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Harley-Davidson Fourth-Quarter Income Plunges 94%

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Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc. saw its net income in last year’s fourth quarter plummet to $495,000 from $8.3 million in the 2017.

Wholesales in October-December fell 9% to 43,500 bikes. Retail sales fell 7%. Revenue from motorcycle sales dropped 9% to $956 million. Operating income skidded to $3.7 million from $99.2 million.

Harley-Davidson blames the slump on the cost of restructuring its manufacturing operations, a rise in recall expenses and the impact of import tariffs imposed by Europe and China in response to new U.S. import taxes.

The company says incremental tariffs on its products cost $24 million last year, including $13 million in the fourth quarter.

For the full year, Harley-Davidson’s revenue advanced 1% to $4.97 billion, even though unit sales dropped 6% to 228,100 bikes. Net income rose 2% to $531 million. The company predicts unit sales this year will drop 3%-5%.

Longer term, Harley believes 100 new models and 50% growth overseas by 2027 will boost results. The company says it attracted 52,000 new riders in 2018 and aims to find nearly 2 million more worldwide within 10 years.

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