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Harley-Davidson Has Its First Loss in 16 Years

Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle maker, reported a fourth-quarter loss Friday, its first quarterly shortfall in 16 years, hurt by restructuring costs and the sluggish economy. Harley-Davidson has come under pressure over the last year as the tight credit markets and the weak economy led consumers to shun purchases of its high-end, heavyweight motorcycles. The company has been reorganizing its business through layoffs, factory closures and closing or selling unwanted brands. Harley said shipments of its bikes to dealers in 2009 fell 27 percent, to 223,023. For 2010, Harley said it expects shipments to fall another 5 to 10 percent to 201,000 to 212,000 motorcycles. Harley-Davidson said it lost $218.7 million, or 94 cents a share, during the fourth quarter. That marks its first three-month loss since the fourth quarter of 1993 and contrasts with a profit of $77.8 million, or 34 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue tumbled 40 percent, to $764.5 million from $1.28 billion a year ago.

Harley-Davidson Has Its First Loss in 16 Years