SOURCE: Rothman Research

Rothman Research

March 17, 2010 09:20 ET

Heavyweight Motorbikes, RVs -- Biting the Bullet: 2010 Scenario

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - March 17, 2010) - www.rothmanresearch.com - The automotive industry faced a downward trend due to the 2008-2010 crisis. The recession affected European and Asian automobile manufacturers, but it was primarily felt throughout the American automobile manufacturing industry. Canada being part of the Automotive Products Trade Agreement suffered the effect of the crunch as badly. To make matters worse, the automotive industry was weakened by a gradual increase in the prices of automotive fuels linked to the 2003-2008 energy crisis that thwarted purchases of sport utility vehicle and pickup trucks which have low fuel economy. Register for free at www.rothmanresearch.com to have a complete analyst in the consumer goods sector.

The popularity and relatively high profit margins of these vehicles had encouraged the American "Big Three" automakers, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, to make them their primary focus. With fewer fuel-efficient models to offer to consumers, sales began to slide. By 2008, the situation had turned critical as the credit crunch brought its toll on the prices of raw materials. Amidst this chaos can companies like Harley Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) and Thor Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO), which thrives in the recreational vehicles industry, continue to deliver the dream to their end-users? RothmanResearch.com analyst Mathew Collier studies the two companies evolution and performance in these difficult times, and investors can directly & freely download these reports by signing up now at http://www.rothmanresearch.com/article/hog/23324/Mar-17-2010.html or http://www.rothmanresearch.com/article/tho/23325/Mar-17-2010.html

At some point in time, auto makers will be forced to pass along to consumers a good portion of the rising regulatory costs for meeting more-stringent fuel-economy standards. The government's Consumer Price Index for new vehicles, which accounts for improvements in vehicle quality, shows that prices have generally remained stable or have slightly declined in recent years.

Currently, there are road shows, ride-in demos and many more events that show off heavyweight motorcycles and RVs or motor homes. These will attract huge crowds which many will hope to convert into buyers. Time has been particular hard for car and recreational vehicle industries and we have seen the trend in past years move away from purchase of new vehicles to upgrades of old vehicles. How will 2010 fare for the two giants of the recreational vehicles industry? Our analyst at www.rothmanresearch.com tries to answer this for you. 

*www.rothmanresearch.com is a source for investors seeking free information on the recreational vehicles industry; investors are encouraged to sign up for free at http://www.rothmanresearch.com/index.php?id=6&name=Register.

Weak consumer spending and tight credit markets created huge headwinds for Harley-Davidson in 2009. 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 Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company was already dealing with a number of significant challenges, including the aging of its key baby boomer customer base.

In a sign the Milwaukee-based company is trying to change direction, the company's earnings report coincided with the unveiling of a new bike at a major motorcycle show in New York. The motorcycle, called the ''Forty-Eight,'' features a sleek, all-black design and is aimed at younger riders. Elsewhere at Harley, the news has been less cheerful. Last month, it announced it would close one of its two factories in York, Pa., and lay off nearly half the unionized work force there of about 1,950.

Harley is also consolidating its vehicle test facilities from three locations in Alabama, Arizona and Florida to one site in Arizona.

Harley shipments of its bikes to dealers in 2009 fell 27 percent to 223,023. For 2010, Harley expected shipments to fall another 5 to 10 percent to between 201,000 and 212,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

One bright spot for Harley-Davidson has been its performance in international markets, where its brand has strong appeal. Last year, it announced plans to enter the fast-growing Indian motorcycle market and will introduce 12 models there this year.

If you are a shareholder of Harley-Davidson we suggest you sign up to Rothman Research and download their report from the following link http://www.rothmanresearch.com/article/hog/23324/Mar-17-2010.html

Thor Industries Inc. is the world's largest manufacturer of recreation vehicles and a major builder of commercial buses. There is little doubt that the first half of the year has been far better in fiscal 2010 than it was in 2009, as EPS of $.65 per share easily topped the loss of $.18 in the prior period. A quarter ago, Thor Industries returned to profitability in both RV's and bus product lines, but the biggest turnaround has been in RV's. RV sales in the quarter rose 150% to $335.8 million, which has completed a six month turnaround of $64 million in net income compared to the first half of last year. The company has seen a relatively strong rebound in demand for RV's, which in combination with generally stable costs has boosted results.
Moving forward, the company is returning to a more normal operating environment, and should see further normalization in the second half of the year.

Visit http://www.rothmanresearch.com/index.php?id=6&name=Register to see how these companies have grown over the past years.

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