Harley-Davidson has reported a strong finish to 2011, with improved fourth-quarter performance capping a year of earnings and dealer retail sales growth.
Retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 10.9 percent worldwide in the fourth quarter compared to the prior-year period, including an 11.8 percent increase in the U.S. For the full year 2011, motorcycle sales rose 5.9 percent worldwide and 5.8 percent in the U.S.
On a segment basis, full-year operating income from motorcycles and related products grew 48.2 percent on higher shipment volume and operating margin improvement, while operating income from Financial Services grew 47.8 percent on continued improvement in credit performance, compared to 2010.
“Our improved performance in 2011 is the result of the tremendous efforts of all of our employees, dealers and suppliers,” said Keith Wandell, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson.
“Harley-Davidson is all about fulfilling dreams through remarkable motorcycles and extraordinary customer experiences. In 2011 we made strong progress at transforming our business to be more agile and effective than ever at exceeding customer expectations,” Wandell said.
“At retail, we believe the solid improvement in new Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales reflects the strong appeal of our product lineup to a diverse customer base and the great efforts of our dealers, combined with results from our investments in growth opportunities across all regions and improved consumer confidence in the U.S. While we are encouraged by the retail sales trend, we continue to keep a close watch on the marketplace and remain cautious in our expectations for 2012,” Wandell said.
For the full year, worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 5.9 percent to 235,188 units, compared to sales of 222,110 units in 2010. U.S. retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 5.8 percent to 151,683 units, and in international markets sales increased 6.1 percent to 83,505 units, for the full year compared to 2010. Industry-wide U.S. heavyweight new motorcycle (651cc-plus) retail unit sales increased 4.3 percent for the full year, compared to 2010.
Harley expects to ship 240,000 to 245,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2012, a three-to five-percent increase compared to 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, the company expects to ship 58,000 to 63,000 motorcycles.
For more information about Harley-Davidson, visit www.harley-davidson.com.