Harley-Davidson Brings Back the Sports Glide After 25 Years

05:36 12/14/2017

Probably no single motorcycle model can reverse Harley-Davidson 's HOG  sliding sales -- not even the iconic Sports Glide, returning to the company's lineup after a 25-year absence. While it does have the potential to bring in some additional sales, as it gives riders a big bike feel while still being sporty enough to have fun with, there remain hurdles that may be too high for the company to surmount.

When Harley-Davidson killed off the Dyna this past summer by folding it into the Softail line, it was an indication that the company felt that having a single platform that could perform multiple functions was the way to grow sales. The Sport Glide fits neatly into that dynamic.

First introduced in 1982, the Sport Glide was the offspring of the Super Glide, but featured a frame-mounted fairing, hard saddlebags, and a powerful V4 engine that was originally produced for Harley's Project Nova -- concept bikes to be built around various muscular engine configurations. Unfortunately, the full potential of the project was never realized as funding was cut for it after AMF, which initiated the project, ultimately decided it would not be profitable and cut funding for it.

At the time, Dynas were fast becoming a key facet of the Harley image, and the Sport Glide was seen as expendable. It was discontinued in 1993.

A second chance at life:

The new iteration of the Sport Glide being built on the reinvented Softail frame looks to be filling the Dyna's void, blending a suitability for both touring and cruising into a single good-looking bike.

The Sport Glide is dark and foreboding, from its blacked out Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine (pushing 108 pound-feet of torque) to the black mufflers, yet it looks like its also ready for ripping around town with its new, low-slung mini-fairing (designed to deflect wind around the body), and detachable rigid bags.

The Sport Glide has inverted front forks, and features the Softail's new rear monoshock suspension, which connects the swingarm to the frame beneath the seat and allows riders to customize the fit. The bike also has all the gee-whiz technological amenities common to most bikes these days, like keyless ignition, cruise control, and LED lights everywhere.

Importantly, it's low-slung enough with a seat height under 26 inches and forward-mounted foot controls positioned for smaller riders. It's clear the Sport Glide is designed for what Harley hopes will be its new, winning demographic.

Today's average rider is younger, more often urban, and more likely to be a woman, and the budget-busting price tags of Harley touring bikes have left it scrambling to attract those customers to its brand. To achieve its stated goal of bringing 2 million new riders to Harley-Davidson and the sport, the company has an ambitious plan to develop 100 new models over the next 10 years. The Sport Glide is the ninth such new bike introduced, and it ticks off a lot of the boxes to help it appeal to its new target demographics.

Harley-Davidson's problem these days is, of course, a dearth of middle-aged male riders buying big bikes. Sales hit a five-year low last year, and over the first nine months of 2017, U.S. sales were down another 8% year over year.

While the Sport Glide is a start, it may not be enough. Starting at just under $18,600 it's still expensive. It sits a good $4,000 above the Street Bob, the least expensive bike in the Softail lineup, and right beside the most expensive ones, like the Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, and Breakout. It is, however, priced well below the touring bikes and CVOs with which it shares some styling lines.

Harley-Davidson has problems no single bike can fix -- nor can 100 of them, for that matter. The Sport Glide certainly looks like a worthy successor to the Dyna and offers a blend of speed and style that can be attractive. But it appears Harley is continuing to indulge its penchant for pricing itself out of a declining market. That suggests the company won't be turning around anytime soon.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. Ex-Dividend Date Scheduled for December 14, 2017

Harley-Davidson, Inc. HOG  will begin trading ex-dividend on December 14, 2017. A cash dividend payment of $0.365 per share is scheduled to be paid on December 29, 2017. Shareholders who purchased HOG prior to the ex-dividend date are eligible for the cash dividend payment. This marks the 4th quarter that HOG has paid the same dividend. At the current stock price of $51.02, the dividend yield is 2.86%.

The previous trading day's last sale of HOG was $51.02, representing a -19.53% decrease from the 52 week high of $63.40 and a 14.6% increase over the 52 week low of $44.52.

HOG is a part of the Consumer Non-Durables sector, which includes companies such as LKQ Corporation ( LKQ ) and Fox Factory Holding Corp. ( FOXF ). HOG's current earnings per share, an indicator of a company's profitability, is $3.2. Zacks Investment Research reports HOG's forecasted earnings growth in 2017 as -10.47%, compared to an industry average of 4%.

Investors of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a dividend of $0.365 per share on Friday, December 29th. This represents a $1.46 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.92%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th.

Harley-Davidson Inc HOG  posted its last quarterly earnings data on October, 17th. The company reported $0.40 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters' consensus estimate of $0.40. The company had revenue of $962.10 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $959.41 million. Harley-Davidson had a return on equity of 28.69% and a net margin of 11.68%. The business's revenue for the quarter was down 11.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.64 EPS.

Harley-Davidson is scheduled to release their next quarterly earnings announcement on Monday, January, 29th 2018.

19 brokers have issued 1-year target prices for Harley-Davidson's stock. Their predictions range from $45.00 to $68.00. On average, they anticipate Harley-Davidson's stock price to reach $53.13 in the next year.

Harley-Davidson has a market capitalization of $8.59 billion and generates $5.27 billion in revenue each year. The company earns $692.16 million in net income (profit) each year or $3.20 on an earnings per share basis. Harley-Davidson employs 5,400 workers across the globe.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company for the groups of companies doing business as Harley-Davidson Motor Company (HDMC) and Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS). The Company operates in two segments: the Motorcycles & Related Products (Motorcycles) and the Financial Services. The Motorcycles segment consists of HDMC, which designs, manufactures and sells at wholesale on-road Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as well as motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise and related services. The Company manufactures and sells at wholesale cruiser and touring motorcycles. The Financial Services segment consists of HDFS, which provides wholesale and retail financing and insurance-related programs to the Harley-Davidson dealers and their retail customers. HDFS is engaged in the business of financing and servicing wholesale inventory receivables and retail consumer loans for the purchase of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

This article has been provided by a Chasing Markets contributor. All content submitted by this author represent their personal opinions, and should be considered as such for entertainment purpose only. All opinions expressed are those of the writer, and may not necessarily represent fact, opinions, or bias of Chasing Markets.
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