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Harley-Davidson Laps Q2 Estimates; Shares Fall on Production Cuts

By Anders Bylund – Jul 22, 2014 at 9:12AM

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Harley-Davidson beat Wall Street estimates on both the top and bottom lines, but management was expecting more and reduced production plans for the second half of 2014.

Shares of iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson (HOG 1.86%) fell in pre-market trading this morning, following the release of second-quarter results that included management's expressing disappointment in sales figures. Harley's second-quarter sales rose 12% year-over-year to $2.0 billion. GAAP earnings jumped 34% higher, landing at $1.62 per share.

Analysts would have settled for earnings of $1.46 per share on $1.8 billion in sales. Harley cruised past these Wall Street expectations.

The company shipped 92,217 new motorcycles in the quarter, up 9% from 84,606 bikes shipped in the year-ago quarter. Harley dealers worldwide sold 90,218 motorcycles, about even with the second quarter of 2013.

Management expressed disappointment with second-quarter sales figures, pointing to poor weather in strategically important parts of the U.S. market. Moreover, Sportster motorcycle sales were soft as customers expected the release of the new Street product line.

In order to keep production in line with demonstrated demand trends, Harley slashed its full-year unit growth estimates from circa 8% to roughly 4.5%. Through the first six months of 2014, shipments increased 8.2% while worldwide sales to customers grew by 2.2%.

In prepared remarks, Harley CEO Keith Wandell expressed confidence in his company's long-term prospects. "We believe the underlying demand fundamentals of the business remain intact," Wandell said. "We continue to see a strong response to the new Rushmore models as well as great interest in the Harley-Davidson Street 750 and 500, which began to hit dealer showrooms in late June."

Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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