Motorcycle sales have been booming across the board in 2015 with one company after another reporting robust increases in sales volume in the first half of the year. Unfortunately, Harley-Davidson is one of the few blips of this growing trend after announcing a slight drop in worldwide sales in the second quarter of 2015.

Just like its Q1 of 2015 sales numbers, Harley saw its sales figures drop by 1.4% compared to the same time period in 2014. Speaking strictly on numbers, the company sold 88,931 units globally in the second quarter of the year, down slightly from the 90,128 units it sold from April to June 2014.

The international market contributed a little over 35% of the total sales number with 31,141 Harleys finding new homes all over the world. That represents another small drop in sales from the 31,993 units sold in international markets in Q2 of 2014. Strip those numbers by region and it shows a noticeable difference in popularity for Harley. The Asia Pacific region, for example, saw sales increase by 16.6%, but every other region posted sales declines, most notably in Canada (9.9%) and the EMEA region (8.9%).

The current trend shows that the Asia-Pacific region is the only place where Harley’s posting any sales growth. Whether this is an effect of increased competition or a seeming lack of new models infusing the current lineup, what’s clear is that Harley’s going to have to step up its game if it hopes to join the ranks of motorcycle companies that have posted increased sales in 2015.

To be fair, the company did say that its projections call for a slight increase in sales volume (anywhere from 2% to 4%) by the time 2015 comes to an end. It’s a positive growth if you want to be technical about it, but not enough to convince people like me that Harley’s actually happy about these numbers.

Continue reading to read more about Harley’s Q2 2015 sales performance.

Why it matters

I know Harley-Davidson would prefer to see its sales volume to be significantly higher than it is, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot of reasons to be worried about this small dip in sold units.

By and large, the company attributed this sales decline to a “tough and competitive environment, driven mostly by currency and greater competitive activity.” One of those things - the currency part - is something Harley can’t do anything about. The other thing - the greater competitive activity part - is the one that it should pay real close attention to.

It’s easy to just point to that reason and call it a day, but if Harley really wants to increase its own sales volume, it’s going to have to up its game and provide a steady stream of models, new or updated, that motorcycle consumers would go out and buy. If it keeps to the status quo and continue selling its own line, these numbers could still go down. That’s not a good look for the company, especially for its investors.

Harley president and CEO Matt Levatich said that the company plans to meet this challenge head-on. That’s good to hear from the man running the business. The question is how Harley’s going about doing it. Only the company can answer that for now, but for the sake of its sales volume posting an upward trajectory, I hope that whatever it plans on doing will have a positive effect on its sales volume moving forward.

The industry is catching up to Harley and competitors are eating into its market share. Now, it’s on Harley to prove that it’s still the king of its domain.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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