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At a Glance


Strong brand recognition and customer loyalty

Employee discounts on Harley-Davidson motorcycles and merchandise


Recent layoffs and restructuring

Pressure to cut costs

The Bottom Line

Harley-Davidson is an iconic American brand, a strong company, and a unique place to work.

About Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Harley-Davidson is a major US motorcycle manufacturer that sells its bikes worldwide through a network of more than 1,400 dealers. The company offers heavyweight cruiser and touring models, sportbikes, and dual models that can be used on- and off-road. Its six families of motorcycles include Touring, Trike, Softail, H-D Street, Sportster, and its Customer Vehicle Operations (CVO) models. Harley-Davidson also sells attitude with its brand-name products, which include a line of riding gear and apparel (MotorClothes). Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) offers financing to dealers and consumers in the US and Canada. The US generates almost 70% of Harley's revenue.


Harley operates through two segments. Its core motorcycle manufacturing operations (HDMC) generates more than 85% of revenue each year, and Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) contributes the remainder.

HDMC includes motorcycles, parts and accessories, general merchandising, and licensing. Motorcycles include the cruiser models, which focus on styling and owner customization and touring models, which feature rider comfort and load capacity. It makes standard motorcycles; sportbikes, which incorporate racing technology, aerodynamic styling, and low handlebars; and dual models designed for use on public roads as well as for off-highway riding. HDMC's parts and accessories division offers replacement parts and mechanical and cosmetic accessories. The general merchandising division comprises Harley's MotorClothes apparel and riding gear, and the licensing division promotes the Harley-Davidson name by allowing its use on a wide range of products.

HDFS offers consumer loans and wholesale financing to dealers for the purchase of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. It also works with certain insurance companies to provide motorcycle insurance and protection products, including extended service contracts.

Geographic Reach

Harley-Davidson is based in Milwaukee, WI where it houses its corporate offices. Its manufacturing facilities are located in other cities in Wisconsin as well as in Pennsylvania and Missouri. Outside the US, Harley's manufacturing plants are in Thailand, Brazil, India, and Australia, with regional offices in England and Singapore. Harley also operates a product development center in Wauwatosa, WI.

The company generates about 70% of sales in the US. 

Sales and Marketing

Harley-Davidson's products are marketed to retail customers worldwide through digital channels, traditional promotions and advertising, and by experiential activities with independent distributors. To attract customers, the company participates in motorcycle rallies, special motorcycle events, races, music festivals, and sporting events. It also sponsors events and rides through Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) where it promotes Harley-Davidson products.

The company spends about $145 million on advertising annually.

Financial Performance

Harley-Davidson's revenue has remained static for the last several years, hovering around the $6 billion mark. The company's profits have tumbled 37% over the last five years, although the company saw a slight uptick in 2018.

Revenue in 2018 was $5.7 billion, a modest 1% increase compared with $5.6 billion in 2017 but still well below previous years' figures. However, operating income for the Motorcycles segment was down $184.4 million in 2018 due to lower wholesale motorcycle shipments and higher tariffs on European and Chinese exports. Dealer sales were also down more than 6% worldwide and US retail sales decreased by more than 10% as well. This was partially offset by higher operating income in the Financial Services segment—up by $15.9 million.

Net income increased 2% to $531.5 million in 2018 from $521.8 million in 2017. The provision for income taxes was lower by $186.9 million in 2018, but this was offset by $93.4 million in restructuring expenses.

Cash at the end of fiscal 2018 was $1.3 billion, an increase of $513.5 million from the prior year. Cash from operations contributed $1.2 billion to the coffers, while investing activities used $622.3 million, mainly for capital expenditures. Financing activities used another $14.8 million for loan payments and the company's stock repurchase program.


Some key points in Harley's long-term strategy include launching 100 new motorcycles by 2027, developing a broader customer base, and improving dealer performance. The company has also introduced a multi-year manufacturing optimization plan to reduce costs, which includes consolidating its assembly plant in Kansas City, MO to its York, PA plant and closing its wheel operations in Australia. 

In 2019, Harley introduced LiveWire, its first electric motorcycle, which it plans to begin selling during the second half of the year. The company is also developing a new middle-weight platform for adventure touring bikes, custom motorcycles, and streetfighter models.

To reach more customers in international markets, the company in 2018 opened more than 20 Harley-Davidson apparel stores throughout Asia and 55 new international dealerships worldwide. The company increased e-commerce sales by more than 30 percent in 2018 with its product debut on Amazon in the US and T-Mall in China. 

Harley is also working with its dealers to improve the customer experience and increase conversion to sales. It's establishing performance-oriented incentives and training for general managers and sales staff. It is also implementing more advanced analytics to generate targeted leads. With more consumers shopping online, the company aims to deliver an integrated in-store and online experience.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In early 2019, Harley-Davidson acquired StaCyc, maker of the EDRIVE electric-powered two-wheelers specifically designed for kids. The acquisition falls in line with Harley's plan to continue developing electric motorcycles. Harley already sells the StaCyc EDRIVE at about 30 of its dealerships. The company believes the StaCyc provides an introduction to motorcycling to the youngest riders.

Company Background

In 1903 William Harley and the Davidson brothers (Walter, William, and Arthur) of Milwaukee sold their first Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which essentially was a motor-assisted bicycle that required pedaling uphill. Demand was high, and most sold before leaving the factory. Six years later, the company debuted its trademark two-cylinder, V-twin engine. By 1913 it had 150 competitors; however, Harley-Davidson was only one of two motorcycle companies to survive the Great Depression (the other being Indian).

During WW II, Harley manufactured more than 90,000 motorcycles for the US military and its allies. The company first went public in 1965, but was purchased by members of its senior management team in 1981. The group took the company public again in 1986.

Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Milwaukee, WI 53208-2818
Phone: 1 (414) 342-4680

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: HOG
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
Chairman: Michael J. Cave
COO, Harley-Davidson Motor Company: Michelle A. Kumbier
President and CEO: Matthew S. Levatich
Employees (This Location): 760
Employees (All Locations): 5,300

Major Office Locations

Milwaukee, WI

Other Locations

Yucca, AZ
Kansas City, MO
El Paso, TX
Plano, TX
Menomonee Falls, WI
Milwaukee, WI
Tomahawk, WI
Wauwatosa, WI
Milano, Italy
Akishima, Japan
Yokohama, Japan
Cajamar, Brazil
Manaus, Brazil
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Brackley, England