Harley: 2011 US Motorcycle Sales Up 5.8%

2011 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Sales

On Tuesday, Harley-Davidson released its fourth-quarter and overall yearly financial report for 2011.

The Motor Company reports that 2011 fourth-quarter sales were up 10.9 percent worldwide over the same period of 2010, which includes an 11.8 percent increase in the US alone.

For the entire year of 2011, new Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales were up 5.9 percent, including 5.8 percent here in the states.

H-D income from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was $54.6 million, or $0.24 per share, compared to $42.1 million, or $0.18 a share for the same quarter in 2010.

For the entire year, income from continuing operations more than doubled to $548.1 million, or $2.33 per share, compared to income of $259.7 million, or $1.11 per share, in 2010.

Keith Wandell (Harley-Davidson President and CEO) says: "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, Inc.

"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. "The changes underway across the organization will enable Harley-Davidson to be world class and customer led like never before, with shorter product development lead times, flexible manufacturing and an unmatched premium retail experience.

"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."

Following are detailed reports from Harley-Davidson:

Retail Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Sales

On a worldwide basis, dealers sold 40,359 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 10.9 percent increase compared to 36,390 motorcycles sold in the year-ago period. Dealers sold 23,753 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the U.S., an 11.8 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. In international markets, dealers sold 16,606 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the fourth quarter, an increase of 9.7 percent compared to the year-ago period.

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-Davidson Motorcycles and Related Products Segment Financial Results

Fourth-Quarter Segment Results: Revenue from Motorcycles during the fourth quarter of 2011 of $791.9 million was up 13.5 percent compared to the year-ago period. The Company shipped 50,730 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide during the quarter, compared to shipments of 44,481 motorcycles in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Revenue from Motorcycle Parts and Accessories (P&A) totaled $161.2 million during the quarter, up 7.9 percent, and revenue from General Merchandise, which includes MotorClothes® Apparel and Accessories, was $69.3 million, up 12.8 percent compared to the year-ago period.

Gross margin was 31.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to 29.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Fourth-quarter operating margin from motorcycles and related products was 3.5 percent on operating income of $35.6 million. In 2010, the Company had an operating loss in the fourth quarter from motorcycles and related products of $6.8 million.

Twelve-Month Segment Results: For the full year of 2011, the Company shipped 233,117 motorcycles to dealers and distributors, a 10.7 percent increase compared to 210,494 units shipped in 2010.

Revenue from Motorcycles for the full year was $3.55 billion, a 13.3 percent increase compared to the year-ago period. Full-year P&A revenue was $816.6 million, a 9.0 percent increase compared to 2010. General Merchandise revenue was $274.1 million, a 5.8 percent increase compared to 2010.

Gross margin for the full year was 33.4 percent and operating margin was 12.0 percent, compared to 34.2 percent and 9.1 percent respectively in 2010.

Financial Services Segment

The Financial Services segment recorded operating income of $56.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to operating income of $43.5 million in the year-ago quarter. The increase in fourth-quarter operating income was largely the result of continued improvement in credit performance at Harley-Davidson Financial Services. For the full year, operating income from financial services was $268.8 million, compared to operating income of $181.9 million in 2010.

Guidance

Harley-Davidson 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 the full year, Harley-Davidson expects gross margin to be between 34.75 percent and 35.75 percent. The Company expects capital expenditures of between $190 million and $210 million in 2012, which includes approximately $25 million to support restructuring activities.

Restructuring Update

In 2011, Harley-Davidson realized cumulative savings from restructuring activities initiated since early 2009 of $217 million, in line with company estimates of $210 million to $230 million. Upon completion, Harley-Davidson continues to expect restructuring activities to generate annual ongoing savings of $315 million to $335 million, beginning in 2014. For the full year 2011, Harley-Davidson incurred one-time restructuring costs of $68.0 million. The Company now expects all restructuring activities initiated since 2009 to result in one-time overall costs of $500 million to $520 million through 2013, including $50 million to $60 million in 2012, a $5 million reduction to the range previously provided.

Income Tax Rate

For the full year 2011, the Company’s effective income tax rate from continuing operations was 30.9 percent, compared to 33.5 percent in 2010. The lower 2011 effective tax rate was mainly driven by a 2011 change in the Wisconsin income tax law associated with certain net operating losses, and a one-time tax charge in 2010 associated with the federal healthcare legislation. In 2012, the Company expects its full-year effective tax rate from continuing operations to be approximately 35.5 percent.

Cash Flow

Cash and marketable securities totaled $1.68 billion at year-end 2011, compared to $1.16 billion at year-end 2010. For full-year 2011, Harley-Davidson generated $885.3 million of cash provided by operating activities from continuing operations, compared to $1.16 billion in 2010. Capital expenditures for full-year 2011 were $189.0 million.

Share Repurchase

The Company repurchased 3.5 million shares of Harley-Davidson, Inc. common stock at a cost of $127.0 million during the fourth quarter of 2011. At year-end 2011, there were approximately 230.5 million shares of Harley-Davidson common stock outstanding and 18.6 million shares remaining on board-approved share repurchase authorizations.

Discontinued Operations

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Harley-Davidson recognized a $51.0 million benefit on income from discontinued operations, driven by the reversal of tax amounts reserved in prior years related to the divestiture of the Company’s MV Agusta subsidiaries. The amounts had been reserved pending an agreement with the IRS on the tax treatment of the transaction. With the agreement, the Company anticipates no further financial adjustments related to MV Agusta.