Harley-Davidson saw a very tough second quarter for 2020, with the company sharing grim financial details earlier this week, as well as more information on the new Hardwire corporate plan.
For months now, Harley-Davidson has generally seen motorcycle retail sale numbers shrink, with drops in overall revenue. There’s been occasional bright spots, but overall, things haven’t gone well for a while. However, while the company’s fortunes have been declining, Harley-Davidson has still been making money.
That wasn’t the case for 2020’s Q2. In the second quarter, Harley-Davidson made $865 million in revenue, a 47 percent year-over-year drop from 2019—that meant $92 million in losses.
A 27 percent drop in US retail sales was the main reason for the slump; Harley-Davidson’s share of the American heavyweight bike market dropped 8 percentage points, to 38.5 percent. Sales were also down in Latin America (a 51 percent slide) and Europe/Middle East/Africa (a 30 percent decline). H-D’s motorcycle and related products revenue was $669 million, a 53 percent drop year-over-year when compared to 2019.
It all sounds grim, but does this really mean motorcyclists are spurning H-D for other brands? Not necessarily. Remember, COVID-19 wrecked everyone’s plans for spring, 2020, and Harley-Davidson stopped shipping bikes to most dealers. Every brand was affected, but H-D took it particularly badly, and since then, the company has been busy restructuring, with big layoffs and new CEO Jochen Zeitz announcing this year’s Rewire corporate plan, followed by the five-year Hardwire plan, to rebuild the company.
Zeitz went over some aspects of the new plans, detailing a future that’s going to look much different from what outgoing CEO Matt Levatich planned. Levatich wanted to create 100 new models and expand, expand, expand. Zeitz’s plan sees the MoCo withdrawing from less profitable markets and focusing on a smaller number of models. What does that mean for the Pan America 1250 adventure bike? It seems H-D is still very interested in the Pan America, as it sees adventure riding as a growth sector. There also seems to be considerably less enthusiasm for the Bronx streetfighter, which was originally supposed to be launched alongside the Pan America this summer.