News / USA

Demand Kick-Starts Hope at Iconic Motorcycle Maker

Customers admire and look at the new Harley-Davidson motorcycles at the Hall's Harley Davidson dealership in Springfield, Ill. Harley-Davidson's second-quarter profit more than doubled as it posted its first U.S. sales increase since 2006, (File)
Customers admire and look at the new Harley-Davidson motorcycles at the Hall's Harley Davidson dealership in Springfield, Ill. Harley-Davidson's second-quarter profit more than doubled as it posted its first U.S. sales increase since 2006, (File)

One of the best-known brands in motorcycles is turning around its fortunes.

U.S.-based Harley-Davidson reported increased sales Tuesday for the first time in five years, citing higher demand both in the U.S. and around the world.

The iconic American motorcycle company is famous for creating a unique, tough-guy subculture that spawned legions of fans, but had struggled in recent years due to the recession.  Just two years ago, the company laid off about 11 percent of its workforce to save money after profits plunged by nearly 60 percent.

Harley-Davidson Tuesday said its new strategy - with a greater focus on worldwide sales - helped double profits for the three-month period ending in June, compared to the same time last year.

Officials said second quarter profits totaled almost $191 million, with U.S. sales up 7.5 percent and global sales up 5.6 percent.

The company also boosted its forecast for the rest of year, saying it now expects to ship about 230,000 new motorcycles worldwide.  That would be an 8 to 12 percent increase over 2010 levels.

Harleys - also called Hogs by their fans - cost anywhere from $7,000 to more than $35,000 each.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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