Harley-Davidson has reported better than expected financial results for the first quarter of 2016. Total global sales for the company were up by 1.4%.
Sales within the US actually dropped by 0.5%, but sales growth of 4.5% in overseas markets boosted the overall sales for the company and led to the positive result.
Matt Levatich, President and Chief Executive Officer, said he was pleased with how the company’s first quarter results demonstrate the progress the company is making in both driving demand and delivering business performance in a highly competitive environment.
A strong U.S. dollar against other currencies has made motorcycles from Japan and Europe cheaper for customers in the U.S., and combined with increased competition from other brands and an ageing traditional market, has caused a decline in Harley-Davidson’s market share and profitability.
In 2016, the company is increasing its marketing and product development investments to drive demand, particularly in the younger and female markets.
The first quarter results are an indication that Harley-Davidson’s strategy may be working.
Unfortunately though, the company’s shares have slipped more than 8% since the start of April, virtually wiping out its gains during the first three months of the year.
So whilst there are promising signs for the US manufacturer, it would appear that there is still a long way to go. The company is standing by its forecast for 1 to 3% growth in 2016 shipments.
“The increased marketing and new product investments are beginning to take hold and we anticipate continued progress across our focus areas as we dial in and ramp-up our approach,” said Matt Levatich.