Harley-Davidson Sales Continue to Decline, but Not as Quickly as Estimates Predicted

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By Wade Thiel

The Bleeding Has Slowed

Harley-Davidson reported a further decline in sales today for the first quarter of 2019. Despite the drop in the U.S. of 4.2 percent, the decline in Europe of 2.1 percent, and a drop of 6.7 percent worldwide, some are seeing it as a win for the company. It marks a slowing in the decline in sales. Estimates for the sales decline were far higher, meaning Harley did better than many analysts expected.

The company’s net income dropped around 27 percent. That’s not an insignificant number. With that kind of decrease in income, the company has to be a bit worried about the future. Harley cited European tariffs as a big contributing factor for the continued decline in sales.

“The big impact for us is European Union tariffs,” said Harley chief executive Matt Levatich, according to Forbes. Despite the drop in sales abroad and the European tariffs, Levatich said the company will still be moving forward with global plans.

“We’re pursuing our strategy to get to the European marketplace through our international manufacturing footprint. Clearly, this is an imperative for us as a business and we’ll continue to execute that strategy unless or until circumstances change,” he said.

The sales results from Harley and the impact of the tariffs imposed by the EU elicited a response from President Donald Trump. Trump tweeted that the tariffs were unfair and that the U.S. would “reciprocate” but didn’t elaborate on how. The EU put those tariffs in place after similar tariffs were set by the U.S. It will be interesting to see how further tariffs impact the situation.

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