Heavy motorcycles gained weight in the market last year with Harley-Davidson recording 4.4% global sales growth and Polaris – maker of Victory and Indian motorcycles – earning a record $381.1m, up 22%.
Polaris Industries had better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter, boosted by strong off-road vehicle sales and the relaunch of its Indian motorcycles. Their motorcycle sales rose 94% during the fourth quarter to $68.8 million, helped by the debut of the new Indian Chief models. Off-road vehicles rose 16 percent to $659 million, while sales of snowmobiles dropped 13 percent to $134 million. Polaris expects 14% growth in earnings this year.
Worldwide sales of Harley-Davidson motorbikes grew 5.7% in the fourth quarter and 4.4% for the full year to 260,839, recording net income of $734m compared with $623.9m in 2012. Chairman Keith Wandell says it was a big year for the company with its 110th anniversary celebrations, the Project Rushmore Touring bikes and the announcement of the new Street family of learner and mid-weight bikes. This year should also be good for the iconic brand as the Street family starts rolling out of America and its new Indian plant. Australia gets the learner-approved Street 500 this time next year.
In Australia, Harley sales rose 5% to 8217, the second highest road-bike sales behind Honda’s 8998, while Polaris sold 4450 ATVs (-16.4%), 500 Victory motorcycles (10.6%) and all 102 Indians it could get.