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Archive for January 23rd, 2009

harley_heavenAdding fuel to the “burned out” leisure vehicle market was today’s earnings report from Harley-Davidson.

The company announced the cut of 1100 jobs and that Q4 profits fell 58% to $77.8M.  Revenue fell 6.8% to $1.29B from $1.39B in the year ago quarter.  Worldwide sales fell 13.1% in Q4 with sales in the U.S. market (it’s biggest) falling nearly 20%.  However, International sales did creeped up 0.7%.  For the full year, worldwide retail sales fell 7.1%.

Just the numbers (Q4):

  1. Revenue from motorcycles only was $1.02B (a decrease of $95.4M)
  2. Total shipments of motorcycles totaled 76,581 units (down 4,625 units)
  3. Revenue from Parts and Accessories totaled $152.1 million (down by $13.1M)
  4. Revenue from General Merchandise, (apparel etc.) totaled $69.0M (declined $4.4 million)

Harley is slicing even further new motorcycle production this year to somewhere between 264,000-273,000 to adjust to the down market.  In 2008 Harley shipped more than 303,479 motorcycles — down 8% from the 330,619 shipped in 2007.

The companies new three-part strategy is: A). to invest in the Harley-Davidson brand, B). get the company cost-structure right, and C). obtain funding for HDFS to help our dealers sell motorcycles and retail customers to buy them.  The company also plans consolidate engine and transmission plants as well paint and frame operations.  They will also close distribution facilities and discontinue domestic transportation fleet operations which will now be outsourced.

The HDFS financial arm is really struggling.  They finance more than half of the company motorcycle sales and had to write down $63M as a result of credit losses which led to a $25M operating loss in the 4th quarter alone. 

The only bright spot I could find was that the General Merchandise (apparel etc.) revenue increased 2.8% for the year to $313.8M compared to $305.4 in 2007.  I suppose people like Harley’s logo and if they can’t buy a high-priced luxury “ride” then wearing one is the next best thing?

Photo courtesy Flickr.

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police_bikeAs you may recall the situation happened at the Roadhouse bar with four off duty, out-of-state law enforcement officers and a firefighter, all members of the Iron Pigs – a police motorcycle club – who get into a heated confrontation with some Hells Angels members on the last day of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  The confrontation ends when Ron Smith pulls his Glock 23 and shoots Joseph McGuire a HAMC member.

I blogged about the incident and posted several updates HERE, HERE and HERE.

Many readers weighed in with comments between support of the police to those who where very distrustful.  Some comments became derisive after the South Dakota court threw out the assault and weapons charges and then later dismissed all the indictments.

Recently Charles Remsberg, an author of three best-selling law enforcement training textbooks, and contributor to the PoliceOne site has posted an interesting “Behind The Scenes” recap of the shooting.  Part 2 of the report is HERE.  His report provides deeper insight into the minutes leading up to the shooting, the psyche of the various folks involved, the injuries and a bit of the grand jury transcript.  Granted Mr. Remsberg writes from a LEO point of view, but does so after nearly three decades of work where he earned the prestigious O.W. Wilson Award for outstanding contributions to law enforcement and the American Police Hall of Fame Honor Award for distinguished achievement in public service.

To be fair, and after reading Remsberg’s report some of my initial implications were inaccurate.  However, I do think my overall assessment was correct, at least based on the information that was released at the time.

At any rate check out the good report and you be the judge.

UPDATED: January 28, 2009 – Part 2 of the report HERE.

UPDATED: February 25, 2009 – In a plea agreement Joseph McGuire (HAMC) pleads no contest to simple assault (versus aggravated assault) and was sentenced to one year in the Meade County Jail.  According to Rapid City Journal, McGuire’s sentence was suspended as long as he does not break the law.  No fines were imposed, but he can not attend this years rally.

UPDATED: May 7, 2010 – Detective Ronald Smith has filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department.  Even though all charges were dropped the suit alleges the department disparaged him and negligently provided false information that led to his indictment on a perjury charge.  This was an embarrassment and the lawsuit contends his reputation was harmed.

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