The Harley-Davidson motorcycle is now a middle-aged nostalgia brand--the median age of its buyers has leaped from 35 in 1987 to nearly 47 today. But it's riding higher than ever thanks to its
fanatical customer base. While half the company's sales are to new customers, the other half go to committed Harley riders whose loyalty won't fade. It is also popular with foreign fans, who see its
image as all-American in the best possible sense--meaning powerful and free.
Over the last two years, customers have warmed to 10 new models--out of 38 Harley models in all--and to regular
tweaks all across the line. Stock is at an all-time high. Third-quarter results, announced Oct. 12, roared past analysts' estimates--with net income climbing 18%, to $312.7 million, on a 14.3%
year-over-year rise in sales, to $1.64 billion. Annual sales could top $6 billion next year, says William Blair & Co. analyst Robert Simonson.
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