CEO Matt Levatich announced that The Motor Company plans to release a whopping 50 new models over the next five years. Ambitious? Yeah, maybe. But before you hate-Harley folks get your flywheels all wound up, let’s try to keep things in the realm of reality; OF COURSE the factory intends to use some combination of existing platforms, powerplants and features to mix-and-match new (and hopefully interesting) combinations for its millions of fans around the world. The new Milwaukee-Eight engine has lots of promise, and the new model variants do too, with the Road King Special emerging as the shining star of that group so far, but the year is young.

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2017 Harley-Davidson Road King & Road King Special
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(Road King Special)

To be fair, the MoCo has long had a practice of building upon, and borrowing from, existing lines. Repurposing parts helps keep R&D and production costs down, and even I have to admit the factory needs all the help it can get in that area, though one could argue that ditching the union labor would go a long way toward rectifying its exorbitant prices, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon so we take what we can get. Meanwhile, the factory’s financial statement is a mixed bag.

Direct from the factory: MILWAUKEE, Jan. 31, 2017 – Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) fourth quarter 2016 diluted EPS increased 22.7 percent to $0.27 compared to $0.22 in the same period of 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2016, net income was $47.2 million on consolidated revenue of $1.11 billion versus net income of $42.2 million on consolidated revenue of $1.18 billion in the year-ago period. Full-year 2016 diluted EPS increased 3.8 percent to $3.83 compared to diluted EPS of $3.69 in 2015. Full-year net income was $692.2 million on consolidated revenue of $6.0 billion versus net income of $752.2 million on consolidated revenue of $6.0 billion a year ago.

Add to that news the 65,000+ riders H-D trained through its rider school last year, and you start to get a picture of a company caught in the normal ebb and flow of business, a picture that looks nothing like the gloom-and-doom from wishful daydreamers longing to write, er I mean read, about Harley’s demise. In short; it looks like the company will be around at least long enough to make good on its 50-model promise, or not. We’ll see one way or the other. Tick Tock boys, better get to work.

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