January 29, 2013, pre-market opening, Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) announced a strong fourth-quarter 2012 capping a year of gains in earnings and new retail motorcycle sales. Worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 7.5% in the quarter and 6.2% for the full year, compared to the year-ago periods. For the full year, Harley-Davidson income from continuing operations was $623.9 million on consolidated revenue of $5.58 billion, compared to full-year 2011 income from continuing operations of $548.1 million on consolidated revenue of $5.31 billion. Full-year 2012 EPS was $2.72, up 16.7% from EPS of $2.33 in 2011.
In the fourth quarter, retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 7.5% worldwide, compared to the prior-year period, with unit sales up 8.4% in the U.S. and up 6.3% in international markets. Dealers sold 43,405 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles worldwide in the quarter, with retail unit sales up 23.5% in the Latin America region, 14.8% in the Asia Pacific region and 7.3% in the North America region and down 3.3% in the EMEA region compared to last year’s fourth quarter.
Retail Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Sales: For the full year 2012, retail unit sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 6.2% worldwide, with increases of 6.6% in the U.S. and 5.6% internationally compared to 2011. Dealers sold 249,849 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles worldwide in 2012, with retail unit sales up 39.2% in the Latin America region, 14.3% in the Asia Pacific region and 6.2% in the North America region (U.S. and Canada) and down 3.0% in the EMEA region compared to 2011. (Industry-wide U.S. heavyweight new motorcycle (651cc-plus) retail unit sales increased 4.0% in 2012 compared to 2011.)
Twelve-Month Results: For the full year 2012 the Company shipped 247,625 motorcycles to dealers and distributors, a 6.2% increase compared to 2011. Full-year revenue from motorcycles grew 5.9% to $3.76 billion, revenue from parts and accessories grew 5.3% to $859.9 million and revenue from general merchandise grew 9.2% to $299.4 million, compared to 2011. Gross margin for the full year was 34.8% and operating margin was 14.5%, compared to 33.4% and 12.0% respectively in 2011.
Harley-Davidson expects to ship 259,000 to 264,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2013, an approximate 4-1/2% to 6-1/2% increase from 2012. In the first quarter of 2013, the Company expects to ship 71,000 to 76,000 motorcycles, an approximate increase of 10% to 18% from the year-ago period. The Company’s first-quarter shipment plan reflects the implementation of surge production at York in the first half of 2013. The Company expects full-year 2013 gross margin of 35.25% to 36.25 %.
“The ambitious restructuring of our manufacturing operations, aimed at delivering better responsiveness for customers and greater operating efficiency, is now largely behind us,” Wandell said. “Motorcycle sales grew in 2012, fueled by exceptional products and retail experiences. Together with our dealers, we grew sales to U.S. outreach customers faster than to core customers, grew U.S. market share and continued to expand internationally.