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Harley-Davidson earnings rise amid lower worldwide sales

By , - Last modified: April 25, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Harley-Davidson Inc. has begun 2013 by increasing quarterly earnings by more than a third on higher shipments and efficiencies even as worldwide sales fell.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker, with a factory site in York County, reported today first-quarter net income of about $224 million, or 99 cents per diluted share, compared with about $172 million, or 74 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period.

The company also said it launched “seasonal surge production” in York County in the first quarter as the latest example of its efficiency and market-responsiveness efforts, according to a news release.

The move essentially is a ramping up of production to make more motorcycles right before prime riding season, said Bernadette Lauer, communications manager for the local operations.

It includes bringing on casual workers to help meet the demand, she said.

The Springettsbury Township operations became a leading edge of companywide restructuring activities when Harley decided a few years ago to stay in the midstate instead of moving to Kentucky.

Dealer sales worldwide in the first quarter were 54,254 new motorcycles compared with 59,677 in the quarter last year, the release stated.

The U.S. component was down 12.7 percent compared with the period last year, when abnormally warm early spring weather is believed to have benefited Harley by accelerating sales, according to the release.

The international side dipped slightly by a few hundred motorcycles, according to the release. The Asia Pacific and Latin America regions saw gains while other regions were down. Shares of Harley-Davidson are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HOG.

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