Harley-Davidson didn’t exactly set sales records with its 2014 performance like other bike manufacturers, but the American bike brand still posted healthy sales returns, which really is all the company ever wanted in the first place.

For its 2014 fiscal year, Harley reported selling 267,999 motorcycles, a 2.7-percent increase from its sales numbers (260,839 bikes sold) in 2013. The increased sales allowed Harley to improve its sales revenue to 7.8 percent, moving up from $5.26 billion in 2013 to $5.57 billion in 2014. All together, Harley’s net profit of $844.6 million was a significant level up to the $734 million in profit it made in the previous year.

According to Harley, the bikes largely responsible for the uptick in sales include the Road Glide, Ultra Low, Ultra Limited Low, CVO Street Glide,Freewheeler and Street models. Its sales volume in the US, where it sold 171,079 bikes in 2014, helped the company continue its long-standing market share dominance - 53 percent - for bikes with more than 600cc on tap.

Even its business outside the US also reported positive growth, even if it wasn’t as big as the company had anticipated. For the year, Harley saw its sales numbers overseas increase from 91,976 bikes sold in 203 to 96,920 sold in the most recent year. The European, Japanese, and Latin American markets were identified as the places where Harley saw increased sales.

Looking forward, the company is expecting to see its growth continue into the new year with expectations of selling anywhere from 282,000 to 287,000 models in 2015. With Harley’s continued growth and expansion into other markets, those numbers could very well end up becoming conservative estimates.

That’s pretty much in play, more so now that Harley has laid the foundation for new models and new programs to arrive this year.

Click past the jump to read more about Harley’s 2014 fiscal year report.

Why it matters

For all the success other bikemakers have had in the US, none of them can still flex its muscles quite like Harley-Davidson.

This doesn’t come as a surprise because you can’t get any more American as Harley-Davidson. The brand’s popularity in its home country is unparalleled. There’s no denying that and it will likely remain the same for as long as Harley continues to crank out those big, beautiful cruisers that has enthralled American riders for generations.

I don’t know if there will ever come a point where Harley-Davidson won’t sell as well as it does in the US. But what’s really impressive about the company’s 2014 sales numbers is its popularity in foreign markets.

The brand is close to selling 100,000 units in a given year outside the US. That’s pretty remarkable considering that a lot of Harley’s competitors have yet to sell over 60,000 units a year in the world.

The world may continue to evolve, but one thing appears to be a constant. Harley-Davidson is still as popular as ever, and if the company takes full advantage of this sales momentum, you can be sure that it’s going to have bigger gains in the future.

Press Release

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) full-year 2014 diluted earnings per share increased 18.3 percent to $3.88 compared to diluted EPS of $3.28 in 2013. Net income was $844.6 million on consolidated revenue of $6.23 billion compared to full-year 2013 net income of $734.0 million on consolidated revenue of $5.90 billion. For the fourth quarter of 2014, diluted EPS increased 2.9 percent year-over-year to $0.35. Fourth quarter net income was $74.5 million on consolidated revenue of $1.20 billion compared to net income of $75.4 million on consolidated revenue of $1.19 billion in the year-ago period.

Worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter and 2.7 percent for the full year compared to the year-ago periods, driven by strong international sales – up 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter and 5.4 percent for the full year.

“Harley-Davidson achieved a great year of financial performance in 2014, with double-digit earnings growth, revenue topping $6 billion and continued strong improvement in margins,” said Keith Wandell, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc.

“We also continued to broaden our customer base and expand the reach of our brand through unrivaled products and experiences. In international markets, our dealers in Asia Pacific, EMEA and Latin America posted their highest new motorcycle sales on record for each region, delivering on our expectation for international sales to grow at a faster rate than U.S. sales. And in the U.S., for the third straight year, sales to our outreach customers grew at more than twice the rate of sales to core customers.”

“Our success is the result of a clear focus on managing the company for the long term, building on our well-established strategies and driving continuous improvement in every aspect of our business,” Wandell said.

Retail Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Sales

Dealers worldwide sold 47,149 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the fourth quarter of 2014, up 2.8 percent compared to 45,875 motorcycles in the year-ago quarter. In the U.S., dealers sold 26,957 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the quarter, down 1.6 percent compared to sales of 27,387 motorcycles in the year-ago period. In international markets, dealers sold 20,192 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the quarter, up 9.2 percent compared to sales of 18,488 motorcycles in the year-ago period, with unit sales up 14.2 percent in the Asia Pacific region, 8.7 percent in the EMEA region and 4.7 percent in the Latin America region, and down 5.7 percent in Canada.

For the full year 2014, dealers sold 267,999 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles worldwide, up 2.7 percent compared to 260,839 motorcycles in 2013. Retail unit sales were up 1.3 percent in the U.S., 11.8 percent in the Asia Pacific region, 6.4 percent in the EMEA region, 2.1 percent in the Latin America region and down 10.8 percent in Canada compared to full-year 2013.

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and Related Products Segment Results

Fourth-Quarter Results: Operating income for the Motorcycles and Related Products segment (the Motorcycles segment) was $35.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to operating income of $60.7 million in the year-ago period. Operating income in the quarter was primarily impacted by unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates.

Revenue from sales of motorcycles to dealers and distributors increased to $784.5 million, compared to revenue of $781.8 million in the year-ago period. The Company shipped 47,157 motorcycles worldwide during the quarter compared to shipments of 46,618 motorcycles in the year-ago period.

Revenue from motorcycle parts and accessories was $165.6 million during the quarter compared to $169.3 million the year-ago period. Revenue from general merchandise, which includes MotorClothes® apparel and accessories, was $75.0 million compared to $75.9 million in the year-ago period.

Gross margin for the Motorcycles segment was 30.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to 31.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. Fourth-quarter operating margin for the Motorcycles segment was 3.5 percent compared to operating margin of 5.9 percent in last year’s fourth quarter.

Twelve-Month Results: For the full year 2014, the Company shipped 270,726 motorcycles to dealers and distributors, a 3.9 percent increase compared to 2013 and in line with guidance. Full-year revenue from motorcycles was $4.39 billion compared to $4.07 billion in the year-ago period. Revenue from parts and accessories was $875.0 million compared to $873.1 million in 2013. Revenue from general merchandise was $284.8 million compared to $295.9 million in the prior year. Full-year gross margin for the Motorcycles segment was 36.4 percent, and operating margin was 18.0 percent compared to 35.4 percent and 16.6 percent respectively in 2013.

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