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Harley-Davidson Reports Global Bike Sales Up 24 Percent In 2021 Q2

By General Posts

You can read the Company Announcement at their Official Website by Clicking Here.

Second Quarter 2021 Highlights and Results, and Recent Announcements

  • Delivered Q2 GAAP diluted EPS of $1.33, up $1.93 over Q2 2020
  • Q2 H-D, Inc. total revenue up 77 percent over Q2 2020
  • North America Q2 retail sales up 43% over Q2 2020 and up 5% over Q2 2019
  • Delivered strong Motorcycles and Related Products (Motorcycles) segment gross margin and operating margin driven by the Rewire product portfolio adjustments
  • Delivered Financial Services segment Q2 2021 operating income growth of $90 million over Q2 2020 driven by a lower provision for credit losses
  • Launched LiveWire as a standalone brand and introduced LiveWire ONE™ – the electric motorcycle built for the urban experience, with the power and range to take you beyond
  • Revealed Sportster® S, the all-new Sportster motorcycle built on the Revolution Max platform
  • Launched H-D1™ Marketplace today, the ultimate online destination for pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles in North America

Rolling in the right direction.
by Janaki Jitchotvisut from https://www.rideapart.com

On July 21, 2021, Harley-Davidson reported its 2021 Q2 results. The numbers are definitely moving in the right direction, especially when compared to the same time period in 2020. Worldwide Harley motorcycle sales are up 24 percent, due entirely to an impressive sales rebound in North America.

North American sales are up 43 percent year-on-year in Q2, which is the only positive number when broken down by sales region. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (commonly referred to among some OEMs as “EMEA”) are down by 7 percent for the same time period. Asia Pacific sales are down 13 percent, and Latin America sales are down 31 percent.

Taking the entirety of the first six months of 2021 into consideration, worldwide Harley-Davidson bike sales are up 18 percent—which is still good news for the embattled OEM. North American sales are up 38 percent, EMEA sales are down 19 percent, Asia Pacific sales are down 7 percent, and Latin America sales are down 47 percent.

Harley had some explanations for some of the negative numbers, stressing that they’re all part of its overall strategy. EMEA Q2 retail sales, the Motor Company said, went down because Harley stopped sales of the Street and legacy Sportster models in the region. Meanwhile, Latin America sales were negatively impacted by a dealer reduction across the region, as well as “pricing actions across the portfolio, which were executed as part of the Rewire strategy.”

Revenues for Q2 of 2021 are up 99 percent over the same period in 2020. That likely comes as particularly good news, since that contributes to a revenue increase of 45 percent over 2020 for the first six months of the year. While most of these numbers are still below those achieved in 2019, this is clearly the strongest showing since the pandemic became a factor. North American Q2 retail sales stand out as an exception, as those are actually up 5 percent over Q2 2019.

Parts and Accessories sales are likewise up 32 percent for Q2 of 2021, and General Merchandise sales are up 47 percent. Overall, Harley says, it forecasts full-year 2021 motorcycle segment revenue growth to end up between 30 and 35 percent, year-on-year. Since that is just a forecast, we’ll have to see how that prediction pans out over the coming months.

Annual Steel Horse Rally at Arkansas

By General Posts

When 20,000 motorcyclists converged on Fort Smith in Arkansas for the annual Steel Horse Rally, Meridian Rapid Defense Group was there to ensure a safe and memorable event.

Large parts of the downtown needed to be closed off to cars and trucks but still left open for the bikers to enter and that’s where Meridian’s Archer 1200 barriers were the perfect fit.

https://www.thesteelhorserally.com/

The Steel Horse Rally is a motorcycle gathering held on Fort Smith’s Garrison Avenue to benefit local charities. This year again, more than $100,000 was raised and an estimated $4.2 million of revenue flowed into city business over the two day rally in May.

Meridian’s CEO Peter Whitford said, “In this situation with a huge number of motorcycles and crowds on the streets, safety was of the utmost importance. By correct placement of our barriers, we were able ensure that cars and trucks were kept out of the mix.”

Meridian’s fully certified deployment team moved in with Archer barriers and quickly secured the street. The barriers, which carry the full certification of The SAFETY Act and each are made of 700 lbs of U.S. steel, were set far enough apart that bikes could easily pass through while larger vehicles were blocked from entering the rally area. The Archer barrier can be moved by one person and can stop a vehicle hitting it head-on at speed.

Capt. Daniel Grubbs from the Fort Smith Police Department explained that security was a big factor, “We set out to ensure the safety of the motorcycle riders and the general public during this event.”

Before the event Meridian worked with the city and organizers to prepare a fully certified vehicle safety mitigation plan.

“The rally was all about people enjoying themselves safely,” said Mr. Whitford. “And, importantly, raising money for local charities. With our contribution of the Archer barriers, we at Meridian were proud that we were able to do our part for local charities in Fort Smith.”

“We are excited and grateful for the return of the Steel Horse Rally,” rally president Dennis Snow said. “This year’s sponsors were vital to keeping the rally alive. A couple of months ago, because of COVID, we weren’t even sure if we would be able to have the 2021 Steel Horse Rally.”

Meridian Archer 1200 Barriers are “SAFETY Act Certified” by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) providing the ultimate standard in keeping people, communities and places safer. For more information about Meridian Rapid Defense Group and the Archer 1200 vehicle barrier visit www.meridian-barrier.com

Harley-Davidson’s renewed focus on touring bikes drives upbeat forecast

By General Posts

by Reuters from https://www.investing.com

U.S. motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) on Monday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecast for sales growth, as its focus on bigger and profitable touring bikes boost demand, sending its shares up more than 8%.

Since the middle of last year, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company, which has struggled to grow sales for the past several years, shifted its focus to big bikes, traditional markets such as the United States and Europe, and older and wealthier customers.

In February, the motorcycle maker unveiled a new turnaround plan that targets low double-digit earnings growth through 2025.

The company said its retail sales, a measure of demand at its dealerships, surged 30% to 32,800 motorcycles in North America in its first quarter.

Retail sales in Europe, Harley’s second biggest market outside the United States, slumped 36% to 4,900 motorcycles, due to the company’s decision to stop selling its smaller and less profitable Street or Sportster motorcycles and shipping delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said lower sales incentives and a cut in its selling, general and administrative expense lifted its motorcycle business operating margin by over 10 points to 18.5%.

It now expects motorcycles business revenue to grow in the range of 30% to 35% in 2021, up from its prior estimate of between 20% and 25%.

Harley’s net income jumped over threefold to $259 million in the quarter ended March 28, from $70 million a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.68 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of 88 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s revenue rose to $1.42 billion from about $1.30 billion.

Why shortages of a $1 chip sparked crisis in the global economy

By General Posts

by Bloomberg from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

The chip crunch was born out of an understandable miscalculation as the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. When Covid-19 began spreading from China to the rest of the world, many companies anticipated people would cut back as times got tough.

To understand why the $450 billion semiconductor industry has lurched into crisis, a helpful place to start is a one-dollar part called a display driver.

Hundreds of different kinds of chips make up the global silicon industry, with the flashiest ones from Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. going for $100 apiece to more than $1,000. Those run powerful computers or the shiny smartphone in your pocket. A display driver is mundane by contrast: Its sole purpose is to convey basic instructions for illuminating the screen on your phone, monitor or navigation system.

The trouble for the chip industry — and increasingly companies beyond tech, like automakers — is that there aren’t enough display drivers to go around. Firms that make them can’t keep up with surging demand so prices are spiking. That’s contributing to short supplies and increasing costs for liquid crystal display panels, essential components for making televisions and laptops, as well as cars, airplanes and high-end refrigerators.

“It’s not like you can just make do. If you have everything else, but you don’t have a display driver, then you can’t build your product,” says Stacy Rasgon, who covers the semiconductor industry for Sanford C. Bernstein.

Now the crunch in a handful of such seemingly insignificant parts — power management chips are also in short supply, for example — is cascading through the global economy. Automakers like Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG have already scaled back production, leading to estimates for more than $60 billion in lost revenue for the industry this year.

The situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. A rare winter storm in Texas knocked out swaths of U.S. production. A fire at a key Japan factory will shut the facility for a month. Samsung Electronics Co. warned of a “serious imbalance” in the industry, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it can’t keep up with demand despite running factories at more than 100% of capacity.

“I have never seen anything like this in the past 20 years since our company’s founding,” said Jordan Wu, co-founder and chief executive officer of Himax Technologies Co., a leading supplier of display drivers. “Every application is short of chips.”

2021-semiconductors-chips-shortage-inline
The chip crunch was born out of an understandable miscalculation as the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. When Covid-19 began spreading from China to the rest of the world, many companies anticipated people would cut back as times got tough.

“I slashed all my projections. I was using the financial crisis as the model,” says Rasgon. “But demand was just really resilient.”

People stuck at home started buying technology — and then kept buying. They purchased better computers and bigger displays so they could work remotely. They got their kids new laptops for distance learning. They scooped up 4K televisions, game consoles, milk frothers, air fryers and immersion blenders to make life under quarantine more palatable. The pandemic turned into an extended Black Friday onlinepalooza.

Automakers were blindsided. They shut factories during the lockdown while demand crashed because no one could get to showrooms. They told suppliers to stop shipping components, including the chips that are increasingly essential for cars.

Then late last year, demand began to pick up. People wanted to get out and they didn’t want to use public transportation. Automakers reopened factories and went hat in hand to chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung. Their response? Back of the line. They couldn’t make chips fast enough for their still-loyal customers.

A year of poor planning led to carmakers’ massive chip shortage
Himax’s Jordan Wu is in the middle of the tech industry’s tempest. On a recent March morning, the bespectacled 61-year-old agreed to meet at his Taipei office to discuss the shortages and why they are so challenging to resolve. He was eager enough to talk that interview was scheduled for the same morning Bloomberg News requested it, with two of his staff joining in person and another two dialing in by phone. He wore a mask throughout the interview, speaking carefully and articulately.

Wu founded Himax in 2001 with his brother Biing-seng, now the company’s chairman. They started out making driver ICs (for integrated circuits), as they’re known in the industry, for notebook computers and monitors. They went public in 2006 and grew with the computer industry, expanding into smartphones, tablets and touch screens. Their chips are now used in scores of products, from phones and televisions to automobiles.

Wu explained that he can’t make more display drivers by pushing his workforce harder. Himax designs display drivers and then has them manufactured at a foundry like TSMC or United Microelectronics Corp. His chips are made on what’s artfully called “mature node” technology, equipment at least a couple generations behind the cutting-edge processes. These machines etch lines in silicon at a width of 16 nanometers or more, compared with 5 nanometers for high-end chips.?

The chip’s makers have seen their shares soar with strong demand
The bottleneck is that these mature chip-making lines are running flat out. Wu says the pandemic drove such strong demand that manufacturing partners can’t make enough display drivers for all the panels that go into computers, televisions and game consoles — plus all the new products that companies are putting screens into, like refrigerators, smart thermometers and car-entertainment systems.

There’s been a particular squeeze in driver ICs for automotive systems because they’re usually made on 8-inch silicon wafers, rather than more advanced 12-inch wafers. Sumco Corp., one of the leading wafer manufacturers, reported production capacity for 8-inch equipment lines was about 5,000 wafers a month in 2020 — less than it was in 2017.

No one is building more mature-node manufacturing lines because it doesn’t make economic sense. The existing lines are fully depreciated and fine-tuned for almost perfect yields, meaning basic display drivers can be made for less than a dollar and more advanced versions for not much more. Buying new equipment and starting off at lower yields would mean much higher expenses.

“Building new capacity is too expensive,” Wu says. Peers like Novatek Microelectronics Corp., also based in Taiwan, have the same constraints.

That shortfall is showing up in a spike in LCD prices. A 50-inch LCD panel for televisions doubled in price between January 2020 and this March. Bloomberg Intelligence’s Matthew Kanterman projects that LCD prices will keep rising at least until the third quarter. There is a “a dire shortage” of display driver chips, he said.

LCD Prices Are Surging
Aggravating the situation is a lack of glass. Major glass makers reported accidents at their production sites, including a blackout at a Nippon Electric Glass Co.’s factory in December and an explosion at AGC Fine Techno Korea’s factory in January. Production will likely remain constrained at least through summer this year, display consultancy DSCC Co-founder Yoshio Tamura said.

On April 1, I-O Data Device Inc., a major Japanese computer peripherals maker, raised the price of their 26 LCD monitors by 5,000 yen on average, the biggest increase since they began selling the monitors two decades ago. A spokeswoman said the company can’t make any profit without the increases due to rising costs for components.

All of this has been a boon to Himax’s business. Sales are surging and its stock price has tripled since November.

But the CEO isn’t celebrating. His whole business is built around giving customers what they want, so his inability to meet their requests at such a critical time is frustrating. He doesn’t expect the crunch, especially for automotive components, to end any time soon.

“We have not reached a position where we can see the light at the end of tunnel yet,” Wu said.

Harley-Davidson Has Missed the Mark in Electric Transportation

By General Posts

by Travis Hoium from https://www.fool.com

The company can’t get over its past success.

The iconic Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) brand is in trouble. The company has seen revenue fall for a half-decade, and earnings have evaporated. Strategies to get into electric motorcycles have largely failed, and the core business doesn’t show any signs of a turnaround.

Despite all of these challenges, Harley-Davidson stock is up 82% over the past year, and investors seem optimistic about a turnaround. But there’s good reason to think that won’t happen for this leisure stock.

Harley-Davidson’s motorcycle market is shrinking

One thing is clear: Harley-Davidson’s market is getting smaller as the culture that brought the company to industry dominance diminishes. The customer base is aging, younger consumers are no longer interested in the look or sound of Harley-Davidsons, and growing markets adjacent to the motorcycle market have been difficult for the brand to enter.

The biggest challenge is that Harley-Davidson was always a culture brand, and that’s what made it so powerful for decades. It wasn’t just motorcycles — it was people’s apparel, the sound the bikes made, and long rides on the open road. As more people move to urban markets and look for less disruptive means of transportation, the culture looks out of date.

Going electric isn’t enough

Harley-Davidson hasn’t been completely surprised by the industry’s changes — it saw the electric vehicle market coming to motorcycles. But it miscalculated what kind of products consumers want and where its brand can connect. The current LiveWire products are a similar form factor to traditional motorcycles, but that’s not where consumers are trending.

Electric scooters are really where the growth has been, with Statista estimating that about 50 million electric scooters and bicycles were sold in 2020. Grand View Research estimates the electric scooter market will grow from $20 billion in 2020 to $42 billion in 2030. This is where the growth is, and Harley-Davidson is essentially absent. If it’s looking to attract younger customers, scooters would have been a great way to grow the business.

Just getting into electric mobility isn’t enough — companies have to make the right products and have the right brands. Harley-Davidson is neither, meaning it is missing out on a huge growth market that’s adjacent to its core products.

No easy answers

Management has tried to lay out a turnaround strategy. They want to get into used motorcycle sales, and expand the lineup of electric motorcycles and bicycles. But used bikes are just an easy revenue grab, and there’s no indication that Harley-Davidson will build significant market share in smaller electric mobility products.

The future is looking dimmer by the day for Harley-Davidson. Sometimes an iconic brand like this simply sees the world pass it by.

Harley borrows Detroit’s used-car playbook to pursue younger riders

By General Posts

from https://www.channelnewsasia.com

Harley-Davidson has decided the best way to get younger customers to buy a new motorcycle is to sell them a used one first.

The Milwaukee-based company plans to roll out a certified pre-owned bike program, known as H-D Certified, adapting a strategy carmakers have been following for years to position well-tended used vehicles as a substitute for low-margin, “entry-level” new models.

Harley’s embrace of used bikes is part of a new five-year turnaround strategy under Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz, and is the latest effort to expand the brand’s appeal beyond middle-aged and affluent riders.

The 118-year-old American brand has been steadily losing US market share amid declining retail sales for six years.

But the demand for used Harleys, which are less expensive, has remained strong. Some dealers told Reuters that pre-owned bikes last year outsold new ones by three-to-one.

Melissa Walters, owner of a Harley dealership in Fresno, California, says the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increased demand for outdoor recreational activity, but dealers are hard-pressed to find bikes to sell to customers.

“People are tired of staying home,” she said. “They want to go out and do something.”

That sentiment was echoed by over a dozen dealers in six states.

Data from industry consultant JD Power shows Harley was the most sought-after brand in the used big bikes market last year, boosting bets the certified program will draw in new customers.

For Harley, it offers a way to build brand loyalty and attract new customers without engineering and manufacturing new lower-cost bikes, which tend to have lower profit margins.

“We believe this program will drive Harley-Davidson desirability, increase sales and margins, and enhance the overall customer experience while supporting growth,” Zeitz told Reuters.

Under the pre-owned bike program, which was revealed last month, Harley will certify motorcycles up to five years old with up to 40,234km. Certified bikes will be inspected and backed by a 12-month limited warranty, and can be financed by Harley’s financial arm, distinguishing them from other used Harleys.

While the heavyweight motorcycle maker has a similar program in the United Kingdom, this is the first time it is entering the used marketplace in the United States – its biggest market.

The program will be launched in late April and over 300 dealers have expressed interest in participating so far, Harley told Reuters.

“It’s going to draw new riders … and will give them entry into the Harley-Davidson world,” said Brad Conn, marketing coordinator at an Indiana-based dealership that plans to sign up for the program.

A POTENTIAL REVENUE STREAM

In the auto industry, according to JD Power, similar programs offer higher profit to dealers with faster inventory turnover. JD Power’s data also shows the programs are more effective in cultivating brand loyalty and tend to generate more business for the financial arms of automakers, which fund the vehicle purchases.

James Hardiman, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said the secondary motorcycle market has become a big business over the last decade and could be a “significant” revenue stream for Harley.

In 2017, online retailer for pre-owned vehicles RumbleOn pegged the value of the used motorcycle market in the United States at US$7.5 billion a year, with Harley bikes accounting for more than half of sales. The study also showed customers aged 18-34 were buying three used Hogs for every new one.

NEW VERSUS OLD

A booming demand for pre-owned Harleys until now has been a drag on the company’s US retail sales, which have declined by nearly 40 per cent since 2014.

As its motorcycles do not wear out or go out of fashion quickly, used Harleys tend to be more in demand vis-à-vis pricey new models.

Zeitz has tried to address the problem in the past year by tightening the supplies of new bikes. Leaner new inventory together with the increased demand for outdoor sports have driven up the prices of pre-owned bikes.

Still, the company estimates there are 3 million unsold used Harleys in the United States, far more than the approximately 80,000 new bikes it shipped last year.

“The biggest competition for a new Harley-Davidson bike is not an Indian bike or a Honda, or a Suzuki bike, but is a used Harley-Davidson bike,” said Hardiman.

Faced with a similar situation in the 1990s, automakers launched certified programs to resell thousands of returned leased vehicles to first-time and budget-minded buyers.

The programs allowed them to scrap less-expensive entry-level models, which had razor-thin profit margins, freeing up resources for more profitable products.

Harley is pursuing similar goals. It has done away with some of the cheaper entry-level models and will ramp up investment in touring, large cruiser and trike bike segments that drive company profit.

It is also looking to increase sales of ancillary products such as accessories, general merchandise and financial services by leveraging the certified bike program.

Michael Uhlarik, founder and lead consultant at Motorcycle Global, reckons the certified program is aimed at replacing lost motorcycle revenue from falling shipments.

Harley’s bike shipments to dealers in the United States have dropped more than 60 per cent from the 206,000 units in 2008.

“It will never be a 200,000 vehicle-a-year company,” said Uhlarik. “They have to replace that lost revenue somewhere.”

Harley-Davidson to Begin Selling Used Motorcycles Next Month
by Rich Duprey from https://www.fool.com

Riders will be able to buy a used Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) motorcycle from dealers beginning in April under a program called H-D Certified as a means of introducing new riders to the Harley-Davidson brand and developing new revenue opportunities.

CEO Jochen Zeitz announced the new initiative during last month’s earnings conference call as part of The Hardwire five-year strategic plan, telling analysts, “There are two distinct parts to this market: new bikes and used bikes, both of which present opportunities which we will pursue.”

Amid declining industry sales, Harley-Davidson has been hit especially hard. U.S. sales fell 15% last quarter, hitting levels not seen in decades.

One problem that has plagued Harley has been used-motorcycle prices; because used bikes have been substantially cheaper, it has made selling new ones more difficult. Gone are the days when demand for Harleys was so high that there were shortages of new bikes, and used bikes could be sold for close to what they cost new.

Zeitz pointed out there are approximately 3 million used Harleys on the road, a million of which are seven years old or more. It wants to focus on those that are five years old or newer, with no more than 25,000 miles.

He says that’s the sweet spot of the market, offering “the highest potential to also get them engaged in new motorcycles in the future.”

While used-bike prices have been rising, Harley is looking to capitalize on the opportunity to bring new riders into dealerships by giving them an option on what they want to buy. It’s also a chance to get a customer in the door, since the program will be completely run at the dealer level.

The used bikes will be professionally inspected, verified as mechanically sound, and backed by a 12-month limited warranty.

Attendance down, but spending up at 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

By General Posts

by Siandhara Bonnet from https://rapidcityjournal.com

Leading up to the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the city and attendees expected changes in cleaning, events and sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they didn’t expect to see historically high numbers in first-time attendees, vendors and spending.

City Manager Daniel Ainslie said it was also a surprise to see the number of people that came to the city a week or two before the rally began.

“Everyone kind of thought the rally was going to be incredibly small because people are coming the week and two weeks before,” he said Friday. “We heard from vendors, too. Vendors haven’t been able to work since March … and were looking for an opportunity to do something.”

According to the Department of Transportation, the seven-day total for the rally from Aug. 7 was 365,979 people, which is down just by 7.5% compared to last year at the same time.

Ainslie said based on surveys the city has done, the demographic is slightly shifting for the rally, although the data isn’t finalized and won’t be until after the rally is completely over.

He said the city is seeing a drop off in the attendance of those in the 60-70 age range, which is understandable especially during the pandemic. He said there’s been an increase in those in their late 20s to early 30s.

“They say they’re coming because they’re looking for something to do,” he said. “The rally continues to grow and attracts a wider and wider audience that over the past 10 years, we’ve seen a larger and larger international presence.”

With the exception of this year, due to travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ainslie said, though, that it shows the rally is becoming a “slice of Americana” that’s appealing to an international audience.

Robin Baldwin, owner of Black Hills Rally & Gold, said she’s missing some of that international presence since many, particularly from Canada, are returning customers and friends.

Baldwin said she’s seen more tourists and customers before the rally than what’s typical. She also said her kiosks are receiving more business than locations inside a building.

“I don’t know what that means, but otherwise, we’re pleased with where things are because I could’ve not been doing anything,” she said.

There has, though, been an increase in online purchases, and Friday morning was the first day they weren’t “slammed” with orders.

Baldwin said she has sold out of a few items, like glassware, hats and flags, and may have to reorder some things.

Ainslie said final revenue numbers won’t be in until September, which is the deadline for year-round businesses to file their numbers, and won’t have final spending numbers until October.

However, he said the city tracks about 10 different long-time vendors and established businesses and is confident the total spending will be higher despite fewer guests.

Ainslie said the city’s liquor store sales increased by 26.5% compared to last year, selling a total of $429,125. He said he couldn’t release the kinds of liquor, beer or spirits sold at the store.

Both Ainslie and Rally and Events Director Jerry Cole said they think the city saw more turnover downtown than previous years.

“People would come downtown, walk though, buy their shirts, go and someone would pull in right behind them,” Cole said. “I think a lot of people didn’t go to bars or do the things they would’ve before. … Most of the people that came downtown really looked at that social distancing and stayed out in the open air.”

That social distancing and open air mentality is one the city hoped people would adapt this year due to the pandemic when it canceled some of the classic events like the opening ceremony, B-1 Bomber flyover, photo towers and more.

The city also made hand sanitizer dispensers available throughout downtown, which Ainslie said were filled up every night. He said the city had more on hand than used but is glad it was available for people.

Vendors also had hand sanitizer in many of their tents or buildings.

The city also spent more time on washing sidewalks than in the past, as well as cleaning the porta-potties.

Ainslie said the city hauled off 339.25 tons of garbage from downtown as of Thursday, which is down 3.5% from last year in addition to the 124 tons of residential garbage it has collected during rally week.

“That’s almost three times as much,” he said. “We’re not done yet. We’ll still be hauling for the next seven days.”

The garbage is taken to the landfill in Belle Fourche, which is about 30 miles away.

Ainslie said the city measures the success of the rally based on the health, safety and security of the community.

This year, there have only been three fatalities during the rally compared to four last year as of Friday, according to the Department of Public Safety.

William Cooper, 22, of College Station, Texas, and Ronald Ratzel, 55, of Ceres, New York, both died in a collision on U.S. Highway 14A Monday east of Sturgis. Steven Peterson, 60, of Cuba, New York was injured.

A 55-year-old woman, whose name has not been released as of Friday afternoon, died of her injuries from a one-vehicle crash Wednesday seven miles east of Hill City.

Tony Mangan, public information officer for DPS, said the reporting period ends at 6 a.m. Sunday.

“The fewer the better,” he said. “The fewer we have, the better for everybody.”

Mangan said the state Highway Patrol’s operations have been pretty consistent with previous years, although officers were given some personal protective equipment, like gloves and masks, due to the pandemic.

According to data, DPS has seen higher misdemeanor and felony drug arrests compared to the same time last year, as of 6 a.m. Friday.

It also saw more vehicle seizures for drug possession, which is typically done for felonies, and more cash seizures, although they’re still under investigation.

Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater and Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin said they’ve also seen a rise in misdemeanor and felony drug arrests.

The city police department had 90 misdemeanor arrests this year compared to 33 last year and 34 felony arrests compared to 19 last year.

“It’s becoming more prevalent of the violations,” VanDewater said. “We end up stopping people for crimes and we’re finding misdemeanor drugs as well as felony drugs. I don’t want to say it’s a common occurrence, but you’re seeing more and more violations.”

Merwin said his department stayed busy with calls from the campgrounds and many were alcohol-related.

“The campgrounds aren’t bad themselves,” he said Friday. “It’s like a city out there, too.”

Ainslie said it’s great to see so few incidents, especially when many were concerned about a number of people coming into the community.

Cole said the real success, though, will be determined in the following months as revenue numbers come in along with COVID-19 cases.

Suzuki’s profit beats estimate, steps up dividend

By General Posts

from https://www.reuters.com

TOKYO (Reuters) – Suzuki Motor (7269.T) posted its lowest annual operating profit in four years on Tuesday as the coronavirus pandemic hit demand for its cars, but the earnings beat estimates and the Japanese automaker raised its dividend, sending its shares surging.

Profit came in at 215.1 billion yen ($1.99 billion) for the year to March, down 34% from a year ago and its lowest since the year ended in March 2016. But it was higher than an average estimate of 201 billion yen profit drawn from 15 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Suzuki, the country’s No. 4 automaker, declined to give an earnings forecast for the current business year, citing uncertainties about the longer term impact of the coronavirus on its operations and sales.

It announced a year-end dividend of 48 yen per share, up from 37 yen a year ago, which included a special dividend to commemorate the centenary of the company’s foundation.

Suzuki shares soared as much as 9% on Tuesday.

The automaker sold 2.85 million vehicles globally in the year to March, down 14% from a year ago.

In India, where it sells roughly one in every two cars sold through its majority stake in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MRTI.NS), the automaker sold 1.44 million units, down 18% on the year. India accounts for just over half of Suzuki’s global car sales.

Suzuki has largely resumed full production of cars and motorcycles in Japan this week, while Maruti, India’s top-selling car maker, has also restarted domestic output, after a drop in demand due to the coronavirus and orders to curb movements of people forced manufacturers to shut factories in March.

($1 = 107.8300 yen)

Will 2020 mark a turnaround for motorcycle powerhouse Harley-Davidson?

By General Posts

Matt Levatich is CEO of Harley-Davidson.

by Margaret Naczek from https://www.bizjournals.com

For 117 years Harley-Davidson Inc. has led the market in motorcycles and continues to hold a dominant market share in the U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market.

Despite its dominance in motorcycles, fewer people are buying bikes, and the number of U.S. riders are growing at a slow pace. For several consecutive quarters, the company faced declining sales, lower revenue and flat stock prices.

With falling sales numbers, 2020 is becoming a pivotal year for the company founded in 1903. Harley has plans to grow riders to 4 million by 2027, from 3.1 million now, and invest in new markets with its More Roads to Harley-Davidson initiative, which launched in 2018. Some analysts, however, are uncertain of Harley’s ability to achieve such goals.

“We are becoming a company that excels and exists to not only build great bikes, but to build riders,” Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said in the company’s fourth-quarter conference call.

During the call, Levatich listed four target areas that the Harley plans to hit in 2020 to retain early riders, a category segment that the manufacturer has struggled with. The company plans using riders to recruit and coach new riders, allow early riders to experience riding opportunities on their own turn and on their own terms and solidifying rider commitment through experimental opportunities like overnight rides.

New motorcycles such as Harley’s first electric motorcycle LiveWire, released in September 2019, or the new Pan America adventure touring bike and Bronx Streetfighter bike, which are expected to release late in 2020, are also part of the company’s efforts to turn U.S. motorcycle sales around and build a strong ridership base.

At least one dealer is hopeful about the strategy.

“It’s brave if you think about it,” said Goran Zadrima, regional manager at Milwaukee and West Bend Harley-Davidson. “A lot of companies in the past have attempted to go after the Harley touring market, and everybody fell on their face trying to take Harley in the touring market. The fact that Harley is getting into the adventure and the streetfighter market, that’s a huge market. There’s a lot of good brands out there, but the one thing that Harley has that nobody has anywhere is the dealer network.”

Harley struggles to fire up new generation of riders with electric bike debut

By General Posts

by Rajesh Kumar Singh from https://www.reuters.com/

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N) is betting on electric motorcycles to attract the next generation of younger and more environmentally conscious riders to reverse declining U.S. sales.

But as Harley ships its first “LiveWire” bikes – priced at $29,799 – to dealers, there is little evidence the 116-year-old brand is catching on with new young customers.

The problem lies mostly with this “super-premium” product’s price. The bike costs nearly as much as a Tesla Model 3, and aims for a market that does not really exist: young, “green” and affluent first-time motorcyclists.

The sleek sport bike has been available for preorder in the United States since January. However, the bulk of the orders are coming in from existing and old riders, according to interviews with 40 of the 150 dealerships nationwide that are carrying the bike this year.

The dealers Reuters spoke with account for little over a quarter of LiveWire dealerships and are spread across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, California, Nevada, New Jersey and New York.

Harley has for years failed to increase sales in the United States, its top market accounting for more than half of its motorcycles sold. As its tattooed, baby-boomer base ages, the Milwaukee-based company is finding it challenging to woo new customers.

In 2018, Harley posted the steepest sales decline in four years in the United States. U.S. sales are tipped to fall again this year.

Harley Davidson’s U.S. Retail Sales

Grappling with an ageing customer base and the waning charm for its big bikes, Harley has failed to post sales growth in the United States – its biggest market – in the past four years.

The heavyweight motorcycle maker’s stock price has declined by 42% in the past five years. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index .SPX has gained 47%.

Price Barrier
When Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich announced LiveWire’s launch last year, his hope was the ease of riding motorcycles with no gears or clutch would help attract young and environmentally conscious urban riders.

In an interview with Reuters in February 2018, Levatich said the bike would help address Harley’s demographic problem.

“It is more about the next century than the last century,” he said at the time.

The preorders, thus far, have belied those hopes, according to the dealers.

“It is appealing to a demographic that is already riding,” said Gennaro Sepe, a sales manager at a Harley dealership in Chicago. His store has received four preorders for the bike. All of them are from existing riders.

Harley declined to comment on LiveWire preorders.

The motorcycle maker is not the only company investing in battery-powered transportation.

Tougher emissions rules in Europe, China and the United States are forcing auto companies to switch to electrified models. A survey of U.S. millennial motorcyclists, published in February by the Motorcycle Industry Council, found 69% of the riders interested in electric motorcycles.

Harley’s dealers said they are getting inquiries from young customers, but are struggling to translate them into sales. A key reason: LiveWire’s retail price.

“Interest is very high,” said a sales manager at a New Jersey-based dealership, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media. “But once you get to pricing, interest is thrown out of the window.”

Over half of young college graduates in America, whom Harley is courting with battery-powered bikes, are saddled with student loans that entail average repayment of $200 to $300 per month.

Harley is not offering any discount or incentives to push the sales, either, the dealers said.

In an interview with CNBC television in May, Levatich called LiveWire “one of the best engineered products on the market” and said it was worth its price.

Gary Jon Prough, general sales manager at a dealership in Countryside, Illinois, said the vast majority of millennials cannot afford the bike as LiveWire is targeted at young and affluent customers with incomes above $100,000 a year.

Tesla’s Way

To drive up sales, Prough and other dealers expect Harley to go Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) way: launch more affordable battery-powered vehicles after creating a buzz with the premium model.

Tesla’s first electric car cost over $100,000, but prices came down with subsequent models. Its Model 3 now comes with a base price of $35,000 and was instrumental in lifting its vehicle deliveries to a record level in the latest quarter.

Traditional Harley Davidson entry-level bikes cost about $6,900.

The motorcycle maker has plans to bring out four more electrified models in the mid-power, low-power, e-bicycles and kids’ two-wheeler segments by 2022.

But unlike Tesla, Harley does not enjoy the true first mover’s advantage.

California-based Zero Motorcycles is already selling electric bikes in the United States with retail prices ranging from $8,500 to $21,000. Its top-end bike – SR/F – is similar to LiveWire, but costs nearly $9,000 less.

Still, Bob Clark, a dealer for Zero’s bikes in Chicago, says he has not yet sold one SR/F to riders under the age of 35. All three electric bikes he sold to young riders this year were in the $10,000 price range.

“Young riders are environmentally conscious, but are also very price-sensitive,” Clark said.

It is not just pricing. LiveWire’s limited range is also hampering its sales.

The bike can travel 146 miles (235 km) in the city or 95 miles in combined city and highway riding per charge. An ordinary household outlet can provide an overnight charge, while Level 3 direct current fast chargers stationed at Harley dealers will fully charge the bike in 60 minutes.

This renders LiveWire less effective for longer-distance rides, limiting its appeal among rural riders who prefer touring bikes.

Seven Harley dealerships told Reuters they have not even bothered ordering the bike, which would require investing in a Level 3 charging station and training staff.

An Ohio-based dealer, who had initially signed up for LiveWire, said he pulled out at the last minute as he was not sure of the bike’s demand in his area.

Delayed Arrival

A delay in LiveWire’s arrival in stores has left the dealers in the Midwest and the East Coast with hardly a month to aggressively push the bike before the snow season sets in. Winter generally means a lull for motorcycle sales.

When dealers began taking preorders, the delivery was expected in August, but was later shifted to September. On Sept. 30, the dealers Reuters spoke with were still waiting for the first bike.

In a Twitter post on Oct. 2, Harley said the bikes are starting to arrive at authorized dealers. The tweet also carried a picture of the first LiveWire that was “rolled off the line” at its York, Pennsylvania, facility in late September.

With the demand rather limited, the dealers said, Harley has decided to keep the supplies tight in order to protect the bike’s brand value and prevent any price-discounting pressure. The dealers said they are all expecting to receive less than 10 LiveWires this year.

James Hardiman, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, reckons Harley would sell between 400 and 1,600 LiveWires in the first year. That is not even 1% of the 228,051 bikes it sold worldwide last year.

“This is going to be largely a rounding error certainly this year and even next,” Hardiman said.