was driven by higher interest expenses and higher credit losses. The increase in credit losses was driven by several factors relating to the current macro environment.
  • Total quarter ending financing receivables were $7.6 billion, which was up 11 percent versus prior year, driven primarily by an increase in wholesale receivables.


  • LiveWire revenue for the first quarter decreased by 25 percent due to lower sales of electric motorcycles and STACYC electric balance bikes.
  • LiveWire’s operating loss of $25 million in the first quarter was driven by product development costs as well as increased costs versus the prior year, associated with standing up the new organization.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. – other results

  • Generated $47 million of cash from operating activities
  • Effective tax rate was 23 percent
  • Paid cash dividends of $24 million
  • Repurchased $84 million of shares (2.0 million shares) on a discretionary basis
  • Cash and cash equivalents of $1.6 billion at the end of the quarter
  • Financing raised for HDFS of $1.25 billion

2023 Financial Outlook

For the full year 2023, HDI reaffirms its initial guidance and continues to expect:

  • HDMC: revenue growth of 4 to 7% and operating income margin of 14.1 to 14.6%
  • HDFS: operating income decline of 20 to 25%
  • LiveWire: motorcycle unit sales of 750–2,000 and an operating loss of $115 to $125 million
  • Harley-Davidson, Inc.: capital investments of $225 to $250 million

New Segment Reporting Structure

The LiveWire Group became a separate public company trading on the New York Stock Exchange (LVWR) on September 27, 2022. Following the close, Harley-Davidson had an equity interest in LiveWire Group of approximately 89.4% and continued to consolidate LiveWire Group results with new adjustments for non-controlling shareholder interests. Consolidated Net Income attributable to Harley-Davidson, Inc. and EPS calculations now reflect these adjustments.

Beginning with the fourth quarter of 2022, new business segment reporting now includes:

  • Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC): Group that is accountable for the design, manufacturing, marketing and sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and related products
  • Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS): Group that provides motorcycle and related products financing and insurance products and services for our dealers and retail customers
  • LiveWire: Group that is accountable for the design, marketing and sales of LiveWire electric motorcycles and related products, including STACYC electric balance bikes

Prior period segment results have been retrospectively adjusted based on the new segments. In addition, the consolidated results will continue to be reflected by Harley-Davidson, Inc. (HDI) as the new corporate entity under which HDMC, HDFS and LiveWire operate.