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Bikes in focus for safety
July 15, 2014
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NEW YORK: Harley-Davidson has recalled 66,241 motorcycles because of concerns the front brakes might engage unexpectedly.

The country’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, which makes some of the world’s largest motorcycles, reported to the National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration that certain touring motorcycles outfitted with ABS braking systems and manufactured between July 1, 2013 and May 7, 2014 could experience sudden braking and front wheel lock-up.

Harley said the sudden braking incidents were caused by front brake lines getting trapped between the fuel tank and the frame, resulting in increased brake line pressure.

The company, which said its national dealer network would correct the problem at no cost, said it was aware of five crashes related to the defect, resulting in two injuries.

In April this year, Harley-Davidson, Inc. announced that the first-quarter net income was $265.9 million on consolidated revenue of $1.73 billion, compared to net income of $224.1 million in the year-ago period on consolidated revenue of $1.57 billion.

“Harley-Davidson delivered gains on many fronts in the first quarter, with shipments up 7.3 per cent, strong margin improvement and solid growth in dealer new motorcycle sales,” said Keith Wandell, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc.

“Thanks to the great contributions of our employees, dealers and suppliers, we continue to lead at delivering exceptional customer experiences in 89 countries,” said Wandell. “Our Project RUSHMORE motorcycles were in high demand in the quarter and we began shipping the Harley-Davidson Streetô 750 and 500 into select markets. These motorcycles, together with continuous improvement in our operations at every level, underscore the momentum we’ve established as a customer-led company.”

Dealers worldwide sold 57,415 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the first quarter of 2014 compared to 54,254 motorcycles in the year-ago quarter.

In the US, dealers sold 35,730 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the quarter, up 3.0 per cent compared to sales of 34,706 motorcycles in the year-ago period.

In international markets, dealers sold 21,685 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the first quarter, up 10.9 per cent compared to 19,548 motorcycles in the year-ago period, with sales up 20.5 per cent in the Asia Pacific region, 8.2 per cent in the EMEA region and 8.9 per cent in the Latin America region, and down 2.4 per cent in Canada. “Our dealers had a solid quarter of retail motorcycle sales. Sales in the Asia Pacific region were up strongly, and we are encouraged by the continued growth of new Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales in Europe. We’re also excited to be entering the heart of the retail selling season in the US, having achieved first-quarter retail growth of 3.0 per cent in the midst of a long, cold winter,” said Wandell.

According to Wandell, “there’s also great news for Harley-Davidson in the annual reporting of our demographic market share data.”

In 2013, for the sixth consecutive year, Harley-Davidson was the number-one seller of new on-road motorcycles in the US, both 601cc-plus and across all displacements, to young adults age 18-34, women, African-Americans and Hispanics (“outreach” customers) and Caucasian men age 35-plus (“core” customers), according to Polk 2013 US new motorcycle registration data from IHS Automotive. The Company grew its US market share and also increased its share gap to the nearest competitor in each of these segments, compared to 2012.

“Together with our dealers, we continued to expand the appeal of our products and the Harley-Davidson experience,” said Wandell. “Harley-Davidson dealers sold more than four times as many new, on-road motorcycles, 601cc and up, to US young adults last year, and among riders age 35-plus, more than nine times as many to women, more than six times as many to African Americans and more than seven times as many to Hispanics, as the nearest competitor.”

According to Harley-Davidson’s internal data, retail sales of its motorcycles to US outreach customers grew at more than twice the rate of sales growth to core customers in 2013 compared to 2012.

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and Related Products Segment Results.

First-quarter operating income from motorcycles and related products grew 25.6 per cent to $347.7 million, compared to operating income of $276.8 million in the year-ago period.

Operating income in the quarter benefited from higher motorcycle shipments and higher gross margin compared to the prior-year period.

Revenue from motorcycles grew 13.1 per cent to $1.31 billion, compared to revenue of $1.15 billion in the year-ago period.

The Company shipped 80,682 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide during the quarter, in line with guidance and a 7.3 per cent increase compared to shipments of 75,222 motorcycles in the year-ago period.

MCT

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