Harley Gets Boost on Sportster Sales, Polaris' Business Slows

 |  Includes: HOG, PII
by: TickerMine

Victory Brand Strong, Sales Not as Vigorous in April
Over the past week, we surveyed dealers that sell Polaris Victory brand motorcylces and Polaris brand ATV's. Many of these dealers sell multiple brands, with the exception of Harley (NYSE:HOG). The survey's intent is to guage general motorcycle sales trends and attempt to get at Polaris Victory demand specifically. We asked the following questions:

1. What is the most popular brand of motorcycle you sell?
2. What is your view of the Victory Brand of motorcycle?
3. Do you offer any deals or good financing options on Victory motorcycles?
4. Is financing going away because of the economy?
5. Are you as busy as normal, or is now a good time to buy because business is slow?

• Polaris (NYSE:PII) was cited as the most popular brand at 57% of dealers we spoke with. 17% thought that Kymco was the most popular while another 17% cited Yamaha as the most popular.
• The reviews of Polaris bikes were generally focused high quality, strong sell through and popularity.
• 60% of respondents say they are offering good deals on financing. 40% say they are not.
• 70% of respondents say financing is not going away due to the economy. 30% say it is.
• 67% say that now is a good time to buy a motorcycle because is slow. 33% say that business is normal and the deals are not extra good.

Key Takeaway: Polaris brand motorcycles appear to be strong on the brand front compared to other brands carried at motorcycle dealers (excepting Harley Davidson Dealers). The negative elements of the report revolve around the 40% saying that there are not good financing options and the 67% who say that business is slow and therefore now is a good time to buy a Polaris (or any other brand) motorcycle.

Sportster Sales Drive Improving Sentiment at Harley Dealers

Over the past week, we surveyed 30 Harley Davidson dealers across the United States to track sales trends of Harley Davidson motorcycles. We asked the following questions:

6. What bike model sell the most right now?
7. Are you sold out of any models right now?
8. How are business levels compared to this time last year?
9. Has there been an increase in sales in the past month?

• The Harley Sportster XR 1200 was cited as the best selling model by 57% of respondents. The Dyna series, which includes the Fat Bob and Rocker C models was seen as the top seller be 13%. .
• 87% of respondents said they were not sold out of any models. 13% said they were sold out of some models and cited the Dyna Rocker C as one model that was sold out.
• 43% of respondents believed that business was worse in early April compared to April of last year. 30% saw business levels as the same as last year, while 27% believed that business was better than last year.
• Despite the negative sentiment on business compared to this time last year, 57% of respondents did say business had increased in the past month. 43% did not believe that business had increased in the last four weeks.

Key Takeaway: The absolute results for Harley appear to be generally negative. However, the data reads less poorly than in recent surveys. The 57% who see business increasing in the past month is the best reading for this question in the past few months. The low priced Sportster continues to be the top selling model. Potentially lower gross margins tied to the Sportster could a downside to this statistic.