April 13 2005.
Harley-Davidson has today announced record revenue and earnings of $1.24 billion for its first quarter of this year, $7 billion up on last year's figure and a six per cent increase.
First quarter diluted earnings per share were 77 cents, a 13.2 per cent increase compared with last year's 68 cents.
Jim Ziemer, Chief Financial Officer and CEO Elect, said:  "As I prepare to take on the role of Chief Executive at Harley-Davidson, I am pleased that the company is on a strong footing, having achieved another record quarter. Looking ahead, we expect Harley-Davidson's business to continue to grow and 2005 to be our 20th consecutive record year.

"At the same time, U.S. retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the first quarter of 2005 have been relatively flat with the same period last year falling short of our expectations. Despite our continued optimism for the year, we feel it is prudent to limit short-term production growth, maintaining demand in excess of supply. This action will result in a change to our previous guidance for both shipments and earnings growth for 2005. Our shipments are now planned to increase from last year's 317,000 units to a target of 329,000 units compared to our original target of 339,000 units. Our 2005 earnings are expected to grow by approximately 5-8 per cent in 2005 compared to our previous forecast of mid-teens earnings growth," he added.
First quarter revenue from Harley-Davidson motorcycles was $979.0 million, an increase of 6.5 per cent over the first quarter last year. Shipments of Harley-Davidson motorcycles totaled 76,716 units, up 2,626 units or 3.5 per cent over last year.

In the United States through March, Harley-Davidson retail motorcycle sales finished down approximately one per cent compared to 2004. Similarly, the U. S. heavyweight motorcycle market declined 0.4 per cent in the first quarter.
Worldwide retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 2.8 per cent for the quarter, driven by strong performance in Europe and Japan, which increased 20.6 and 10.6 per cent respectively. On an industry-wide basis through February 2005, the 651+cc segment grew slightly in Europe, while the heavyweight market in Japan was down for the same period.
The company is revising its previous guidance and now plans to ship 329,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in 2005. This 329,000 unit target represents a 3.7 per cent growth rate over 2004 shipments. The Company believes that this 10,000 unit reduction will occur almost entirely in the second quarter and will involve reducing planned production of 2005 Model Year motorcycles. Revised quarterly shipments are expected to be as follows: 77,000 units in the second quarter, 87,500 units in the third quarter and 87,500 units in the fourth quarter.

Source: PR Newswire for Journalists.