Harley sales rise – is the financial crisis over?

Increase of sales positive for the future of motorcycling

HARLEY-DAVIDSON'S sales have risen in the second quarter of 2011 – the first time they increased since way back in 2006.

The US firm has become something of a marker for the state of the American economy; people don't buy expensive toys when times are tough. But more people have bought Harleys both in America and worldwide in the last three months than in the same period of 2010. US sales rose an impressive 7.5 percent, and while things weren't quite so rosy elsewhere, overall Harley sales were still up by 5.6 percent.

The entire bike market in America is running slightly behind Harley-Davidson, but the market for all bikes over 651cc grew by 4.8 percent – again an encouraging sign after years of decline in both America and the rest of the western world.

Even if you don't care about the state of the motorcycle market or Harley-Davidson's fortunes, the news is significant. A rising market for large-capacity bikes in America means you can be sure some will start to revive mothballed big-bike projects or consider developing new machines – and after years of falling sales and dreary new models, any ray of sunshine is more than welcome.

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