On the Call: Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell

AP News
Posted: Jul 19, 2011 3:51 PM
On the Call: Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell

Harley-Davidson Inc.'s second quarter profit more than doubled on a jump in U.S. demand for bikes. Domestic new bike sales grew 7.5 percent and marked Harley's first increase in U.S. retail sales since 2006.

The sales jump depleted what were already low dealer inventories. The company has said they plan to build them back up to some extent, but one analyst asked if the company would consider raising them to even higher levels if sales continued to grow.

CEO Keith Wandell addressed the issue.

QUESTION: You had nice acceleration in retail sales during the second quarter, is there any plan to change your targets of slightly increasing dealer levels, maybe a little bit more to accommodate if the growth continues?

ANSWER: This is consistent with one of the things that we've been saying now for quite some time and that is, we're really focused on managing our supply in line with demand. And so, this is something that we look at on a daily basis. But more importantly, as we get through our manufacturing transformation, one of the important things to note is that we'll then have the flexibility to be able to flex up and down much more quickly as these demand patterns and or seasonal patterns occur.