Harley-Davidson 3Q profit falls 27 percent

Associated Press Published: October 23, 2012

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. said Tuesday that its third-quarter net income fell 27 percent as motorcycle shipments slowed because of the start of a new production system at the company's biggest assembly plant.

The Milwaukee-based company said it made $134 million, or 59 cents per share, during the quarter. That compares with $183.6 million, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue was down 11 percent to $1.25 billion because of the previously announced manufacturing slowdown.

The earnings matched Wall Street estimates. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 59 cents per share on revenue of $1.1 billion.

"We believe our U.S. dealers' third-quarter new motorcycle sales were adversely affected by a limited availability of new motorcycles in July, August and early September," CEO Keith Wandell said in a statement. "As U.S. dealer inventory returned to more appropriate levels and the new 2013 motorcycles became more available, retail sales responded positively and gained momentum as we exited the quarter."

Harley put the new production system in place at its factory in York, Pa., during the quarter, and it also moved the annual new model launch from late July to late August, also delaying shipments of new models, Wandell said.