Harley Davidson barely broke even in the last quarter of a year in which the struggling American icon got caught up in president Donald Trump’s trade wars. And the motorcycle maker’s shares plunged the most in a year.
Earnings per share on a generally accepted accounting principles basis were zero in the fourth quarter, the manufacturer said.
Excluding restructuring and tariff costs, profit was 17c a share, missing analysts’ average estimate for 29c. Trump attacked Harley last year after it announced plans to shift some US production overseas to sidestep levies imposed by the EU. However, the motorcycle maker has more than tariffs and angry tweets to blame.
US retail sales tumbled 10% in the three months ended in December, the eighth consecutive quarterly drop. Boss Matt Levatich is having trouble attracting younger riders. He plans to offer cheaper bikes and sell more clothing and gear, including on Amazon, to reach new customers.
“2019 we expect to be another difficult year until major initiatives like More Roads start kicking in,” Mr Levatich said, referring to a turnaround plan unveiled last year.
“Everything is angled at that core issue of building riders in the US and leveraging growth opportunities we have in the near term and internationally.”
Harley shares fell up to as 9.5%. The stock plunged 33% last year. Demand dropped in Europe and Asia, sending worldwide sales down.