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Harley-Davidson reports lower than expected Q4 profit

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MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Harley-Davidson said its fourth quarter profit was slightly less than what Wall Street analysts expected.

The Milwaukee motorcycle legend reports a net income of $70.6 million from October through December, down from almost $106 million in the same quarter the previous year.

Earnings totaled 31 cents a share, a penny less than what outside analysts from Thomson-Reuters had projected.

Harley’s motorcycle sales rose 7.5 percent from the final quarter of 2011 – and they rose by just over 6 percent for all of 2012. But the company’s total revenues were down by 1.5 percent.

Harley said it’s almost finished with a major restructuring of its manufacturing operations. The move is tied to a new system which better matches motorcycle production with changing consumer demands throughout the year.

The system is just about to go into effect. Reports say it has eliminated hundreds of jobs, but Harley said it has also lowered costs – and it will eventually provide better service to Harley dealers and their customers. 

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