On the back of strong sales in North America, Harley-Davidson has reported 24 per cent growth in global retail motorcycle sales.
Harley-Davidson has reported second quarter results for calendar year 2021 (April to June 2021), and from the looks of it, sales have been encouraging. Harley-Davidson has been battling several years of negative sales and revenue, leading to a management overhaul as well in 2020, which saw Jochen Zeitz heading the iconic American motorcycle brand as Chief Executive Officer. Zeitz reversed several crucial strategic decisions made by his predecessor Matt Levatich, and over the past three months, from April till June 2021, Harley-Davidson posted a 24 per cent increased in sales compared with the same period in 2020. In fact, for the first six months of 2021, Harley-Davidson’s sales have been up 18 per cent.
“I’m pleased with the pace of improvements and with the strong quarter that we have delivered,” said Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President and CEO, Harley-Davidson. “We are starting to see the initial proof points as we execute our Hardwire Strategy, as demonstrated by the positive financial results today. We are encouraged by the signs of consumer positivity in the market; however, we remain mindful of the significant supply chain challenges that we expect to continue to impact the sector.”
However, the first half of 2020 had lockdown measures around the world, so a comparative growth this year needs to be viewed in that reference. Moreover, the growth has been driven almost entirely by a bounce back in Harley-Davidson’s local market with sales soaring 43% in Q2 and 38% for the first six month. By contrast, sales were actually down in every other market of Europe, Middle East and Africa (7%), Asia-Pacific (13%), Latin America (47%) and EMEA (19%).
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According to Harley-Davidson, the slowdown in sales in these other markets is due to the brand taking its Street and Sportster models off sale because they didn’t meet the latest global emission regulations. Zeitz also trimmed Harley-Davidson’s operations in many markets, including India, where the Street models enjoyed strong sales, and were also manufactured.
Harley-Davidson has tweaked the business model in India, joining hands with Hero MotoCorp to offers sales and after-sales services for the brand. Going forward, Harley-Davidson is expected to once again re-look emerging markets like India and Asia-Pacific with small-displacement models, made in collaboration with brands in India and China. But for now, the focus will be on strengthening the existing product line-up, with new interest shown in the Pan America 1250, as well as the new Sportster S, which will spearhead Harley’s turnaround plan in the months to come.