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Harley-Davidson sees 'challenging' 2010

January 22, 2010 |  4:33 pm

Harley-DavidsonNYHA102[1] Harley-Davidson reported its 2009 results today, and the news wasn’t shiny or chrome. Revenue  declined 23%, from $5.58 billion in 2008 to $4.29 billion last year, with even more radical declines in operating income and earnings per share, both of which were down nearly 90%.

The poor results from the 107-year-old, Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer were due to lower motorcycle shipments, restructuring of its production operations, non-cash charges related to Harley-Davidson Financial Services and exit costs associated with the termination of its Buell sport bike brand.

"2010 will continue to be a challenging year," Harley-Davidson Chief Executive Keith Wandell said in a statement.

How tough remains to be seen, but the company seems to be bracing for further sales declines. Retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles were down 22.7% in 2009 from 2008. For 2010, the company plans to ship 201,000 to 212,000 motorcycles, compared with 223,023 shipped in 2009 and 303,479 in 2008.

Harley-Davidson hopes some of those bikes will be its new Forty-Eight model, which was announced today, less than two hours after the company issued its bleak 2009 financial results.

The company's shares (ticker symbol: HOG) slumped $1.99, or 7.8%, to $23.59, the lowest since early October.

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Harley-Davidson