Quick, what is worth more than the world’s largest automaker?
Answer: Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson, which has a market capitalization (shares outstanding multiplied by share price) of $17.4 billion (E13.4 billion) compared with $16.7 billion for General Motors.
On its face, a comparison of the two is ludicrous. Last year, GM built 28 times as many vehicles, booked 38 times more revenue and earned four times as much profit.
Why is Harley so popular? For starters, GM’s US market share has been shrinking since the 1950s, down to 24.5 percent in February. GM has $300 billion in debt – 155 percent of revenue – and just reported its largest quarterly loss since 1992.
By contrast, Harley revenue and profits have risen for 19 consecutive years.