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Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Polaris

Polaris 2019 Results - Motorcycles Segment Sales, Including PG&A, Totaled $119 million, up +37% - "led by strong sales of Indian motorcycles"

Polaris has reported increased Q4 2019 sales of $1,736 million (+7%), with +12% for the full year 2019 at $6,783 million, confirming its position ahead of Harley-Davidson in total turnover terms.
Although Polaris is a much broader based powersports industry business compared to Harley's reliance solely on motorcycles, the two 'have form' where total revenue rivalry is concerned - Harley having been 'sniffy' about its Minneapolis based proto-rival 'back-in-the-day' when H-D sales from motorcycles alone were larger than Polaris' total sales revenues.


North American retail sales increased +2% for the quarter compared to 2018; North American ORV retail sales were up low-single digits percent; Indian Motorcycle retail sales were up low-single digits percent.
"We ended the year with positive fourth quarter retail momentum in both Off-Road Vehicles and Motorcycles, supporting strong full year, with broad-based sales growth of 12 percent," stated CEO Scott Wine.
"While TAP grew modestly in the fourth quarter, non-TAP Parts, Garments and Accessories (PG&A) and aftermarket sales stole the show - eclipsing $1 billion for the first time in 2019. Our recent leadership changes were made to spur both tactical and strategic growth, and the +37% increase in Indian Motorcycle sales in the fourth quarter, driven largely by the Indian Challenger, demonstrates what is possible as Mike Dougherty takes over that important segment.
 

'Polaris Q4 sales +7%'

"Steve Menneto is aggressively moving to accelerate retail performance in Off-Road Vehicles and Snowmobiles, building off a strong year of financial performance in our largest business. In 2019, we delivered strong operational performance across Polaris, especially productivity and delivery, and we expect further gains to create value for customers and shareholders in the year ahead.
"Our commitment to being a customer-centric, highly profitable growth company is unwavering, and I am extremely confident in this Polaris team to deliver on that promise."
Motorcycles segment sales, including PG&A, totaled $119 million, up +37% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, led by strong sales of Indian motorcycles. Slingshot reported a sales decline during the quarter. Gross Motorcycles segment profit for the fourth quarter of 2019 was negative $2 million - primarily due to increased promotions and higher warranty costs.
North American consumer retail sales for Indian motorcycles increased low-single digits percent during the fourth quarter of 2019 in a weak mid to heavyweight two-wheel motorcycle industry that was down high-single digits percent.
 

 
CEO Scott Wine: "We ended the year with positive fourth quarter retail momentum in both Off-Road Vehicles and Motorcycles, supporting strong full year, with broad-based sales growth of 12 percent."




North American consumer retail sales for Polaris' motorcycle segment, including both Indian Motorcycles and Slingshot, decreased low-single digits percent during the fourth quarter of 2019, while the North American motorcycle industry retail sales for mid to heavyweight motorcycles, including three-wheel vehicles, was down mid-single digits percent in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Off-Road Vehicles (“ORV”) and Snowmobiles segment sales, including PG&A, totaled $1,140 million (+7%) for the fourth quarter of 2019, driven by growth in side-by-side sales. PG&A sales for ORV and Snowmobiles combined increased +7% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Gross profit increased +12% to $315 million in the fourth quarter of 2019; gross profit percentage increased 103 basis points during the 2019 fourth quarter due to favorable product mix.
ORV wholegood sales for the fourth quarter of 2019 increased +13%, primarily driven by positive mix. Polaris North American ORV retail sales were up low-single digits percent for the quarter, with side-by-side vehicles up low-single digits percent and ATV vehicles up mid-single digits percent. The North American ORV industry was up mid-single digits percent compared to the fourth quarter last year.
Snowmobile wholegood sales in the fourth quarter of 2019 were down -10%, pressured by a challenging comparable in the prior year period due to the timing of pre-season SnowCheck order shipments.
 

'Larger than H-D at $6.7 bn, +12% for 2019 full year'

Global Adjacent Markets segment sales, including PG&A, decreased by -1.0% to $120 million in the 2019 fourth quarter primarily due to lower sales in the commercial, government and defense business. Gross profit increased +6% to $35 million or 29.1% of sales in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to improved operational efficiency.
Aftermarket segment sales of $221 million in the 2019 fourth quarter increased +4%; Transamerican Auto Parts (TAP) sales of $185 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 increased +1%; the company's other aftermarket brands increased sales by +22%. Gross profit decreased to $49 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to higher tariff costs.
Boats segment sales decreased -7% to $135 million in the 2019 fourth quarter primarily due to negative product mix and planned dealer inventory reductions. Gross profit decreased -1.0% to $26 million or 19.0% of sales in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The company reported fourth quarter 2019 net income of $99 million, or $1.58 per diluted share. Off-Road Vehicles (“ORV”) and Snowmobiles segment sales, including PG&A, totaled $1,140 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up +7%, driven by growth in side-by-side sales. PG&A sales for ORV and Snowmobiles combined +7% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Gross profit increased +12% to $315 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Gross profit percentage increased 103 basis points during the 2019 fourth quarter due to favorable product mix.
 
Like Harley, Indian is launching mid-cycle 2020 model range additions - this is the new and returning Ride Command System equipped Roadmaster Elite. With a limited production of 225 motorcycles, highlights to this year’s "meaner, sportier iteration" are the inclusion of a new Thunder Black Vivid Crystal over Gunmetal Flake paint job, an upgraded 600 watt PowerBand Audio Plus system, along with Indian’s most powerful air-cooled engine - the Thunder Stroke 116 featuring "a class-leading performance" with 126 ft-lbs of torque.


Adjusted net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2019 was $115 million, or $1.83 per diluted share compared to $113 million, or $1.83 per diluted share in the 2018 fourth quarter.
Gross profit increased +8% to $423 million for the fourth quarter of 2019 from $391 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Reported gross profit margin was 24.4% of sales for the fourth quarter of 2019, up 34 basis points compared to +24.0% of sales for the fourth quarter of 2018.
Operating expenses increased +13% for the fourth quarter of 2019 to $308 million, or 17.7% of sales, from $272 million, or 16.7% of sales, in the same period in 2018. Operating expenses in dollars and as a percent of sales increased primarily due to ongoing investment in research and development and strategic projects.
For 2020 the company says sales are expected to increase in the range of 2 to 4% over 2019, with net income expected to be in the range of $6.80 to $7.05 per diluted share for the full year. "While the negative impact of tariffs remains a significant headwind on an annualized basis, the year-over-year impact is expected to be minimal to the company’s 2020 full year earnings guidance."

News Briefs



VW has 'bet the farm' on its electric future, committing over € 66bn ($72bn) to an electric car future. The group plans to have introduced up to 75 all-electric models by 2029, plus some 60 hybrid vehicles. € 33bn of that will be dedicated to developing electric cars across its global brands - Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and its Skoda and Seat Europe specific brands.

 


BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics have started "Cobalt for Development" to promote responsible artisanal cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The pilot project intends to improve working conditions at a pilot mine site and living conditions in the surrounding communities.

Yamaha Motor is investing further in Autonomous Driving Technology Developer "Tier IV", strengthening development capabilities for low-speed autonomous driving vehicles through the development of Autoware (autonomous driving OS software). Through this investment, Yamaha Motor aims to strengthen development capabilities and acquire knowledge regarding low-speed autonomous driving technology. This additional investment forms part of "ART for Human Possibilities, Rethinking Solutions", one aspect of the company's long-term vision to provide multi-use vehicles and alternative mobility systems to regions where there are many elderly and other people with limited access to transportation.

 


Harley was in sixth place for a 9.05% market share in Germany for the eleven months to November 2019, having sold 10,052 units, -6.91% over the same period of 2018. There's no surprise that BMW is market share leader in its home market with 24,447 units sold YTD for a 22.03% share, followed by Honda, KTM, Kawasaki and Yamaha.

Michelin has signed an agreement to acquire 80% of PT Multistrada Arah Sarana TBK ("Multistrada"), a tire manufacturer based in Indonesia. Michelin will pay USD 439m for the controlling stake. With a production capacity of more than 180 thousand tons (i.e., 11 million passenger car tires, 9 million two-wheel tires and 250 thousand truck tires), Multistrada generated net sales of USD 281 million in 2017. With this transaction, Michelin will strengthen its presence in the highly promising but local-production dominated Indonesian market by acquiring a very competitive local plant with good quality facilities and immediately available production capacity.

 

AMA has announced two new extreme off-road series - nine events in two qualifying series "provide more opportunities to secure a spot in the 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road Grand Championship, the Tennessee Knockout on Aug. 14-16" - the new format and additional events open up 26 more spots at the TKO.

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has announced that South Korea has doubled the number of industrial robots it has in operation within the past five years to 300,000 and now ranks third globally behind Japan and China.

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, B&B, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek

Indian Motorcycle

The 'Challenger Challenge' - The Gloves Are Off

Indian Motorcycle says it has "drawn a line in the sand" with its 'Challenger Challenge' a "head-to-toe comparison of the new Indian Challenger Dark Horse with the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special."
Indian Motorcycle says that a "national demo tour, local dealer demos, advertising and episodic video series serve up bold demonstrations of the Indian Challenger's superiority" over Harley's category leader - "May the best V-twin win!" 



A fully-loaded premium bagger designed as a superior alternative to the category leader, the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special, Indian's campaign "invites motorcyclists to test-ride the Challenger and Road Glide Special back-to-back for the ultimate head-to-head comparison."
Launching at Daytona Bike Week on Friday, March 6, the 'Challenger Challenge' product demo tour will visit Indian Motorcycle dealers around the country, as well as select motorcycle rallies and events, including the legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August. In addition to the national tour, select Indian Motorcycle dealers will have a Road Glide on hand [that will pimp Harley's Q1 numbers - Ed] to ensure that any customer who visits their dealership can take the 'Challenger Challenge'.
Indian Motorcycle says it will support the 'Challenger Challenge' with a digital media campaign, highlighted by an episodic video series where action sports icon Carey Hart and his loyal sidekick, Bryan "Big B" Mahoney, pit the new Indian Challenger head-to-head against the Road Glide Special in a series of tests "that showcase power, torque, braking and handling."  In addition to the digital media campaign, the content series can be found on IndianMotorcycle.com, Indian's social media and YouTube channels. 
"The Challenger's combination of power and dexterity is at another level," said Hart. "The first time I rode it, I knew that they had something special. But riding the Challenger back-to-back against the Road Glide, it's not even fair. The Challenger absolutely crushes it."
"Over the years, the Road Glide has firmly entrenched itself as the category leader and has become the default choice, but our bike is simply better and our confidence in this product is what this campaign is all about," said Mike Dougherty, President, Indian Motorcycle. "The difference when riding these two bikes back-to-back is undeniable, and we're excited for riders to experience it for themselves with the Challenger Challenge."

TecMate

25 Years into the Future

It has been 25 years since leading battery charger, maintenance and diagnostics manufacturer TecMate brought the first OptiMate brand charger to market as a result of technology developed when working on a problem-solving project for Honda.
Since those early days TecMate has stayed at the forefront of technology and riders' needs, responding to the ever-changing demands being made on motorcycle batteries - including introducing one of the first ever Lithium-specific chargers (2010).
For founding partner, CEO and Chief Technology Officer Martin Human it has always been "all about the ride," and as he told AMD at EICMA, "ours is a fast-evolving landscape. The proliferation of consumer devices has brought new demands and opportunities, and the proliferation of battery platforms has brought challenges and ever more complex problems to be solved.
"Riders depend on OptiMate to be there for them, to be solving those problems before they even realize what problems may lie ahead - and that is just exactly what we are going to keep on doing for the next 25 years.
"We have saved millions of batteries since 1994 and have always recognized that energy is precious.


click to enlarge

"In 2014 we decided that we needed to design products that use less energy. The result was the OptiMate 7 - the first fully efficient battery charger with modern, efficient dual converter technology that uses 50% less energy compared to other chargers.
"But we aren't stopping there. The next 25 years in our story will be a 'Green Story' - energy efficient, ECO friendly products that can enhance the ownership and riding experience."
To mark its anniversary, TecMate has launched a new user-friendly, feature-rich website to help its dealers help their customers to choose the right charger for them. Loaded with videos, instruction guides and advice, "dealers and riders will come to know our new online tool as the industry's premier 'Go To' problem-solving resource - if there is a solution, that is where they will find it."
"OptiMate's energy-saving, plug-in-anywhere (100-240V) electronics deliver more charge for less," says Martin. "If AC power is a problem, we also have SOLAR and DC charging options, and our OptiMate accessories range includes battery testers and monitors, USB chargers and premium cables and connectors - all of the kind of premium quality and reliability that has gained the trust of over fifteen major vehicle and performance battery OEMs and millions of happy owners worldwide."
www.tecmate.com

AFT SuperTwins

AFT SuperTwins Roster

The line-up of teams and riders for the 2020 inaugural AFT SuperTwins competition has been announced.



The most recent evolution in its revitalization of the sport of professional flat track, the AFT SuperTwins class "represents a unity of the elite teams and most skilled athletes who compete at every round of AFT competition." At every event eighteen of the top riders in the sport will grid up for the AFT SuperTwins Main Event.
www.amaproracing.com


Progressive International Motorcycle Show series (IMS)

J&P Cycles UBCBS - Dallas

The Dallas round (January 3 - 5) of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show series (IMS) saw Timothy Scates and painter 'Paint by Pygmy' take home first place in the Freestyle Class with a 2006 ASVE Bobber featuring a wishbone Springer front end, custom-built twisted down the tube frame, gas tank, handlebars and exhaust, internal wiring, custom engraving, Danny Gray seat, 21-inch Invader front wheel, 16-inch Invader rear wheel, 1936 Ford spare tire ring rear fender, and a Hurst floor shifter valued at $50,000.
Runner-up was Danny Ratliff with 'Brass Balls' and painter Ryan Townsend with a 2012 Darwin Digger Bobber featuring an incredible airbrush by Townsend coupled with a sleek custom build valued at $30,000.
All the winners will move on to compete in the championship round in Chicago, Illinois, (February 7 - 9) and the chance to scoop deep into the series' $70,000 cash and contingency prize pool.
Celebrating its tenth consecutive year "shining a spotlight on the most beautiful, one-of-a-kind custom motorcycles across the nation, UBCBS is the largest and one of the most sought-after touring custom bike competition in the nation. This elite-level custom motorcycle builder competition features more than 300 motorcycles across the eight-city IMS tour.
This year’s categories include Custom Classic, Custom Street, Freestyle and People’s Choice, with judging by a panel of industry experts.
www.motorcycleshows.com


Freestyle winner: Timothy Scates and painter Paint by Pygmy
Freestyle
Winner: Timothy Scates and painter Paint by Pygmy took home first place with a 2006 ASVE Bobber featuring a wishbone Springer front end, custom-built twisted down the tube frame, gas tank, handlebars and exhaust, internal wiring, custom engraving, Danny Gray seat, 21-inch Invader front wheel, 16-inch Invader rear wheel, 1936 Ford spare tire ring rear fender, and a Hurst floor shifter.
Runner-up: Danny Ratliff with 'Brass Balls' and painter Ryan Townsend were selected as runner-up with a 2012 Darwin Digger Bobber featuring an incredible airbrush by Townsend coupled with a sleek custom build.

Custom Classic
Winner: Shelby Combs with OKC Chop Shop and painter Manny’s Fine Line won first place with a 1975 Harley-Davidson KLCH featuring a Led Sled frame, Lightening Rod Fabrications front fork, hand tooled leather seat, foot clutch and jockey shift, and Beringer brakes.
Runner-up: Dell Battle with Dangerous Dezigns and painter Brad H. Design were selected as runner-up with a 1991 Harley-Davidson Sportster featuring a sporty 72 style.

Custom Street
Winner: Kevin Anderle won first place with a 2006 Harley-Davidson Sportster. The café racer custom was built from a 2006 Sportster 1200 (200 original miles found in a garage), and features a Dyna polished rear wheel, Progressive shocks, custom rear license bracket, rearset foot controls, relocated rear master cylinder, coils, horn, ignition switch, Harley-Davidson clip-on bars, speedo bracket, aluminum seat pan, and more.
Runner-up: Krystal Hess with Motorcycle Missions and painter End Fabrication were selected as runner-up with a 2012 Harley-Davidson Road King with Liberty Sidecar valued at $50,000. The motorcycle was donated to Haas Motorcycle Museum to be used by Motorcycle Missions as a therapy bike for its Veterans and First Responders. The custom build was revealed on October 5, 2019 at Adam Sandoval's Bring it Home Ride, which brought home the Guinness Book of World Records for the world's largest parade of Harley-Davidsons. 




People’s Choice winner Brian Emig and painter World’s Finest Custom Paint

People’s Choice
As voted by IMS attendees, Brian Emig and painter World’s Finest Custom Paint took home the People’s Choice award with a 2019 Hardley-A-Davidson BMF. The custom motorcycle features a stroker shovelhead, and all mounts, amps and fixtures are handmade.

Motorcycle Storehouse

Motorcycle Storehouse Additions

M-8 High Volume Oil Pump

This replacement high volume oil pump for M-8 air/oil cooled models features a larger feed and return gerotor assembly, rear cover and relief valve and spring. It improves feed by +126%/123% and scavenge +131%/146% at 1,000 rpm/2,500 rpm compared with the OEM 4th generation M-8 pumps. Ready to install and complete with instructions, it is available for '18-'19 Softail and '17-'19 Touring (excluding the water cooled models).

Motion Pro - New Tools

Californian specialist Motion Pro (the official cables, controls and tools vendor to the AFT race series) continues to release a seemingly continuous flow of labor savers and new ideas for V-twins of all ages. Seen here is a tapered steering head race puller designed for 47 to 52 mm OD races, a steering head race driver for 41-42, 47-48, 51-52 and 55-56 mm OD races, and a new shock bearing puller that removes and installs 24 mm OD bearings.
To remove stubborn dowel pins from crankcases and transmission cases, the kit seen here includes 8, 10, 12 and 14 mm pin collets (with 12.5, 13.8, 17, 19 and 21 mm separately available) that allow for strong clamping of dowel pins, as well as a puller rod for stuck pins, and a slide hammer attachment for those really, really stuck pins!




Roeg 2020 Helmet Collection

The Roeg Moto Co. 2020 helmet collection includes the retro styled, handfinished, ECE approved full-face Peruna helmets and revered open-face Jets - "now available in no less than twenty happy, shiny colors (yes, black can be happy too!). Whether you're a 'Hot Jalapeno Green' kinda guy or a 'Flaming Red' gal, you'll be sure to stand out from the grey and gloomy clones."

Knipex Pliers



German tool manufacturer Knipex is an established plier specialist noted for the "finest quality available for the professional market. At this level, quality outweighs pricing, and even for a non-professional, the feeling of a quality tool stays when the higher price is long forgotten."
Originally founded as a forge in 1882 and still in 4th generation family ownership, everything from design to final manufacturing is done in-house at the Knipex facility in Wuppertal, Germany. Product offerings include a wide range of pliers, as well as wire strippers, crimping tools and VDE (Verband der Elektrotechnik) insulated pliers that conform to IEC 60900DIN, EN 60900 and VDE 0680. These VDE approved tools are individually tested at 10,000V and ensure safe working up to 1,000 volts.

MOTORCYCLE STOREHOUSE BV
www.motorcyclestorehouse.com

Le Pera

Le Pera 'KickFlip' for Dyna

Last month we featured Le Pera's new 'TailWhip' design for Dyna applications, but here is the popular 'KickFlip' design from which that was evolved.



This version is their 'KickFlip' Daddy Long Legs for taller riders. Along with the maximized back support and 11" of ample seating area, the Daddy Long Legs will move the rider back by approximately 2" compared to the original 'KickFlip'. It is available for '06-'17 Dynas and '08-up Baggers.
Standard options include Diamond, Pleated Basket Weave, Diamond Gripp and Pleated Gripp tape for traction.
Still handcrafting all its seats at its North Hollywood, California headquarters after more than 45 years as the market's design leader, Le Pera seats feature a powder-coated steel base plate, a specially poured high density "Marathon" molded foam foundation and double-stitched, handcrafted cover with bonded polyester thread for durability.

LE PERA ENTERPRISES

www.lepera.com

BS Battery

HD Connect Compatible SLA 'MAX' - Power for the Biggest of Big Inchers

Paris, France headquartered BS Battery has three battery options available for a wide selection of Harley applications - an OE replacement, an Upgrade and an UPGrade+.
Speaking at EICMA (Milan) recently, owner Benjamin Sebban told AMD that "this isn't just a standard good, better and best offer, because even our OE replacement has improvements over the stock Harley battery it replaces. This is a Better, Excellent and Outstanding menu of power options that can get even the biggest inch engines started, time after time, and keep them running smoothly and reliably."


The 12V BS BTX14L MF (Maintenance Free - also called a VRLA battery/Valve Regulated Lead Acid) is more than a simple OEM replacement. It is a sealed battery with "gas recombination" technology, which brings less maintenance with no water refilling needs. These batteries are supplied with an acid pack and would be activated by filling the acid before first use.
The AGM construction (Absorbed Glass Mat) uses saturated absorbent glass (boron silicate) mats between the plates instead of a gelled or liquid electrolyte. It has up to a 12.6 Ah capacity (20 Hr), delivers 200 cold cranking amps, reduced plate sulfation, a higher life cycle (up to three times longer than conventional batteries), longer voltage hold and increased power and is maintenance-free because it does not need water refilling.
Suitable for cold weather use, because it is sealed after filling, under normal operation there is no gas emission through the venting hole. 


The 'Excellent' in the BS range (the Upgrade battery option) is the ready-to-start 12V, 200 cold cranking amp BTX14L - SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) - a brand new 'Factory-Activated' line that is said to be  maintenance-free, non-spillable and ready to install with zero gas emissions and extended life.
Also an AGM and VRLA battery type, it offers multi-positional fitment versatility due to its environmentally friendly, spill-proof design, extreme vibration resistance, increased power and extended life.


At the top of the range, the 'Outstanding' option is the Upgrade+ BTX14HL SLA 'MAX' 'Factory-Activated' AGM/VRLA that delivers 220 cold cranking amps with up to a 14.7 amp hours capacity (20 Hr).
Featuring increased power, extreme vibration resistance, maintenance-free, spillproof, multi-positional fitment, extended life low discharge rate, and - the 'MAX' is HD Connect compatible. All three options are OEM homologated.

BS BATTERY SAS
www.bs-battery.com

Tedd Cycle/V-Twin Manufacturing

'Black 5-Hole C-Thru' Derby Cover

 

Newburgh, New York based Tedd Cycle/V-Twin Manufacturing's new 'Black 5-Hole C-Thru' derby cover in billet aluminum and glass comes with a black finish and features a leak-proof and oil-resistant glass window. It fits 1999 and up FXST and FLST, '99-'17 FXD and '99-'15 FLT models and is also available in chrome.
Tedd Cycle, USA, www.vtwinmfg.com

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Harley-Davidson

Harley 2019 - "full-year retail sales decline lowest since 2016; Q4 601+ cc U.S. market share +1.0% at 50.4%"

In addressing investors and financial analysts at the end of January 2020, the prevailing message coming from Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich and CFO John Olin in reaction to another woeful year in 2019 appears to have been along the lines that at least the rate of decline is declining.



Pointing to some signs for optimism, in the fourth quarter of 2019, with domestic U.S. retail market share being up against a down market by +1.0% (despite H-D retail sales being off by -5.2% at 125,960 motorcycles in 2019), the first cracks have started to appear in the customarily good natured and supportive responses Levatich and Olin receive when fronting up to analysts in the company's announcement Q&A webcast and phone-in.
Notably, and in a possible sign of struggles to come, Morgan Stanley questioned how Harley can explain why its sales can have been so soft for so long in a strong and growing economy and whether it will look favorably at any offers to buy the business if one [or more] materializes a year from now.
 


'Q4 international retail sales up slightly' 

While the interjection lacked consideration of market context, it, and other less direct challenges, nonetheless suggest that it won't be long before the sharks start circling closer as the scent of blood propagates.
"Tempered worldwide year-over-year retail sales rate of decline" was the form of words used by Harley in the announcement press release text; "in line with our expectations" and "indicative of increased business stability" was how Matt Levatich is said to have characterized Harley's Q4 performance.


Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich has date-stamped when the first financial results of the much vaunted strategic plan will be seen when quoted as saying that "in 2019, we took important steps toward returning to significant growth in 2021."

Maybe anticipating that 'More Roads' will run out of road a year from now if there hasn't been demonstrable progress, Levatich date-stamped when the first financial results of the much vaunted strategic plan will be seen when quoted as saying that "in 2019, we took important steps toward returning to significant growth in 2021 – including launching LiveWire, our first electric motorcycle, optimizing our global dealer network and expanding our international footprint."
Going further, Harley's press release stated that in advancing its 'More Roads' plan further, in 2019 the company was now on track for "significant" 2021 growth, pointing to "increased focus on rider commitment" in the U.S. where "527,000 riders joined in 2019, up year-over-year" and completion of "steps to mitigate the majority of recent EU and China tariff impacts in 2020," completion of "key milestones of the manufacturing optimization initiative" and "exceeding expected full-year savings."
As the company continues to add to its cruiser and touring offer with a series of mid-cycle new models and to its P&A revenue opportunity with a new crate motor, the focus, for now, remains on "Strategy to build riders" and the "Accelerated plan for growth."
"Harley-Davidson's strategy to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally is supported by these strategic objectives from 2017 through 2027: expand to four million total Harley-Davidson riders in the U.S., grow international business to 50 percent of annual Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC) revenue, launch 100 new high impact motorcycles, deliver superior return on invested capital for HDMC (S&P 500 top 25%) and grow its business without growing its environmental impact.
"More Roads to Harley-Davidson is the company's accelerated plan for growth that aims to deliver sustainable growth and build committed riders from 2018 through 2022. The company is focusing investment and building new capabilities to invigorate the Harley-Davidson brand to spark passion that deepens rider commitment. The company's 'More Roads' plan leverages and integrates new products, broader access, stronger dealers and amplifying the brand as a catalyst to ignite and sustain momentum and deliver growth.
"The company plans to maintain its targeted investment and return profile and capital allocation strategy, while it [self] funds strategic opportunities expected to drive significant revenue growth and expand operating margin starting in 2021."
The company says that it "continued to advance its More Roads plan initiatives" by asserting its "leadership in the electrification of motorcycles with the launch of LiveWire, the company's first electric motorcycle, and IRONe, an electric-powered two-wheeler for kids."
 

'the total pool of Harley riders in the U.S. grew to 3.1 million in 2019'

Launching "new high impact models" and delivering "significant technology to its class-leading model year 2020 motorcycles to inspire new and existing riders", commissioning its Thailand manufacturing facility and establishing a China distribution center - "increasing customer access with more competitive prices" and unveiling "improved and expanded global ecommerce and digital capabilities" while advancing "good-to-great dealers – meeting customer experience and sales conversion targets."
Despite the limited time span for the new and now former first ever Global Brand President to have an impact, Harley states that it "honed and accelerated efforts to amplify brand and build committed riders" with more riders joining Harley-Davidson in the U.S. in 2019 compared to 2018 and the total pool of Harley-Davidson riders in the U.S. growing to 3.1 million in 2019.



"We see 2020 as the pivotal year in the transformation of Harley-Davidson. This year we will broaden the reach of our brand and build more committed riders as we enter new and growing segments in motorcycling and eBicycles; more and easier access to two-wheeled freedom on a Harley is well underway," said Levatich.
In further financial reporting Harley said it "exceeded full-year expected savings from manufacturing optimization initiatives, realizing savings of $32.2 million, ahead of an estimate of $25 million to $30 million and incurred costs of $43.0 million in 2019.
"Aiming to further improve its manufacturing operations and cost structure, the company initiated efforts in the first quarter of 2018 including closing its wheel manufacturing facility in Australia and consolidating its motorcycle assembly plant in Kansas City, Mo. into its plant in York, Pa. The company continues to expect annual ongoing cash savings of $65 million to $75 million starting in 2021."
In addition to pointing to the +1.0% market share growth in Q4, Harley says the year-over-year retail sales rate of decline in the fourth quarter was the lowest in 12 quarters and the full-year retail sales rate of decline was the lowest since 2016. Its domestic U.S. Q4 market share was 50.4% and full-year market share was 49.1% - "down slightly versus 2018."
"International retail sales were up slightly in the fourth quarter behind continued growth in emerging markets. Full-year international retail sales finished down -3.0%, full-year 601+ cc Europe market share was 8.9%.


"Rumored to be likely to start shipping in November 2020"

"Revenue from the Motorcycles and Related Products (Motorcycles) segment was down in the fourth quarter and on a full-year basis. Full-year operating income decreased primarily due to lower revenues and increased tariff costs, partially offset by lower SG&A and restructuring expense. Financial Services segment full-year operating income of $266.0 million was down 8.6 percent.
Cash and marketable securities were $833.9 million at the end of the year, compared to $1.21 billion at the end of 2018. Harley-Davidson generated $868.3 million of cash from operating activities in 2019 compared to $1.21 billion in 2018.
The company paid a cash dividend of $0.375 per share in the fourth quarter, and a cumulative total of $1.50 per share on a full-year basis. On a discretionary basis, Harley-Davidson repurchased 2.2 million shares of its common stock during the quarter for $78.7 million, and 8.2 million shares for $286.7 million on a full-year basis. During the quarter, there were 154.9 million weighted-average diluted common shares outstanding. At the end of the quarter, 8.2 million shares remained on a board-approved share repurchase authorization.
For the full year 2020, the company says it expects Motorcycles segment revenue of approximately $4.53 to $4.66 billion. In the first quarter, the company expects Motorcycles segment revenue of approximately $1.09 to $1.17 billion and Motorcycles segment operating margin as a percent of revenue of approximately 7 to 8 percent, with Capital expenditures of approximately $215 million to $235 million and approximately flat year-over-year Financial Services segment operating income.

MotorCity H-D V-Twin Expo

MotorCity H-D V-Twin Expo - Backing from Drag Specialties, HardDrive and Tucker V-Twin

MotorCity Harley-Davidson (Farmington Hills, Michigan) is again hosting its annual V-Twin Expo, and this year it has been expanded to a three-day event on the weekend of February 21st - 23rd.
The project is headed up by MotorCity Harley-Davidson GM and partner Craig Collins: "Last year was so successful that we had to make it annual and take it into a third day." MC H-D has always been a 'progressive' store, always looking to try out new things and often flying in the face of convention, and their active events program can attract up to 10,000 enthusiasts in a weekend.
Craig added a custom dimension to the dealership in 2016 with the launch of MotorCity Customs - already an award-winning and successful custom build business-within-the-business.
"I started MotorCity Customs the same year we bought the present building and have had great success with it. Unlike most H-D stores, we won't restrict ourselves to only selling bolt-on H-D product, we are completely the opposite.
"Far from being anti-aftermarket, we embrace it and value the additional revenue and customization opportunities it brings to riders in our area." The entire facility is 106,000 square feet and sits on twelve acres. The dealership occupies 75,000 square feet of that space.
The MotorCity V-Twin Expo is something that he hopes to "grow into a really cool annual event. More grass roots and intimate than a big trade show, we've got about 30,000 sq ft we can use for the Expo."
Vendors confirmed for this year include HardDrive, Khrome Werks, Saddlemen, Tucker V-Twin, LA Choppers, Custom Dynamics, Cobra Exhausts, Rockford Fosgate, Rinehart Exhausts and Drag Specialties.
www.motorcityharley.com

News Briefs




BMW Motorrad was able to increase deliveries of its motorcycles and maxi-scooters in the third quarter to 43,744 units (2018: 39,818 units; +9.9%); revenue growth was +17.2% (€ 558 m). Motorcycle deliveries during the first nine months of 2019 totaled 136,932 units (+8.0%), generating revenues of € 1,871 million. October sales were down -3.1% for the month (12,645 units), but up by +7% (149,577 units) for the YTD.


ISMA, the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, is predicting that the upcoming season should be a good one for the snowmobile industry, with the winter projected to bring high snowfalls. Sales for 2018-2019 totaled 55,025 new snowmobiles in the USA, with 46,784 new units sold in Canada and over 31,000 sold in Europe.

 


Indian Motorcycle's new Challenger model is equipped with the Metzeler Cruisetec tire as stock fitment - "with 122 hp and 128 ft-lbs of torque, the Cruisetec's performance characteristics will stand up to the demands the Challenger rider will inflict on the road," says Metzeler.


Cycle World has named the Ducati Diavel 1260 S as its best cruiser of 2019, with the BMW R 1250 GS ADV as the best Touring model. Its best lightweight street bike is the Kawasaki Z400; best middleweight is the Triumph Street Triple R, and best 'Open-Class' street bike the much admired KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.


Turin, Italy based Tacita Motorcycles is the latest E-bike manufacturer to cast covetous eyes on the domestic US market, having established Tacita USA Corp. in Miami, Florida, headed up by CEO Axel Heilenkotter. Tacita says it has been building electric motorcycles since 2011 and plans to offer two model ranges - the T-Race off-road and Enduro E-bikes, and three power/price point cruiser style models (T-Cruise) that are clearly aimed at Harley's LiveWire. Whereas most electric motorcycles have a 'Twist & Go' throttle, the T-Cruise will apparently have a more conventional gear shift transmission.


 


The Norden 901 parallel twin dual sport concept that Husqvarna teased at EICMA in November is now slated to enter production as the KTM owned manufacturer continues to ramp up its play for a slice of the ADV market. "Forming Husqvarna Motorcycles’ vision of an adventure-touring motorcycle, the Norden 901 is a dynamic, twin-cylinder motorcycle that features advanced rider ergonomics and high performance based on years of rally experience, delivering outstanding street and off-road performance."


The KSR Group (Christian and Michael Kirschenhofer) has completed the second phase of an expansion plan at its new corporate headquarters at Gedersdorf in Austria, with the addition of around 2,200 sq m, including an in-house design studio for its PTW brands - including Malaguti, Brixton, Lambretta and KSR Moto. KSR opened the first phase of its new HQ in April 2017; revenues are said to have grown by 50% in two years from 2016 and are expected to have grown by the same again in the 2018/2019 period.


Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali has been appointed as the new President of Motor Valley - a Bologna, Italy, area promotional association that brings together all the "Motor Valley" brands of the Emilia-Romagna region - "this unique motorcycle and car manufacturing area has over 16,500 businesses (10% of Italy's national supply chain) and  employs over 66,000 people. It is home to a concentration of brands, private collections, international race circuits and specialized training centres within a 150 km radius that is like no other on the planet. Motor Valley encapsulates Made-in-Italy automotive and industrial excellence: it's a project that highlights the area's capacity to network and make the most of internationally unique qualities."

Trask

'Assault' by Trask - Risers and High-Flow Air Cleaners

Trask's 'Assault' high-flow air cleaner features a billet aluminum backing plate with hidden, integrated breather system and a plexiglass outer cover with a snap-in velocity stack for improved airflow.


Dyno-developed and tested, the high-flow air filter is reusable - just clean and re-oil; a rain sock repels water from the air filter element. Available for '17-'20 FLHT/FLHR/FLHX/FLTRU/FLTRK and '18-'20 Softails.



Also seen here, these 'Assault' risers with clamp are made from 6061 aluminum with black Cerakote coating and carbon fiber cover plates that keep the wires hidden.


DRAG SPECIALTIES
www.dragspecialties.com
www.traskperformance.com

Progressive Suspension

Progressive Suspension Front End Options

These high-quality, high-performance replacement progressive rate fork springs by Californian specialist Progressive Suspension have the advantage of a rising rate resistance to compression - the benefit is the spring can be soft enough at the start of the travel to offer a "plush" ride, yet firm enough at the end of the cycle to soak up the big bumps.
Spring rates have been chosen to reduce front end dive during braking, yet still provide excellent ride comfort; available for '16-'17 FXDLS models.



Also seen here, this monotube cartridge fork kit has an asymmetrical design, placing a preload adjuster over a progressive rate spring in one leg and an aluminum-bodied, sealed cartridge damper on the other.
This set-up is said to provide superior damping and ride control combined with tunable preload and to be "a new benchmark for high-performance suspension, improving resistance to front brake dive, front end stability, cornering and bottoming control; adjustable to standard length or to lower the front end up to 1"."


This is a complete fork internal replacement kit - no modifications to the forks are required, meaning the install is fully reversible. Available for FXDS.

DRAG SPECIALTIES
www.dragspecialties.com
www.progressivesuspension.com

RWD (Russ Wernimont Designs)

RWD RS-1 Piggy Back CoiI Over Shocks

These black anodized aluminum shock bodies by RWD (Russ Wernimont Designs, California) have nitrogen-filled piggy back reservoirs, 5/8" stainless steel shafts and high-quality black Eibach springs.



Additional features include needle valve technology with position-sensitive valving that provides additional bottoming resistance for a superior ride and digressive valving on the rebound side for more control when the shocks are deep into their travel.
Manufactured for RWD by performance suspension specialist Walker Evans Racing at Riverside, California, they have adjustable compression dampening and adjustable spring pre-load to set sag. They are designed for use with short exhaust systems that do not extend past the axle head/nut.

DRAG SPECIALTIES
www.dragspecialties.com
www.russwernimont.com

Feuling Parts

HP+ Camchest Kits for Twin Cams

Californian performance specialist Feuling Parts offers dealers access to a flexible program of engine conversion options. The company's Good, Better and Best is an OE+ line, which is essentially OE replacement, but with improvements; the HP+ (High Performance Plus), which is aimed at upgrading street bikes to the max, and at the top of the range of options is the 'Race Series' - seriously enhanced performance for those who want to arrive before they've left!



Seen here, Feuling's HP+ complete camchest kit for 1999 and up Twin Cams includes all necessary components from top to bottom of the camchest conveniently packaged under one part number.
These combination kits not only ensure individual parts are designed to work and function together, but to do so in total harmony - taking the guesswork out of the ordering process and guaranteeing  the engine builder "maximum reliability, peak performance and the coolest engine/oil temperatures obtainable."
The kits include the legendary Feuling high-volume oil pump, a high-flow camplate, a choice of Reaper series camshafts (from the workhorse 525 for increased torque band width and fuel economy to the 574 - ideal for modified heads), hydraulic roller lifters, adjustable pushrods, Timken bearings, gaskets, O-rings, exhaust gaskets, ARP fasteners, washers, moly paste, Loctite and hardware.
The chain drive conversion kits include conversion camshafts for '99-'06 Twin Cam engines that update the old mechanical style cams and tensioners to the new hydraulic tensioner system and include sprockets, hydraulic tensioners, chains and spacers needed for installation. These camshafts utilize the '99-'06 inner cam journals, with the '07-'16 outer cam journals allowing the use of the '07-'16 camplates, oil pump, hydraulic chain tensioners and chain drive system.
Feuling says the results are 25-35 degree cooler engine temperatures, 15-30 degree cooler oil temperatures, 15-30 lbs increased oil pressure, quieter and smoother engine operation and an end to wet sumping, blow-by and oily air cleaners.
Application options cover the full range of Twin Cams from 1999 right up to the 2017 models.

DRAG SPECIALTIES

www.dragspecialties.com
www.feulingparts.com

Galfer

New 'CUBIQ' brake disc by Galfer

The new CUBIQ disc from Spanish brakes specialist Galfer features an original brake track design with hexagonal shapes that is said to offer better braking than a conventional round disc design with up to 40% weight reduction.

"While searching for innovation and development, our engineers created a new concept in brake discs for high displacement motorcycles," says owner Umberto Milesi.
"The CUBIQ disc design features a unique brake track configuration with hexagonals that resemble the molecular and crystal structure of the steel itself. With this shape we achieve better cooling and improved weight loss, which also results in better maneuverability of the motorcycle.
"The new CUBIQ was tested and validated in competition during last June's 3-hour endurance race organized by Monlau Competición at the Calafat circuit - no less than ten Honda CBR 600 RR motorbikes equipped with the new CUBIQ discs and Galfer Sinter Sport R G1375R brake pads rode the circuit simultaneously."
The improved cooling is achieved because the design increases the convection perimeter, so there is more cooling surface around the brake track and better temperature dissipation. "The increased cooling surface optimizes the friction surface and enables a lighter brake track design."



Galfer also says that because there is the same contact surface between brake pad and disc in each turn, the brake pads wear evenly and there's homogeneous pressure, and that the reduced unsprung mass reduces the dynamic unbalance (gyroscopic effect) and improves the maneuverability of the motorcycle.
The design of the CUBIQ brake track is inspired by the latest modern designs and contemporary elements and is named after the steel molecules of the crystal structure of the metal.
The CUBIQ range will include fixed and floating discs and the floating discs will have variants with a steel or aluminum core.
The CUBIQ was officially released at EICMA for several road and sport motorbikes from 600 cc and up and will arrive on the custom market for Harleys and other custom style V-twins in April 2020.
"Just as the Disc Wave became a new standard in the brake components industry when we released it 20 years ago, so too the CUBIQ will set a new benchmark."

INDUSTRIAS GALFER S.A.
www.galfer.eu

Avon Grips

Avon Grip Options for Indian Big Twins

Ergonomic grip specialist Avon Grips has a choice of technologies available for '18-'19 Indian Vintage, Springfield, Chieftain and Roadmaster applications.




Avon's air cushioned grips feature ergonomic seamless rubber grip technology. A special core bar creates air pockets inside the grip body, which dampens vibrations. Features include billet aluminum end caps and collars; they are available with chrome or black anodized finishes, 3-ring and spike styles, with and without throttle boss.
Also seen here, Avon memory foam grips are said to be "the softest, most durable, chemical- resistant grips on the market today - a true vibration dampening grip." They are available with chrome or black anodized aluminum ends.

DRAG SPECIALTIES
www.dragspecialties.com
www.avongrips.com

Hogtunes

Hogtunes - Speaker Options

A choice of speaker options are available from Canadian audio specialist Hogtunes.
The company's 6.5" replacement front speakers feature a Gen 4 improved bass and clarity over Gen 3 models, delivering 125 watt RMS/200 peak watts, new black speaker cones for better cosmetics and a custom-tooled speaker basket that requires no cutting or grinding for install.


They include very clean-looking, sturdy metal mesh grilles with no corporate logos - or the factory grilles can also be used. Available for '14-'19 FLHTCU/FLHTK/FLHXS/FLHX/FLHTCUTG/FLTRX/ FLTRU models.
Also seen here, Hogtunes' XL front speaker kit includes two 5.25" 2 ohm front speakers with SGF Grill-AA metal mesh grilles.



The speakers offer superior bass response and overall better sound, especially at riding speeds. Features include carbon fiber woofer cone and titanium impregnated 1" tweeter, large magnet assembly for higher power handling and studio-quality polystyrene capacitors in crossovers - they work best when used with an amplifier and are an easy, plug-n-play installation for '98-'13 FLHT/FLHX models.

DRAG SPECIALTIES

www.dragspecialties.com
www.hogtunes.com