Harley-Davidson expects flat 2024 at best, cites soft demand

Harley-Davidson on Thursday forecast full-year revenue for its motorcycle segment to be flat to down 9% from a year earlier, as higher borrowing costs and sticky inflation pressure demand for its iconic vehicles in North America.

Shares of the Milwaukee-based company were down nearly 2% in premarket trading.

The 120-year-old motorcycle maker has focused on selling fewer bikes at higher prices to boost margins, but it wasn’t enough to offset a decline in bike shipments.

The company’s global motorcycle shipments fell 13% in the fourth quarter, compared to a year earlier due to dealers maintaining lower inventory amid slow demand.

Harley-Davidson’s retail sales globally were also down 11%, led by a 9% fall in North America.

“North American retail performance continues to be adversely impacted by higher interest rates, economic uncertainty, and lower sales of non-core motorcycles,” the company said.

Harley-Davidson’s sales from motorcycles and related products fell about 14% to $792 million in the quarter, missing analysts’ expectations of $880.2 million, according to LSEG data.

The company’s profit of 18 cents per share came in much above analysts estimates of 4 cents. (Reporting by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel)

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