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Category: Motorcycles

  1. Royal Enfield

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    Spring is sprung and it is six months since we unveiled the all-new fuel-injected Bullet Classic to the British public at the NEC Bike Show. Since then we have taken delivery of the first batch of these machines and launched them to the British press. Road tests have recently appeared in Motor Cycle News, Motorcycle Sport & Leisure and The Classic Motorcycle, to name a few, and all agree that the new Classic combines authentic period styling with an exciting new engine.


    “Ten percent extra power might not sound like much but it’s certainly made a difference to the Bullet” writes Peter Henshaw in Motorcycle Sport & Leisure. “It feels more sprightly from take off, more responsive and revvy … it’s now fast enough to keep up with modern traffic, able to cruise at 60mph and even hold an indicated 70 without feeling as if it’s flat out.”


    James Robinson of The Classic Motorcycle has a similar impression; “And, for the first time perhaps, the firm now has a machine that while still looking old actually performs how a ‘modern’ motorcycle is expected to and does.”

    Royal Enfield


    Our initial batch of black Classics sold out immediately – green and red machines have followed and are now finding their way into the dealer network, so contact your local dealer to see one up close and don’t forget that the new Bullet Classic doesn’t just look good, it sounds good too.


    “It’s the sort of noise someone needs to put on YouTube for everyone to appreciate” commented Peter Henshaw. So we did. 


    Fourth annual Royal Enfield Open Weekend 20th and 21st June 2009

    Four years ago we decided to host an official Royal Enfield event at our factory in the Cotswolds. We felt that it would be nice to offer existing and potential customers an opportunity to see the complete model range and to take one out for a test ride, but nothing could have prepared us for the crowds that descended on Blockley that first year. Since then the Open Weekend has gone from strength to strength, with many of our dealers and bike clubs organising ride outs to visit.
    Held at the historic Watsonian-Squire sidecar factory close to Stratford-on-Avon, there is plenty to see and do at this relaxed event, with the added attraction of free entry and parking. Awards will be given for the best bike ridden to the Open weekend (one for each day - judged by Real Classic magazine) and all makes and models are welcome to enter. Jim Reynolds will be master of ceremonies over the weekend, providing a running commentary along with technical talks and celebrity interviews. Plus there will be IAM-escorted rides available on the new fuel-injected unit construction Classic and Electra models.


    Other attractions include a sidecar factory walkabout, the famous food tent (serving excellent value freshly cooked food), live insurance quotes, spare parts counter and a chance to see the new collection of Royal Enfield branded casual clothing.

    Really important information about test rides

    If you want to take a machine out for a test ride then you will need to bring both parts of your driving licence, a road legal crash helmet and adequate riding gear. Rides will be accompanied by IAM instructors and are allocated on a first come first served basis. Watsonian Squire Ltd reserve the right to refuse test rides to anyone without giving a reason, (which sounds tough but we have to say it).


    Dirty Beast gets an Injection

    We will be launching the new Trials bike in May. Powered by the same unit construction fuel injected engine as the Electra, the Trials EFI is designed to capture the sprit of the ‘unstoppable Bullet’ in a package that will be comfortable to ride on today’s roads. In addition to the new engine the Trials gets vintage pattern block tread tyres for 2009, as well as a mini luggage rack to which a pillion pad seat may be attached. Watch out for press tests in May/June and see it up close at the Open Weekend.

  2. Triumph 50th Bonanza at Ace Cafe London

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    Ace Cafe London's annual Triumph Day, Sunday 14th June, not only includes a display of models from the Triumph Factory and demo ride fleet, but will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the renowned West London dealership, Jack Lilley Motorcycles, who will be debuting their special 50th anniversary Triumph Bonneville, together with a replica of Paul Young's British Super Sports 675 race bike.   Subject to availability and commitment, Paul Young hopes to attend the cafe, with his race bike.
    Winner of the 'Best Triumph' competition held on this day, with judging taking place at 3pm, will be awarded prizes courtesy of Triumph, Jack Lilley, Flip Video, plus tickets to attend the Triumph Bonneville 50th celebration, organised by the TOMCC, to be held at Gaydon Motor Heritage Centre on the weekend of 22nd-23rd August 2009.
    The winning bike will then be invited back to attend the 'Grand Final' for "Best Triumph Of The Year", to be held on the cafe's regular monthly Triumph Night, Wednesday 14th October, when a overall winner will be chosen and presented with a grand prize of Triumph clothing and/or accessories to the value of £250.

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    New Design Delivers 30 Percent More Touring Comfort

    Long-range riders will enjoy unmatched touring comfort with the new Harley Hammock Touring Seat (P/N 53051-09, $499.95) from Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories. The Harley Hammock seat, which is original equipment on the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide model, features a sling-like fabric suspension system manufactured from a blend of fibers that offer flexibility and durability. The fabric acts like a hammock, providing two inches of suspension above the seat pan, and is topped with an additional two inches of traditional foam cushioning. The internal suspension prevents "bottoming out" and provides a 30 percent improvement in comfort and endurance by isolating the rider from harsh road conditions. The black vinyl surface is easy to clean and maintain, and is finished with a "Harley-Davidson" embossed script logo. The seat can be equipped with a rider backrest (sold separately) on most models. Seat width is 17.5"; passenger pillion width is 15".

    The Harley Hammock Seat fits 2008-later Harley-Davidson Touring models (except Tri-Glide). It does not fit models equipped with Passenger Grab Rail P/N 91583-99.

    For additional information on Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories, see your local Harley-Davidson dealer or visit the Harley-Davidson Web site at To find a dealer near you, call toll free 1-800-443-2153 in the U.S.A. or Canada.

  4. The Harley-Davidson experience hits Daytona Bike Week

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    On March 6 and 7, Harley-Davidson will show its support of "Bikers on the Boulevard" by hosting several activities during Daytona Bike Week. Scheduled activities include music, prize drawings and an open bike show.

    Riders during Daytona Bike Week have been congregating along Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard in the heart of Daytona's Midtown Black Heritage District during Bike Week for decades. Although it is uncertain exactly when this tradition began, some locals say the gathering goes back to the 1960s or even before. In honor of this rich tradition, Harley-Davidson will be celebrating at the historical intersection of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard (Second Avenue) and Pearl Street.

    "We are looking forward to another successful year and the opportunity to continue to support Harley-Davidson riders and enthusiasts who have always supported us," stated Karina Jaramillo-Saa, manager of market outreach, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. "Bikers on the Boulevard celebrates the brotherhood and spirit of riding and we are excited to be a part of it."

    Various 2009 Harley-Davidson models will be on display, including the Screamin' Eagle Fat Bob®, the Road King® Classic, the V-Rod® Muscle and the Screamin' Eagle Road Glide®. Harley-Davidson will ride in style as it cruises the boulevard in Daytona Beach.

    Since schedule information is subject to change, please check the on-site Harley-Davidson activities guide for times and locations of entertainment and other special attractions.

    Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the only major U.S.-based motorcycle manufacturer, produces heavyweight motorcycles and a complete line of motorcycle parts, accessories and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson's Web site at

  5. Harley-Davidson reports 2008 results

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    Harley-Davidson reports 2008 results, plans lower 2009 shipments and unveils strategy for current environment

    Milwaukee, Wis. (January 23, 2009) - dctmLink chronic_id='09014730805a0bad' object_id='09014730805a0bad' path='/' edit_widget_type=content>Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE:HOG) reported decreased revenue, net income and earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the year-ago quarter. The Company said it plans lower motorcycle shipments in 2009 and made public its overall strategy to deal with the current economic environment.       

    “We have a strong core business anchored by a uniquely powerful brand, but we are certainly not immune to the current economic conditions,” said Jim Ziemer, Chief Executive Officer, Harley-Davidson Inc. “We have a clear strategy to not only deal with the economic conditions, but also strengthen our long-term operations and financial results. We are executing that strategy with confidence and conviction.” 

    Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Results
    Revenue for the quarter was $1.29 billion compared to $1.39 billion in the year-ago quarter, a 6.8 percent decrease. Net income for the quarter was $77.8 million compared to $186.1 million in the fourth quarter 2007, a decrease of 58.2 percent. Fourth quarter diluted earnings per share were $0.34, a 56.4 percent decrease compared to last year’s $0.78. 

    Revenue for the full year 2008 was $5.59 billion compared to $5.73 billion in 2007, a 2.3 percent decline. Full-year net income was $654.7 million, compared to $933.8 million in 2007. Diluted earnings per share were $2.79, a decrease of 25.4 percent compared to $3.74 in 2007. The full-year results are below the previously provided company guidance.

    For the full year, wholesale shipments of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles were 303,479 units, an 8.2 percent decrease compared to 330,619 units in 2007. 

    2009 Shipment Plan, Gross Margins
    In the first quarter of 2009, the Company plans to ship between 74,000 and 78,000 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a 3.0 percent to 8.5 percent increase versus the first quarter of 2008. However, for the full year 2009, the Company plans to ship between 264,000 and 273,000 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a 10 percent to 13 percent reduction from 2008. 

    “We reduced our production levels prudently in 2008, helping our dealers achieve lower inventory levels,” said Ziemer, “and we’re going to show similar discipline in 2009. That’s not only critical for the health of our business, but for our dealers’ businesses, as well.”

    For the full year 2009, the Company expects gross margins to be between 30.5 percent and 31.5 percent, which compares to 34.5 percent for the full year 2008. The decrease is primarily due to an expected unfavorable shipment mix versus 2008, the allocation of fixed costs over fewer units, and expected unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates versus 2008. Given the volatility of the current economic environment, the Company also indicated it would not provide EPS guidance for 2009.

    Strategy for the Current Economic Environment
    The Company is executing a three-part strategy that includes a number of measures to deal with the impact of the recession and worldwide slowdown in consumer demand, with the intent of strengthening its operations and financial results going forward.

    “Our strategy is focused on three critical areas: to invest in the Harley-Davidson brand, get our cost-structure right, and obtain funding for HDFS to help our dealers sell motorcycles and our retail customers to buy them,” said Ziemer.

    Investing in the Brand
    The Company is reinforcing its support of the Harley-Davidson brand, accelerating its ongoing marketing efforts to reach out to emerging rider groups, including younger and diverse riders. In addition, the Company will continue to focus on product innovations targeted at specific growth opportunities with its strong core customer base and new riders. 

    In the U.S., the Company said its Sportster® motorcycle trade-up program is being well-received by dealers and consumers and is generating new floor traffic during the winter months. The program lets riders who already own a qualifying Sportster motorcycle, or who buy a new Sportster motorcycle, receive back the original Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price value when they trade up to a Harley-Davidson Big Twin or VRSC motorcycle at participating dealerships.

    Outside the U.S., the Company will continue to support the product, dealer development and marketing activities which, during the last several years, have helped drive strong retail sales growth.

    “Among other things, the Harley-Davidson brand stands for strength and resilience, and we’re managing the business in this economic climate in ways that we believe will build long-term value into the brand,” said Ziemer. 

    Adjusting the Cost Structure
    As a result of motorcycle volume reduction and the Company’s commitment to improve its cost structure, Harley-Davidson plans to:

    • Consolidate its two engine and transmission plants in the Milwaukee area into its facility in Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    • Consolidate paint and frame operations at its assembly facility in York, Pa.
    • Close its distribution facility in Franklin, Wis., consolidating Parts and Accessories and General Merchandise distribution through a third party.
    • Discontinue its domestic transportation fleet operation.

    The planned volume reduction and restructuring actions are expected to result in the elimination of about 1,100 jobs over 2009 and 2010, including about 800 hourly production positions and about 300 non-production, primarily salaried positions. About 70 percent of the workforce reduction is expected to occur in 2009.

    “We obviously need to make adjustments to address the current volume declines,” said Ziemer. “But we are also determined to do that in a way that will make us more competitive for the long term. Our management group will engage with union leaders, through our partnering relationship, regarding these changes.” 

    On a combined basis, Harley-Davidson expects the volume reduction and changes to operations to result in one-time charges of approximately $110 million to $140 million over 2009 and 2010, and ongoing annual savings of approximately $60 million to $70 million upon completion of the restructuring actions.

    Obtaining Additional Funding for HDFS
    The Company said it is evaluating a range of options to provide the necessary liquidity for the wholesale and retail lending activities of Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS).

    “We’re evaluating options in order to obtain the necessary funding to support Harley-Davidson dealers and customers throughout the year,” said Tom Bergmann, Chief Financial Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc. and interim President of HDFS.

    Additional Detail on 2008 Results

    Motorcycles and Related Products Segment – Fourth Quarter Results
    Revenue from Harley-Davidson motorcycles was $1.02 billion, a decrease of $95.4 million or 8.5 percent versus the same period last year. Shipments of Harley-Davidson motorcycles totaled 76,581 units, down 4,625 units or 5.7 percent compared to last year’s fourth quarter.

    Revenue from Parts and Accessories (P&A), which consists of Genuine Motor Parts and Genuine Motor Accessories, totaled $152.1 million, lower by $13.1 million or 7.9 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Revenue from General Merchandise, which consists of MotorClothes® apparel and collectibles, totaled $69.0 million, a decline of $4.4 million or 6.0 percent from the year-ago quarter.

    Gross margin for the fourth quarter of 2008 was 31.6 percent of revenue compared to 35.7 percent for the fourth quarter last year. This decrease is primarily due to unfavorable shipment mix versus last year’s fourth quarter, higher product costs and the cost of the Sportster motorcycle trade-up promotion. Fourth quarter operating margin decreased to 12.0 percent from 18.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, reflecting the impact of lower revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the year-ago period.

    Motorcycle Retail Sales Data
    During the fourth quarter, worldwide retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 13.1 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2007. U.S. retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles were down 19.6 percent for the quarter. The overall heavyweight motorcycle market in the U.S. decreased 25.5 percent for the same period.

    Retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 0.7 percent in the Company’s international markets during the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the year-ago period. Fourth quarter retail sales increased 1.4 percent in Canada; the Europe Region was up 3.4 percent; the Asia Pacific Region wasdown 8.9 percent; and the Latin America Region was up 28.0 percent.

    For the full-year 2008, worldwide retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles declined 7.1 percent compared to the prior year. U.S. retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles declined 13.0 percent for the full year while the U.S. heavyweight market was down 7.0 percent for the same period. International retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 10.3 percent for the full year 2008.

    Full year data are listed in the accompanying tables.

    Financial Services Segment
    Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) recorded an operating loss of $24.9 million for the fourth quarter, $63.5 million lower than the operating income in the year-ago quarter. The decrease is primarily due to a $35.1 million write-down of retained securitization interests and a $28.4 million write-down to fair value of finance receivables held for sale. The write-downs were due to higher projected credit losses and an increase in the discount rate used for the valuation of receivables.

    “Our priorities for HDFS in 2009 are to continue to obtain funding for its lending activities, manage credit losses in this challenging environment and provide support to the Harley-Davidson dealer network,” said Bergmann.

    Income Tax Rate
    The Company’s fourth quarter effective income tax rate was 36.9 percent compared to 35.5 in the same quarter last year. The 2008 fourth quarter increase was primarily related to the tax implications of MV Agusta, which the Company acquired in August 2008.

    Harley-Davidson, Inc. – Twelve Month Results
    For the full year of 2008, revenue totaled $5.59 billion, down 2.3 percent from last year’s $5.73 billion.Shipments of Harley-Davidson motorcycles were 303,479 units, compared to last year’s 330,619 units. Harley-Davidson motorcycle revenue was $4.28 billion, down 3.8 percent compared to last year’s $4.45 billion. P&A revenue was $858.7 million, down 1.1 percent compared to last year’s $868.3 million. General Merchandise revenue increased to $313.8 million, a 2.8 percent increase compared to $305.4 million in the full year of 2007. 

    HDFS operating income was $82.8 million, a 61.0 percent decrease from last year’s $212.2 million.

    Cash Flow
    Cash and marketable securities totaled $593.6 million as of December 31, 2008. Cash used by operations was $684.6 million, and capital expenditures were $232.2 million during the full year of 2008.

    For the full year of 2009, capital expenditures, excluding those associated with restructuring activities, are expected to be between $180 million and $200 million. The Company expects restructuring activities to result in additional capital expenditures of $10 million to $20 million in 2009.

    Stock Repurchase
    The Company did not repurchase shares in the fourth quarter of 2008. For the full year 2008, the Company repurchased 6.4 million shares of its common stock at a cost of $250.4 million. On December 31, 2008, the Company had 232.8 million shares of common stock outstanding.

    As of December 31, 2008, there were 16.7 million shares remaining on a board-approved share repurchase authorization. An additional board-approved share repurchase authorization is in place to offset option exercises.

    Company Background
    Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company for the group of companies doing business as Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC), Buell Motorcycle Company (Buell), MV Agusta and Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS). Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, touring and cruiser motorcycles. Buell produces American sport performance motorcycles. MV Agusta produces premium, high-performance sport motorcycles sold under the MV Agusta® brand and lightweight sport motorcycles sold under the Cagiva® brand. HDFS provides wholesale and retail financing and insurance programs primarily to Harley-Davidson and Buell dealers and customers.

    Forward-Looking Statements
    The Company intends that certain matters discussed in this release are “forward-looking statements” intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified as such because the context of the statement will include words such as the Company “believes,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” or “estimates” or words of similar meaning. Similarly, statements that describe future plans, objectives, outlooks, targets, guidance or goals are also forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated as of the date of this release. Certain of such risks and uncertainties are described below. Shareholders, potential investors, and other readers are urged to consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements and cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements included in this release are only made as of the date of this release, and the Company disclaims any obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

    The Company’s ability to meet the targets and expectations noted depends upon, among other factors, the Company's ability to (i) effectively execute the Company’s restructuring plans within expected costs, (ii) manage the risks that our independent dealers may have difficulty adjusting to the recession and slowdown in consumer demand,  (iii) manage supply chain issues, (iv) anticipate the level of consumer confidence in the economy, (v) continue to have access to reliable sources of capital funding and adjust to fluctuations in the cost of capital, (vi) manage the credit quality, the loan servicing and collection activities, and the recovery rates of HDFS’ loan portfolio, (vii) continue to realize production efficiencies at its production facilities and manage operating costs including materials, labor and overhead, (viii) manage production capacity and production changes, (ix) provide products, services and experiences that are successful in the marketplace, (x) develop and implement sales and marketing plans that retain existing retail customers and attract new retail customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace, (xi) sell all of its motorcycles and related products and services to its independent dealers, (xii) continue to develop the capabilities of its distributor and dealer network, (xiii) manage changes and prepare for requirements in legislative and regulatory environments for its products, services and operations, (xiv) adjust to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, interest rates and commodity prices,  (xv) adjust to healthcare inflation, pension reform and tax changes, (xvi)  retain and attract talented employees, (xvii) detect any issues with our motorcycles or manufacturing processes to avoid delays in new model launches, recall campaigns, increased warranty costs or litigation, (xvii) implement and manage enterprise-wide information technology solutions and secure data contained in those systems, and (xix) successfully integrate and profitably operate MV Agusta Group.

    In addition, the Company could experience delays or disruptions in its operations as a result of work stoppages, strikes, natural causes, terrorism or other factors. Other factors are described in risk factors that the Company has disclosed in documents previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of these risk factors are impacted by the current turbulent capital, credit and retail markets and our ability to adjust to the recession.

    The Company’s ability to sell its motorcycles and related products and services and to meet its financial expectations also depends on the ability of the Company’s independent dealers to sell its motorcycles and related products and services to retail customers. The Company depends on the capability and financial capacity of its independent dealers and distributors to develop and implement effective retail sales plans to create demand for the motorcycles and related products and services they purchase from the Company. In addition, the Company’s independent dealers and distributors may experience difficulties in operating their businesses and selling Harley-Davidson motorcycles and related products and services as a result of weather, economic conditions or other factors.