Harley-Davidson Is Still A Work In Progress

The motorcycle maker beat profit expectations on Wednesday, but its plans for electric bikes are still way behind.

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Harley-Davidson, which still makes motorcycles, sold all of 387 LiveWires last year, its expensive all-electric offering, according to Bloomberg. It’s a figure that I almost can’t believe given that Harley aspires to sell tens of thousands of LiveWires, and it’s been out for a few years now. In other news, Harley said Wednesday that North America sales in the first quarter were down five percent.

Harley blamed supply chain issues, even while sales in Europe were up 28 percent compared to the first three months of last year, probably in large part due to a deal to reduce Trump-era tariffs last fall. Meanwhile, sales in Asia were up 16 percent, and in Latin America sales were up 13 percent, in what seems like the opposite results of what Harley CEO Jochen Zeitz wants, which is bigger sales at home.

Still, Harley did just fine overall. From Bloomberg:

The Milwaukee-based company posted earnings of $1.45 a share, excluding some items, slightly beating the $1.44 per share average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue from motorcycles and related products rose to $1.5 billion, Harley said Wednesday, above the $1.3 billion forecast by analysts.


Harley left intact a previous full-year forecast for 5% to 10% revenue growth and operating margins of 11% to 12%, saying achieving those targets assumes logistics and chip supplies improve in the second half.

“Our teams continue to work through the impact of the ongoing global supply chain disruption, and despite the challenging macro environment, we are optimistic for improvements in the second half of the year,” the company said in a statement.


Our own Bradley Brownell recently bought a LiveWire, which is a good if overly-expensive motorcycle, which is probably why sales are garbage. Harley is also in the midst of spinning off LiveWire to get in on Wall Street’s EV hype, a plan which I’m pretty skeptical of, but good luck. Harley said Wednesday that that plan is “on track to close in mid-2022,” so still a work in progress, like Harley itself. Harley is either the most interesting automaker/motorcycle maker in the world right now or possibly the least, given that it is slowly dying and aspires, these days, to mostly cash in on its legacy. That is fine short-term, but long-term Harley has a lot of work to do.