Harley-Davidson released its Q2 financial details last week, and the news is very much a mixed bag.
First, the good news: Harley-Davidson is seeing sales numbers climb, particularly in North America.
In the North American market, Harley-Davidson’s Q2 sales rose 43 percent over the same time period in 2020. Considering the massive mess the moto industry went through last year, that’s no surprise, but it’s obviously better than a sales slide … and that’s what Harley-Davidson saw in other markets. The Euro, Asia and Latin America markets all slid, when compared to 2020’s Q2 numbers (the execs blamed the discontinuation of the Street line for some of that drop).
Still, North America is Harley-Davidson’s most important market, and the gains there were enough to give the company a 24 percent gain over 2020’s Q2 numbers, overall.
There were plenty of other tidbits in Harley-Davidson’s call to investors, which followed the Q2 information dump (see a transcript here at The Motley Fool). Chief Financial Officer Gina Goetter said absolute Q2 gross margin was up 14.5 points, to 30.6 percent, thanks to strong volumes and “favorable unit mix.” Operating margin was also up, at 14 percent. However:
The gross margin gain was partially offset by higher operating expense as we lap the cost savings initiatives undertaken last year to preserve cash at the onset of the pandemic.
The supply chain remains very fragile, not only for our business but for every global manufacturer. Our team has continued to do a great job managing through the unprecedented challenges, and to date, we’ve had no sustained downtime in our factories. We have continued to see inflation across all modes of freight as well as within raw materials, and we are forecasting this to continue throughout the fiscal year. To help offset, we implemented an average 2% pricing surcharge on select models in the U.S. effective July 1st for the remainder of model year ’21.
So, buying a Harley-Davidson is going to cost even more now, thanks to that surcharge.
What about Harley-Davidson’s battle with EU tariffs? Here’s what CEO Jochen Zeitz had to say in the call:
I also want to note our continued fight against the proposed EU tariffs that we discussed at the last quarter. We continue to pursue all remedies to the additional EU tariffs. We believe these tariffs relate to a trade dispute not of our making and that it’s unfair for our business to be targeted as part of this dispute. The initial outcomes of the trade talks at the G7 meeting are encouraging, and we remain hopeful for resolution.