Does Indian Motorcycle Have a Harley-Davidson Problem?

by Rich Duprey from https://www.fool.com/ Sales remained aloft longer than its rival, but now even its sales are falling. As much as falling motorcycle sales at Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) have been attributed to its core customer aging out of the market while the next generation of riders seems uninterested in buying the big bikes it produces, Indian Motorcycle sidestepped most of the same pitfalls even though it produces many of the same kinds of motorcycles as Harley does. Since being resurrected from bankruptcy by Polaris Industries (NYSE:PII) and returned to the market in 2014, Indian has been a steady performer with retail sales often rising in the double-digit percentages. That has allowed it to steal market share from Harley, whose sales often contracted at similar percentages. Yet with Polaris’ third-quarter earnings report released last month, investors may have to accept that Indian Motorcycle now has its own Harley-Davidson problem. A worsening sales decline Polaris Industries is not transparent at all when it comes to telling you how its motorcycle business is performing. Where Harley breaks down sales and shipments by geographic region and type of motorcycle, Polaris provides vague percentage increases or declines, maybe calling out a model once in a while, but never giving investors any real insight into how Indian’s various motorcycles are performing. What we do know is that despite double- and even triple-digit sales growth early on, Indian Motorcycle sales are now quickly spiraling down. Even as Polaris obscures the actual numbers, a mid-teen-percentage decline in retail sales that far eclipses the contraction of the broader motorcycle market suggests that this is becoming a big problem for the bike maker. Worse, the downdraft is accelerating. In the second quarter, Polaris said Indian retail sales were down by almost 10%, while in the first quarter they were down […]

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