Motorcycles and Related Products
Motorcycles – The primary business of the Motorcycles segment is to design and manufacture premium motorcycles for the heavyweight market and sell them at wholesale. The Company’s worldwide motorcycle sales generated approximately 75%, 78% and 79% of the total net revenue in the Motorcycles segment during each of the years 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
Harley-Davidson branded motorcycle products emphasize traditional styling, design simplicity, durability and quality. The Company manufactures five families of motorcycles: Touring, Dyna®, Softail®, Sportster®, and VRSC. The first four of these motorcycle families are powered by an air-cooled, twin-cylinder engine with a 45-degree “V” configuration. The VRSC family is powered by a liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder engine with a 60-degree “V” configuration. The Company’s Harley-Davidson engines range in displacement size from 883cc’s to 1803cc’s.
The total on-highway motorcycle market, including the heavyweight portion of the market, is comprised of the following four segments:
• standard (emphasizes simplicity and cost)
• performance (emphasizes handling and acceleration)
• custom (emphasizes styling and individual owner customization)
• touring (emphasizes comfort and amenities for long-distance travel)
The touring segment of the heavyweight market was pioneered by the Company and includes the Harley-Davidson Touring family of motorcycles, including three-wheeled motorcycles, which are generally equipped with fairings, windshields, saddlebags and/or Tour Pak® luggage carriers. The custom segment of the market includes motorcycles featuring the distinctive styling associated with classic Harley-Davidson motorcycles and includes the Company’s Dyna, Softail and VRSC motorcycle families as well as a portion of the motorcycles in the Sportster family. The Company’s Sportster family also serves the standard segment of the market.
The worldwide heavyweight motorcycle market is highly competitive. The Company’s major competitors are based outside the U.S. In addition to these larger, established competitors, the Company has competitors headquartered in the U.S. These competitors generally offer heavyweight motorcycles with traditional styling that compete directly with many of the Company’s products.
Competition in the heavyweight motorcycle market is based upon a number of factors, including price, quality, reliability, styling, product features, customer preference, warranties and availability of financing. In the U.S., suggested retail prices for the Company’s Harley-Davidson motorcycles range from being comparable to being moderately higher than suggested retail prices for comparable motorcycles available in the market. The Company believes that its larger-displacement products continue to command a premium price. The Company emphasizes quality, reliability and styling in its products and generally offers a two-year warranty for its motorcycles. The Company regards its support of the motorcycling lifestyle across a wide demographic range in the form of events, rides, rallies including Harley Owners Group® (H.O.G.®) and through the availability of a line of motorcycle parts, accessories, and general merchandise as competitive advantages. Additionally, the Company considers the availability of financing through HDFS as a competitive advantage.
In the U.S., the Company competes most heavily in the touring and custom segments of the heavyweight motorcycle market. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, these segments accounted for approximately 83%, 84% and 80% of total heavyweight retail unit registrations in the U.S. during 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively. The larger-displacement custom and touring motorcycles are generally the most profitable for the Company. During 2009, the heavyweight portion of the market represented approximately 58% of the total U.S. motorcycle market (on- and off-highway motorcycles, scooters and three-wheeled motorcycles) in terms of new units registered.
For the last 22 years, Harley-Davidson motorcycles have led the industry in the U.S. for retail unit registrations of new heavyweight motorcycles.Harley-Davidson, Inc. was incorporated in 1981, at which time it purchased the Harley-Davidson® motorcycle business from AMF Incorporated in a management buyout. In 1986, Harley-Davidson, Inc. became publicly held. Unless the context otherwise requires, all references to the “Company” include Harley-Davidson, Inc. and all of its subsidiaries. The Company operates in two segments: the Motorcycles & Related Products (Motorcycles) segment and the Financial Services (Financial Services) segment. The Company’s reportable segments are strategic business units that offer different products and services. They are managed separately based on the fundamental differences in their operations.
The Motorcycles segment designs, manufactures and sells at wholesale primarily heavyweight (engine displacement of 651+cc) touring, custom and performance motorcycles as well as a line of motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise and related services. The Company conducts business on a global basis, with sales in North America, Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia/Pacific and Latin America. The Motorcycles segment includes the Harley-Davidson and Buell product lines. On October 15, 2009 the Company announced that it would exit from the Buell product line.
During 2008, the Company acquired Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta (MV). The results of MV were included in the Motorcycles segment. On October 15, 2009 the Company announced its intent to divest MV. The Motorcycles segment financial information has been adjusted to reflect MV as a discontinued operation for all periods presented. Please refer to the section titled “Overview” within Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further discussion.
The Motorcycles segment discussion that follows is specific to the Harley-Davidson brand unless otherwise specifically noted.
The Financial Services segment consists of Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS). HDFS provides wholesale and retail financing and, as an agent, provides insurance and insurance-related programs primarily to Harley-Davidson and Buell dealers and their retail customers. HDFS conducts business principally in the United States and Canada.
The Company also competes in several other markets around the world. Based on Company data, the most significant of these markets in terms of volume are Canada, Japan, Australia and Brazil. In Canada, the Company’s market share based on registrations was 39.1%, 41.9% and 39.0% during 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively (Source: Moped and Motorcycle Industry of Canada). Market share information for the remaining international markets has not been presented because the Company does not believe that definitive and reliable registration data is available at this time.
Parts & Accessories – Parts and Accessories (P&A) products are comprised of replacement parts (Genuine Motor Parts) and mechanical and cosmetic accessories (Genuine Motor Accessories). Worldwide P&A net revenue comprised 17.9%, 15.4% and 15.2% of net revenue in the Motorcycles segment in 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
General Merchandise – Worldwide General Merchandise net revenue, which includes revenue from MotorClothes® apparel and accessories, comprised 6.6%, 5.6% and 5.3% of net revenue in the Motorcycles segment in 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
Licensing – The Company creates an awareness of the Harley-Davidson brand among its customers and the non-riding public through a wide range of products for enthusiasts by licensing the name “Harley-Davidson” and other trademarks owned by the Company. The Company’s licensed products include t-shirts, vehicle and vehicle accessories, jewelry, small leather goods, toys and numerous other products. Although the majority of licensing activity occurs in the U.S., the Company continues to expand these activities in international markets. Royalty revenues from licensing, included in Motorcycles segment net revenue, were $38.3 million, $45.4 million and $46.0 million in 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
Harley-Davidson Museum – In 2008, the Company opened the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Museum is a unique experience that the Company believes builds and strengthens bonds between riders and the Company and enhances the brand among the public at large. The 130,000 square foot facility houses the Harley-Davidson Museum and Archives, a restaurant, café, retail store and special event space. The Museum gives the Company a new way to create memories for customers – through visiting, planning rides and hosting special events at the Museum.
Other Services – The Company also provides a variety of services to its independent dealers including service and business management training programs, customized dealer software packages and delivery of its motorcycles. Motorcycle rental and tour programs are available through the Company’s independent dealers.
International Sales – The Company’s revenue from the sale of motorcycles and related products to independent dealers and distributors located outside of the United States was approximately $1.38 billion, $1.73 billion and $1.52 billion, or approximately 32%, 31% and 27% of net revenue of the Motorcycles segment, during 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
Patents and Trademarks – The Company strategically manages its portfolio of patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property.
The Company and its subsidiaries own, and continue to obtain, patent rights that relate to its motorcycles and related products and processes for their production. Certain technology-related intellectual property is also protected, where appropriate, by license agreements, confidentiality agreements or other agreements with suppliers, employees and other third parties. The Company diligently protects its intellectual property, including patents and trade secrets, and its rights to innovative and proprietary technology. This protection, including enforcement, is important as the Company moves forward with investments in new products, designs and technologies. While the Company believes patents are important to its business operations and in the aggregate constitute a valuable asset, the success of the business is not dependent on any one patent or group of patents. The Company’s active patent portfolio has an average age for patents of approximately seven years. A patent review committee, which is comprised of a number of key executives, manages the patent strategy and portfolio of the Company.
Trademarks are important to the Company’s motorcycle business and licensing activities. The Company has a vigorous worldwide program of trademark registration and enforcement to maintain and strengthen the value of the trademarks and prevent the unauthorized use of those trademarks. The HARLEY-DAVIDSON trademark and the Bar and Shield trademark are each highly recognizable to the public and are very valuable assets. The Company also owns the BUELL trademark and the trademark portfolio of MV which includes the MV AGUSTA and CAGIVA trademarks. Additionally, the Company uses numerous other trademarks, trade names and logos which are registered worldwide. The following are among the Company’s trademarks: HARLEY-DAVIDSON, H-D, HARLEY, the Bar & Shield Logo, MOTORCLOTHES, the MotorClothes Logo, RIDER’S EDGE, HARLEY OWNERS GROUP, H.O.G., the H.O.G. Logo, SOFTAIL, SPORTSTER, V-ROD, BUELL and the Pegasus Logo. The HARLEY-DAVIDSON trademark has been used since 1903 and the Bar and Shield trademark since at least 1910. The BUELL trademark has been used since 1984. With the exception of the MV Agusta trademarks, substantially all of the Company’s trademarks are owned by H-D Michigan, LLC, a subsidiary of the Company, which also manages the Company’s trademark strategy and portfolio. The MV Agusta trademarks are presently owned by MV Agusta Motor S.p.A.
Marketing – The Company’s products are marketed to retail customers primarily through promotions, customer events and advertising through national television, print, radio and direct mailings, as well as electronic advertising. Additionally, regional marketing efforts are accomplished through a cooperative program with its independent dealers. The Company also sponsors racing activities and special promotional events and participates in many major motorcycle consumer shows and rallies.
On an ongoing basis, the Company promotes its Harley-Davidson products and the related lifestyle through H.O.G., which has approximately 1.1 million members worldwide and the Company believes is the industry’s largest company-sponsored motorcycle enthusiast organization. The Company formed H.O.G. in 1983 in an effort to encourage Harley-Davidson owners to become more actively involved in the sport of motorcycling. This group also sponsors many motorcycle events, including rallies and rides for Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts throughout the world.
In 2000, Rider’s Edge – the Harley-Davidson Academy of Motorcycling was formed. Rider’s Edge offers a series of rider education experiences that provide both new and experienced riders with deeper engagement in the sport of motorcycling by teaching basic and advanced motorcycling skills and knowledge in a way that is fun and involving. The courses are conducted by a network of select Harley-Davidson dealerships throughout the U.S. enabling students to experience the Harley-Davidson lifestyle, environment, people, and products as they learn.
The Company website (www.harley-davidson.com) is also utilized to market its products and services. The website features an online catalog which allows retail customers to create and share product wish lists, utilize a dealer locator and place catalog orders. Internet orders are sold and fulfilled by the participating authorized Harley-Davidson dealer selected by the retail customer. Dealers also handle any after-sale services that retail customers may require.
U.S. retail purchasers of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles include both core and outreach customers and are diverse in terms of age, gender and ethnicity and the Company has a multi-generational and multi-cultural marketing strategy. The Company defines its core customer base as men over the age of 35 and its outreach customers as women, young adults and ethnically diverse adults. The average U.S. retail purchaser of a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle has a median household income of approximately $85,000. More than three-quarters of the U.S. retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles are to purchasers with at least one year of education beyond high school and 34% of the buyers have college/graduate degrees. The Company measures the success of its marketing strategy by internally monitoring market shares across its various customer definitions. (Sources: 2009 Company Studies)
Harley-Davidson and Buell Distribution – The Company’s independent dealerships stock and sell the Company’s motorcycles, P&A, general merchandise and licensed products, and perform service for the Company’s motorcycles. The Company’s independent dealers also sell a smaller portion of P&A, general merchandise and licensed products through “non-traditional” retail outlets. The “non-traditional” outlets, which are extensions of the main dealership, consist of Secondary Retail Locations (SRLs), Alternate Retail Outlets (AROs), and Seasonal Retail Outlets (SROs). SRLs are satellites of the main dealership and are developed to meet additional retail and service needs of the Company’s riding customers. SRLs also provide P&A, general merchandise and licensed products and are authorized to sell and service new motorcycles. AROs are located primarily in high traffic locations such as malls, airports or popular vacation destinations and focus on selling the Company’s general merchandise and licensed products. SROs are located in similar high traffic areas, but operate on a seasonal basis out of temporary locations such as vendor kiosks. AROs and SROs are not authorized to sell new motorcycles.
The Company’s North American region consists of the United States and Canada. In the United States, the Company distributes its motorcycles and related products to a network of independently-owned full-service Harley-Davidson dealerships and the Overseas Military Sales Corporation, an entity that retails the Company’s products to members of the U.S. military. The Company distributes its motorcycles to its dealers in the U.S. based on dealer orders but subject to an allocation system that was designed to be forward-looking and market-driven in order to align the distribution of motorcycles with the demand in individual dealer markets. The allocation system can affect the number of units of particular models that dealers are able to order and the timing of shipments to dealers. In Canada, the Company sells its motorcycles and related products at wholesale to a single independent distributor, Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada/Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., which in turn sells to independent dealers in the Canadian market.
In the European region (consisting of Europe, the Middle East and Africa), the Company distributes all products sold to independent dealers or distributors through its subsidiary located in Oxford, England, or through one of its sales offices in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic or South Africa.
In the Asia Pacific region, the Company distributes all products sold to independent dealers in Japan and Australia through Company-owned subsidiaries in those countries, and the Company distributes all products sold to independent dealers and distributors for the remaining Asia Pacific markets in which its motorcycles are sold from its U.S. operations.
The Company distributes all products sold in the Latin America region to independent dealers and distributors in Mexico and Brazil through Company-owned subsidiaries in those countries, and the Company distributes all products sold to independent dealers for the remaining Latin American markets in which its motorcycles are sold from its U.S. operations.
The majority of the Company’s independent dealerships sell Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycles exclusively. The Company expects the majority of the dealer network will continue to sell new Buell motorcycles into 2010 and provide ongoing service and replacement parts to Buell owners.
Overall, the Company believes the U.S. dealer network continues to remain profitable through dealers actively managing their expense structures despite pressure from a tough U.S. economy. During 2009, 28 dealer points in the U.S. dealer network closed, and the Company expects additional dealer points to close during 2010. Outside of the U.S., the Company’s strategy calls for the international dealer network to expand by 100 to 150 dealer points by 2014.
MV Distribution – MV distributes its motorcycles and P&A to independent dealers primarily through subsidiaries located in Germany, Switzerland and the U.S. In Italy and France, MV distributes its products to independent dealers directly. All independent dealers also generally sell competitors’ brands.
Seasonality – The timing of retail sales made by the Company’s independent dealers tracks closely with regional riding seasons. The seasonality of wholesale shipments made by the Company is different depending on the geographic market.
The Company’s independent dealers in the U.S. and Canadian markets typically build their inventory levels in the late fall and winter in anticipation of the spring and summer selling seasons. The availability of floor plan financing and financing assistance through HDFS allows dealers to manage these seasonal increases in inventory. In the U.S., seasonal financing assistance is subsidized by the Company, and in Canada, seasonal financing assistance is sponsored by the region’s single independent distributor, Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada/Fred Deeley Imports Ltd. As a result, the Company’s wholesale shipments to these markets have historically not been affected to any material extent by seasonality.
In the majority of the remaining international markets, the Company’s wholesale shipments track more closely with regional riding seasons. In general, the Company’s independent dealers and distributors in these international markets do not build inventory levels in the non-riding seasons, and as a result, the Company’s wholesale shipments to these markets are generally lower in the non-riding seasons than in the riding seasons.
The seasonality of the Company’s wholesale shipments to markets outside the U.S. and Canada affects its ability to produce on a level scale throughout the year. The Company generally carries higher finished goods inventory levels during non-riding seasons outside of the U.S. and Canada in order to mitigate the effect of a more seasonal wholesale shipment pattern on production.
Retail Customer and Dealer Financing – The Company believes that HDFS, as well as other financial services companies, provide adequate financing to Harley-Davidson and Buell independent distributors, dealers and their retail customers. HDFS provides financing to the Company’s Canadian distributor, Harley-Davidson and Buell independent dealers and to the retail customers of those dealers in the U.S. and Canada. The Company’s independent distributors, dealers and their retail customers in the Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America regions are not serviced by HDFS, but have access to financing though other established financial services companies.
Motorcycle Manufacturing – The Company’s manufacturing strategy is designed to continuously improve product quality, increase productivity, reduce costs and increase flexibility to respond to changes in the marketplace. Several methods are employed to drive the Company’s strategy, including lean manufacturing principles, supplier and employee engagement, flexible processes and optimized manufacturing footprint.
The Company recognizes that getting the right product at the right time to the customer is paramount. The Company believes flexible manufacturing, including flexible supply chains and flexible labor agreements, is the key element to enable improvements in the Company’s ability to respond to customers in a cost effective manner. In order to competitively deliver products to customers worldwide, the Company is undertaking measures to restructure current operations and add capabilities that will support our global growth.
Raw Material and Purchased Components – The Company continues to establish and reinforce long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with its suppliers. Through these collaborative relationships, the Company gains access to technical and commercial resources for application directly to product design, development and manufacturing initiatives. This strategy has generated improved product quality, technical integrity, application of new features and innovations and faster manufacturing ramp-up of new vehicle introductions. The Company’s continuing initiative to improve supplier productivity has been instrumental in delivering improvement in product cost. Through a continued focus on collaboration and strong supplier relationships, the Company believes it will be positioned to achieve strategic objectives and deliver cost improvement over the long-term.
The Company purchases all of its raw materials, principally steel and aluminum castings, forgings, steel sheets and bars, and certain motorcycle components, including electronic fuel injection systems, batteries, tires, seats, electrical components and instruments. Given the current economic conditions, and pressure on certain suppliers due to difficulties in the automotive industry and U.S. manufacturing sector in general, the Company is closely monitoring the overall viability of its supply base. However, at this time, the Company does not anticipate any difficulties in obtaining raw materials or components.
Research and Development – The Company believes research and development are significant factors in its ability to lead the custom and touring motorcycling markets. The Company’s Harley-Davidson Product Development Center (PDC) brings employees from styling, purchasing and manufacturing together with regulatory professionals and supplier representatives to create a concurrent product and process development team. The Company incurred research and development expenses of $143.1 million, $163.5 million and $185.5 million during 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
Regulation – International, federal, state and local authorities have various environmental control requirements relating to air, water and noise pollution that affect the business and operations of the Company. The Company strives to ensure that its facilities and products comply with all applicable environmental regulations and standards.
The Company’s motorcycles that are sold in the United States are subject to certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for compliance with applicable emissions and noise standards and by the State of California Air Resources Board (CARB) with respect to CARB’s more stringent emissions standards. Company motorcycles sold in California are also subject to evaporative emissions standards that are unique to California. The Company’s motorcycle products have been designed to comply fully with all such applicable standards. The EPA has finalized new tail pipe emission standards for 2006 and 2010, respectively, which are harmonized with the California emissions standards. Harley-Davidson motorcycle products have been designed to comply with the new EPA standards and the Company believes it will comply with future requirements when they go into effect. Additionally, the Company’s motorcycle products must and do in fact comply with the motorcycle emissions, noise and safety standards of the European Union, Japan and certain other foreign markets where they are sold. Because the Company expects that environmental standards will become even more stringent over time, the Company will continue to incur some level of research, development and production costs in this area for the foreseeable future.
The Company, as a manufacturer of motorcycle products, is subject to the U.S. National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which is administered by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Company has certified to NHTSA that its motorcycle products comply fully with all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards and related regulations. The Company has from time to time initiated certain voluntary recalls. During the last three years, the Company has initiated 14 voluntary recalls related to Harley-Davidson motorcycles at a total cost of $11.7 million. The Company reserves for all estimated costs associated with recalls in the period that the recalls are announced.
Employees – As of December 31, 2009, the Motorcycles segment had approximately 7,300 employees. Unionized employees at the motorcycle manufacturing facilities in Wauwatosa and Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin and Kansas City, Missouri are represented by the United Steelworkers of America (USW), as well as the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Unionized employees at the distribution and manufacturing facilities in Franklin and Tomahawk, Wisconsin are represented by the USW. Production workers at the motorcycle manufacturing facility in York, Pennsylvania are represented by the IAM. The collective bargaining agreement with the Wisconsin-USW and IAM will expire on March 31, 2012, the collective bargaining agreement with the Kansas City-USW and IAM will expire on July 29, 2012, and the collective bargaining agreement with the Pennsylvania-IAM will expire on February 2, 2017. Please refer to the Overview section of Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further discussion of the Company’s restructuring activities and the impact on the number of employees.
Internet Access – The Company’s internet website address is www.harley-davidson.com. The Company makes available free of charge (other than an investor’s own internet access charges) through its internet website the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after it electronically files such material with, or furnishes such material to, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the Company makes available, through its website, the following corporate governance materials: (a) the Company’s Corporate Governance Policy; (b) Committee Charters approved by the Company’s Board of Directors for the Audit Committee, Human Resources Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee; (c) the Company’s Financial Code of Ethics; (d) the Company’s Code of Business Conduct (the Code of Conduct) in eight languages including English; (e) the Conflict of Interest Process for Directors, Executive Officers and Other Employees (the Conflict Process); (f) a list of the Company’s Board of Directors; (g) the Company’s By-laws; (h) the Harley-Davidson Environmental Policy; (i) the Company’s Policy for Managing Disclosure of Material Information; (j) the Company’s Supplier Code of Conduct; and (k) the Sustainability Strategy Report. This information is also available from the Company upon request. The Company satisfies the disclosure requirements under the Code of Conduct, the Conflict Process and applicable New York Stock Exchange listing requirements regarding waivers of the Code of Conduct or the Conflict Process by disclosing the information in the Company’s proxy statement for its annual meeting of shareholders or on the Company’s website. The Company is not including the information contained on or available through its website as a part of, or incorporating such information by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
HDFS is engaged in the business of financing and servicing wholesale inventory receivables and retail consumer loans, primarily for the purchase of Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycles. HDFS is an agent for certain unaffiliated insurance carriers providing property/casualty insurance and also sells extended service contracts, gap coverage and debt protection products to motorcycle owners. HDFS conducts business principally in the United States and Canada.
Wholesale Financial Services – HDFS provides wholesale financial services to Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle dealers, including floorplan and open account financing of motorcycles and motorcycle parts and accessories. HDFS offers wholesale financial services to Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle dealers in the United States and Canada, and during 2009 approximately 94% of such dealers utilized those services. The wholesale finance operations of HDFS are located in Plano, Texas.
Retail Financial Services – HDFS provides retail financing to consumers, including installment lending for the purchase of new and used Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycles. HDFS’ retail financial services are available through most Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle dealers in the United States and Canada. HDFS’ retail finance operations are principally located in Carson City, Nevada and Plano, Texas.
Insurance Services – HDFS is an agent for the sale of motorcycle insurance policies. In the U.S., HDFS also offers motorcycle insurance, extended service contracts, gap coverage and debt protection products through most Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle dealers. In Canada, HDFS offers primarily extended service contracts through most Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle dealers. Motorcycle insurance that HDFS offers on behalf of multiple carriers is also marketed on a direct basis to motorcycle riders. HDFS insurance operations are principally located in Carson City, Nevada and Plano, Texas.
Funding – The Company believes a diversified and cost effective funding base are important to meet HDFS’ goal of providing credit while delivering appropriate returns and profitability. During 2009, the Financial Services operations were funded with unsecured debt, unsecured commercial paper, an asset-backed commercial paper conduit facility, and committed unsecured bank facilities and through the term asset-backed securitization market. HDFS also has a support agreement with the Company whereby, if required, the Company agrees to provide financial support in the form of advances and/or loans. Please refer to the section titled “Liquidity and Capital Resources as of December 31, 2009” within Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further discussion.
Competition – The Company regards its ability to offer a package of wholesale and retail financial services in the U.S. and Canada as a significant competitive advantage. Competitors in the financial services industry compete for business based largely on price and, to a lesser extent, service. HDFS competes based on convenience, service, brand association, dealer relations, industry experience, terms and price.
In the United States, HDFS financed 48.8% of the new Harley-Davidson motorcycles retailed by independent dealers during 2009, as compared to 53.5% in 2008. In Canada, HDFS financed 33.2% of the new Harley-Davidson motorcycles retailed by independent dealers during 2009, as compared to 35.6% in 2008. Competitors for retail motorcycle finance business are primarily banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. In the motorcycle insurance business, competition primarily comes from national insurance companies and from insurance agencies serving local or regional markets. For insurance-related products such as extended service contracts, HDFS faces competition from certain regional and national industry participants as well as dealer in-house programs.
Competition for the wholesale motorcycle finance business primarily consists of banks and other financial institutions providing wholesale financing to Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle dealers in their local markets.
Trademarks – HDFS uses various trademarks and trade names for its financial services and products which are licensed from H-D Michigan, LLC, including HARLEY-DAVIDSON, H-D and the Bar & Shield logo.
Seasonality – In the U.S. and Canada, motorcycles are primarily used during warmer months. Accordingly, HDFS experiences seasonal variations. In general, from mid-March through August, retail financing volume increases while wholesale financing volume decreases as dealer inventories decline. From September through mid-March, there is generally a decrease in retail financing volume while dealer inventories generally build and turn over more slowly, substantially increasing wholesale finance receivables.
Regulation – The operations of HDFS (both U.S. and foreign) are subject, in certain instances, to supervision and regulation by state and federal administrative agencies and various foreign governmental authorities. Many of the statutory and regulatory requirements imposed by such entities are in place to provide consumer protection as it pertains to the selling of financial products and services. Therefore, operations may be subject to various regulations, laws and judicial and/or administrative decisions imposing requirements and restrictions, which among other things: (1) regulate credit granting activities, including establishing licensing requirements, in applicable jurisdictions; (2) establish maximum interest rates, finance charges and other charges; (3) regulate customers’ insurance coverage; (4) require disclosure of credit and insurance terms to customers; (5) govern secured transactions; (6) set collection, foreclosure, repossession and claims handling procedures and other trade practices; (7) prohibit discrimination in the extension of credit and administration of loans; (8) regulate the use and reporting of information related to a borrower; (9) require certain periodic reporting; (10) govern the use and protection of non-public personal information; and/or (11) regulate insurance solicitation and sales practices.
Depending on the provisions of the applicable laws and regulations, the interpretation of laws and regulations and the specific facts and circumstances involved, violations of or non-compliance with these laws may limit the ability of HDFS to collect all or part of the principal or interest on applicable loans, may entitle the borrower to rescind the loan or to obtain a refund of amounts previously paid, could subject HDFS to the payment of damages or penalties and administrative sanctions, including “cease and desist” orders, and could limit the number of loans eligible for HDFS securitization programs.
Such regulatory requirements and associated supervision could limit the discretion of HDFS in operating its business. Noncompliance with applicable statutes or regulations could result in the suspension or revocation of any charter, license or registration at issue, as well as the imposition of civil fines, criminal penalties and administrative sanctions. The Company cannot assure that the applicable laws or regulations will not be amended or construed differently, that new laws and regulations will not be adopted or that interest rates charged by HDFS will not rise to maximum levels permitted by law, the effect of any of which could be to adversely affect the business of HDFS or its results of operations.
A subsidiary of HDFS, Eaglemark Savings Bank (ESB), is a Nevada state thrift chartered as an Industrial Loan Company (ILC). As such, the activities of this subsidiary are governed by federal regulations and State of Nevada banking laws and are subject to examination by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Nevada state bank examiners. ESB originates retail loans and sells the loans to a non-banking subsidiary of HDFS. This process allows HDFS to offer retail products with many common characteristics across the United States and to similarly service loans to U.S. retail customers.
Employees – As of December 31, 2009, the Financial Services segment had approximately 600 employees.