With Covid-19 spreading and much of the world under movement control, Harley-Davidson (H-D) reported a 17.7% drop in motorcycles sales worldwide for the first quarter of 2020. This translates to 40,439 units sold compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, shipments of H-D motorcycles also saw a drop of 10% to 52,973 units against the 58,270 of 2019’s first third of the year. For its US home market, H-D reported sales dropped 15.5% this quarter compared to a year ago while overall international sales fell 20.7%.

Share earnings have also dropped for H-D stock, with the Board of Directors approving a significantly lower cash dividend of USd 0.02 cents per share, compared to the USD 0.38 cents per share of last year. H-D is planning on reducing capital spending across its worldwide operations for 2020, including including a hiring freeze, temporarily reducing salaries and eliminating merit increases for employees.

H-D expects these measures, along with aggressive cost management in other parts of the organisation, to save an estimated USD 250 million (RM1.09 billion) in cash. Manufacturing operations for H-D in the US has resumed at some plants and ease work at home restrictions will gradually be eased, depending on the state.

The sales drop for the first quarter of 2020 follows a consecutive decline in the fourth quarter of 2019, when H-D reported 8.5% lower sales, or 40,454 motorcycles sold in the US. This led to the resignation of CEO Matthew Levatich, following a financial report of a 5.2% drop in US sales and an overall 4.3% shortfall worldwide in 2019.