Harley Davidson Analysis HARLEY DAVIDSON MOTOR COMPANY As one Harley puts it, It’s one thing to have people buy your products. It’s another for them to tattoo your name on their bodies. Harley-Davidson is the only major US maker of motorcycles and the nation’s #1 seller of heavyweight motorcycles. Harley-Davidson offers 24 models of touring and custom cycles. Harley has held the largest share of the U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market since 1986.
Besides its bikes, Harley-Davidson sells a licensed line of clothing and accessories with the company name. Also, gaining attention are the Harley-Davidson Cafes, located in various cities including New York City and Las Vegas. These successful restaurants provide Harley enthusiasts with great food, souvenir merchandise and a chance to see rare biker memorabilia. This makes Harley one of the most recognizable symbols in America today. Many of Harley-Davidson owners/riders are members of the Harley Owners Group better known as H.O.G., with more than 500,000 members nationwide.
Demand for Harley-Davidson motorcycles continues to rise. Other motorcycle manufacturers have tried to compete with Harley-Davidson in the heavyweight V-Twin cruiser segment; none have been able to match Harley-Davidson in terms of customer loyalty and sales. There is a waiting list to get new bikes. The dedication to its existing customers has created a loyalty that is enviable by many other companies. COMPANY HISTORY: William S. Harley and William, Walter and Arthur Davidson began the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company in a shed in the Davidson backyard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903. That year, they built three motorcycles.
In 1909 the company introduced the V-Twin engine, which is still in use to this day, a more powerful engine and topping a previously unheard of speed of 60 miles an hour. As a demand for the bikes grew, other companies were formed. By 1911, there were 150 companies in the US that built motorcycles. Police departments and the military made heavy use of the bikes. During World War I, HD Bikes were called into service and by the end of the war; the US Military used over 20,000 of them. Major achievements in design ensued, and a Harley Davidson Bike was the first motor vehicle to win a race with an average speed of over 100 miles per hour.
In 1926 the teardrop style gas tank that is still used today was introduced. The Great Depression devastated the motorcycle industry. Only Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles survived the 1930s largely due to use by police departments. Again, World War called over 90,000 motorcycles into action in the 1940s. After the war, the company expanded.
The original founders died and new management took over. Indian Motorcycles closed in 1953 and left Harley Davidson the sole US manufacturer of American made motorcycles. The 50s also saw the rise of the American motorcycle culture, with black leather jackets making a statement and signifying a lifestyle. In 1965 the company made its first public offering on the stock market, and in 1969 merged with AMF. At the time the company was producing 14000 cycles per year.
The merger bolstered Harleys growth with financial strength of AMF. The company then moved its assembly operation to York, PA, leaving only the engine production and World headquarters in Wisconsin. Also housed in York is the Harley-Davidson Antique Motorcycle Museum. It houses a collection of more than 40 military and police bikes depicting the evolution of the motorcycle and Harley history from 1903 to the present day. The 70s saw a decline in the market. A flood of imports from Japan and quality problems created major problems for the company.
In the 80s, 13 members of HD management purchased the company from AMF and brought a return to quality and implemented new management and manufacturing techniques. It accomplished this turnaround by being one of the first US companies to use Just in time inventory policies, statistical processes and employee involvement programs. In 1982, the company convinced the International Trade Commission (ITC) that the glut of imported Japanese bikes were a threat of injury. Additional Tariffs were imposed on the imports for five years. Giving the company a chance to revitalize its place in the market.
It did this in just three years by retooling and streamlining its operations. In 1995 the company expanded its international operations in Windsor, England to manage the European market. Europe is the largest heavyweight motorcycle market in the world, fully 18 percent larger than the market in the United States. H-D shipped 132,285 motorcycles in 1997 and shipped 147,000 in 1998. The long-term goal: 200,000 motorcycles annually by 2003.
As the company enters the 21st century, it continues to improve operations, by its expansion into Europe, Japan, Australia China and Latin America. MISSION STATEMENT: We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments. WHO ARE HARLEY BUYERS? Some Demographics: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 GENDER Male 98% 96% 96% 96% 95% 95% 93% 93% 91% 91% Female 2% 4% 4% 4% 5% 5% 7% 7% 9% 9% MEDIAN AGE Years 34.7 34.6 34.6 36.7 38.5 38.4 41.6 42.1 42.5 43.6 MARITAL STATUS Married 55% 59% 56% 58% 62% 59% 65% 68% 67% 67% Single 25% 25% 27% 27% 23% 23% 19% 18% 17% 17% Widowed / Divorced 16% 16% 17% 17% 15% 18% 16% 14% 16% 16% CHILDREN LIVING AT HOME None 55% 54% 57% 58% 57% 57% 53% 54% 53% 54% 1-2 37% 37% 36% 35% 36% 36% 38% 38% 39% 38% 3 + 7% 8% 7% 7% 7% 7% 9% 8% 9% 8% MEDIAN INCOME (000’S) Personal $30.7 $31.3 $36.4 $38.5 $40.3 $42.7 NA NA NA NA Household $38.4 $40.0 $44.7 $47.3 $50.5 $53.7 $61.9 $65.2 $66.4 $68.5 EDUCATION LEVEL Non-High School Grad 9% 8% 8% 7% 6% 6% 5% 5% 4% 4% High School Grad 32% 34% 33% 34% 27% 28% 26% 25% 24% 24% Some College Trade 41% 37% 38% 38% 40% 38% 39% 39% 38% 38% College Grad / Graduate 18% 20% 21% 22% 26% 29% 31% 31% 34% 34% Gross/Net profit Margin: Profitability Ratios (%) Company Industry Sector S&P Gross Margin (TTM) 34.09 41.07 29.54 50.31 Gross Margin – 5 Yr. Avg. 32.65 40.25 29.01 48.09 Net Profit Margin (TTM) 11.20 6.42 6.33 13.38 Net Profit Margin – 5 Yr.
Avg. 9.74 6.99 5.95 10.27 Return on Assets: Return on Assets Company Industry Sector S&P 5 Return On Assets (TTM) 13.69 7.58 6.52 10.83 Return On Assets – 5 Yr. Avg. 12.62 9.61 5.38 9.37 Return On Equity (TTM) 25.29 13.80 23.51 23.26 Return On Equity – 5 Yr. Avg.
23.90 17.74 18.76 21.93 Fiscal year-end: December 1999 Sales (mil.): $2,452.9 1-Yr. Sales Growth: 18.8% 1999 Employees: 7,220 1999 Net Inc. (mil.): $267.2 1-Yr. Net Inc. Growth: 25.2% 1-Yr. Employee Growth: 16.5% The second-quarter report this year boasted nearly 20% annual sales growth with improving margins and no share count dilution. There are not many other companies that have such solid competitive advantages, combined with dependable management.
For the most recent quarter, Harley announced earnings per share of $0.29, up 33.4% from last year’s second quarter. Sales across most divisions were up by 21% to 23%, and gross margins eased to 34.1% from 35.0% the year before, but the company’s tax rate improved, and 1.5 million shares were repurchased, making the bottom line improvement much more impressive than their growth. Sales growth in the high teens or low-20% range is very predictable for the company; the long-term trend on gross margins has been great for shareholders. Harley has funded its growth over the last 10 years almost entirely through cash generated from operations, rather than through constantly issuing new equity. There is a greater degree of Harley stock owned by its employees signifying strong faith in the company. With a 17% growth rate, combined with high demand for the motorbikes, and the stability of Harley’s earnings make the company very attractive for long term investment.