H-D Targets Larger Overseas Market

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Motorcycle News

If everything goes as planned during the restructuring of Harley-Davidson, by 2014 international sales will make up 40-percent of the iconic V-Twin maker’s sales.

Why the change? It’s been long coming, but last week Harley said its first-quarter profits fell 72 percent compared to last year’s first quarter. The company based in Milwaukee reported earning $33.3 million compared to $117.3 million in the same quarter last year.

Due to fierce competition, targeted customers aging and the overall descending economy in the United States, The Motor Company’s main reason for targeting overseas motorcyclists is due to having more potential for growth.

This all comes from CEO Keith Wandell’s restructuring plan. He has said many times that the company is “undeserved” in many regions of the world. Wandell’s overseas’ expansion has been giving the extra push considering during the failing first quarter, which saw retail sales of Harley’s high-end bikes fall more than 18 percent, six stateside dealerships closed due to financial trouble.

But during the same quarter, five dealerships opened in India, four are scheduled to open in Mexico and another in Ecuador to expand the company’s global motorcycling footprint.

Since obtaining CEO in May, 2009, Wandell has been cutting and cutting in hope to grow the brand. Part of his plan, which continues under much criticism, includes the closing of two factories and a distribution center, and plans to cut about 25-percent of the workforce (roughly 2,700-hourly workers and 840 administrative positions).

Also during his first six months, Wandell eliminated the Buell Motorcycle Co., an East Troy bike manufacturer that won the 2009 AMA Daytona SportBike title, and is continuing in his attempts to sell Harley’s premium brand, the Italian motorcycle company MV Agusta.

For 2010, the restructuring of Harley is expected to save $135 million to $155 million.