Harley-Davidson has announced its overall profit for the last three months of 2015 was significantly lower than for the same period of the previous year.
The company’s quarterly profit was reported as $42.2 million, down by 43% from $74.5 million for the final quarter of 2014.
The result, however, was better than most Wall St analysts expected.
“Unprecedented challenges” of the global economy and competitive pressures are being blamed for the decline.
Company President and CEO Matt Levatich said that “Without a doubt, it’s been one of the most competitive environments we have seen in years, particularly in the United States”.
“Much of it is driven by currency differences, and some of it by new products from competitors all around the world.”
Total worldwide sales of Harley-Davidsons dropped by less than 1% in the quarter, but sales in the United States fell by 3.4%.
The US is the manufacturer’s largest and traditionally strongest market.
The company says sales in the US have declined as the economy slowed in some states, and foreign competitors cut prices of their bikes to attract customers.
In other markets, growth has been strong.
Sales grew by 12.3% in Canada and 8.2% in the Asia Pacific region, and Harley-Davidson is currently the biggest seller of road bikes in Australia.
The company is optimistic it can improve sales in the coming year.
By looking to other markets and rationalising its product line it is hoping to attract a younger and more diverse customer base, including more women, to the brand.
It expects to ship between 269,000 and 274,000 motorcycles worldwide in 2016, an increase of approximately 1-3% on its 2015 shipments.
To help achieve that, Harley-Davidson also recently announced a 65% increase in its marketing budget for the year.