Tariffs devastate Harley-Davidson profit in fourth quarter of 2018

Tariffs devastate Harley-Davidson profit in fourth quarter of 2018
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Harley-Davidson said on Tuesday that its earnings per share were essentially wiped out in the final quarter of 2018 after the company got caught up in President TrumpDonald John TrumpNYT publisher: US didn't step in to protect reporter from arrest in Egypt so paper turned to Ireland Trump instructed administration to withhold military aid for Ukraine days before call with president: report More Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine MORE's tariff war. 

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Harley-Davidson's profit, excluding tariff and restructuring costs, was 17 cents per share, falling short of analysts’ average estimate of 29 cents per share. 

On a generally accepted accounting principles basis, earnings per share were zero.


"Operating margin as a percent of revenue decreased in the quarter due to restructuring charges, incremental tariffs and higher recall costs," the company stated in a regulatory filing, according to Markets Insider.

Trump had in June tweeted his support for a boycott against Harley-Davidson after the motorcycle manufacturer vowed to move some of its production overseas to avoid new retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union.

The EU tariffs came in response to the president’s steep tariffs on steel and aluminum at the time.

Months later, Harley-Davidson reported its sales plunged 13 percent in the quarter between July and September, the steepest quarterly slide the company had seen in eight years.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. retail sales across the board dropped for an eighth consecutive quarter from October to December. 

Harley-Davidson has also reportedly been struggling to attract younger customers and is planning to sell cheaper bikes to expand its base.