Harley's Street Glide Special and Breakout drive earnings bump

The nation's largest motorcycle company has reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter results for 2014.

Harley-Davidson Inc., which trades on the New York Stock Exchange as HOG, on Tuesday reported net income of $265.9 million against revenue of $1.73 billion, up from a 2013 first-quarter report of net income of $224.1 million against revenue of $1.57 billion.

Among its strongest sellers?  The Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special and its new Breakout were the No. 1 and No. 2 top selling motorcycles in America for 2013, the company said.

Harley stock was up 7.5% in early morning trading.

The company also said shipments of new motorcycles were up for the first quarter, indicating continued momentum into mid-2014.

"Harley-Davidson delivered gains on many fronts in the first quarter, with shipments up 7.3%, strong margin improvement and solid growth in dealer new motorcycle sales," said Keith Wandell, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson Inc.

Harley said its dealer network had sold a total of 57,415 motorcycles in the first quarter of the year -- 35,730 in the U.S. -- compared to 54,254 a year ago. The company saw particular increases in sales internationally, more than 20% in Asia and almost 9% in Latin America. Sales were down slightly in Canada.

The company said it had shipped 80,682 new motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide during the quarter, which was a 7.3% increase over shipments during the first quarter of 2013.

Harley said it expects to ship up to 284,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2014, an increase of as much as 9% from 2013.

Wandell said in a press release the company was particularly pleased with sales results across demographic lines.

The company said that in 2013, it sold more on-road motorcycles than any other company, and led sales among young adults, women, blacks and Latinos -- in addition to white males over 35, long believed to be the company's core sales audience.

It was the sixth year in a row, the company said, that it had led in these categories, based on new registrations as tallied by IHS Automotive.

Wandell also said Harley dealers in 2013 sold four times as many new large-displacement motorcycles to young adults as its nearest competitor, nine times as many to women, six times as many to blacks and seven times as many to Latinos.

Harley-Davidson dealers sold more than four times as many new, on-road motorcycles, 601 cc and up, to U.S. 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 blacks and more than seven times as many to Latinos, compared to its nearest competitor.

Harley also saw a boost in sales of parts and accessories -- a large revenue stream for the 111-year-old company --  7.7%, to $198.1 million, during the quarter. Sales of general merchandise, which includes the company's apparel line, was down 11.1%  from a year ago.


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