(Adds sales details for Harley-Davidson and Polaris Industries)
July 22 (Reuters) - Harley-Davidson Inc cut its full-year forecast for motorcycle shipments on Tuesday, citing weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales and a delay in getting its newest bike into dealer showrooms.
The new outlook, which came as the company reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings, sent Harley-Davidson shares down as much as 3.1 percent to $65 in premarket trading.
Milwaukee-based Harley said its quarterly profit rose to $354.2 million, or $1.62 a share, from $271.7 million, or $1.21 a share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected $1.46 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company cut its full-year shipment forecast, saying second-quarter sales had suffered from prolonged poor weather across parts of the United States and soft demand for its low-priced Sportster motorcycles.
Harley said it now expected to ship between 270,000 and 275,000 bikes to its worldwide network of independent dealers in 2014, down from a previous forecast of 279,000 to 284,000.
The low end of the new range translates into year-over-year worldwide shipment growth of just 3.5 percent.
The company attributed the weakness in Sportster sales to the anticipated introduction of the Street platform, its first all-new bike in more than a decade and its first Harley-badged foray into the lightweight market since the 1970s.
But those new bikes, which analysts say were supposed to begin appearing in dealer showrooms in May, did not begin to arrive until late June, Harley said. It did not explain why the bike was delayed.
The company said its worldwide network of independent dealers had sold 90,218 new motorcycles in the second quarter, virtually unchanged from a year earlier.
In the United States, dealers sold 58,225 motorcycles in the quarter, down a hair from 58,241 a year earlier.
The headwinds Harley-Davidson faced during the quarter did not appear to affect rival motorcycle maker Polaris Industries Inc, which also reported higher earnings on Tuesday but raised its full-year forecast.
The Minneapolis-based company, whose brands include Indian and Victory, said its worldwide bike sales jumped 107 percent to $103.1 million in the second quarter.
(Additional reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani; Editing by Franklin Paul and Lisa Von Ahn)