Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kass: Harley Hogs Feed at the Subprime Trough

kass makes a very good point and this is just one more example how widespread the addiction of debt is especially in the us. anybody (including bernanke....) who thinks that the housing subprime mess is an isolated event that won´t infect other sectors will be in for a nasty surprise.

kass trifft es mal wider auf den punkt. harley ist nur einbeispiel von vielen das zeigt wie weit speziell das us wirtschhftswesen mit der versorgung von immer mehr krediten verwoben ist. jeder (schließe da bernanke mit ein) der meint das die subprimeprobleme im immobiliensektor isoliert bleiben wird wohl noch ne weniger schöne überraschung erleben.

Judging by the commentary and the virtual invulnerability of worldwide equity prices, most see only a speed bump in the recent subprime scare. There is still a general belief on the part of the investment community that the mess is a containable fluke.

thanks to

I have stressed the likelihood of a subprime contagion. After all, subprime is subprime and credit is correlated. Lower-quality, more-levered lending (with less collateral) is not confined to consumer loans, credit cards, homes, recreational vehicles and autos -- as investors might soon find out.

Even motorcycle (loans) are hitting potholes!

Indeed, it appears growing credit losses and delinquencies are beginning to render Harley-Davidson's motorcycle loans, well, increasingly like hogs.

Thirty-day delinquencies (and loss trends) in Harley-Davidson's receivables book offer a clear picture that credit-quality issues are broadening as HOG's receivables experience has begun to trace a pattern of deterioration that we first began to see in subprime mortgage loans during the first half of 2006
Harley-Davidson's 30-Day Delinquencies

As I have mentioned previously, Harley's finance subsidiary (HDFS) funded almost half of Harley-Davidson's motorcycle loans. Like subprime mortgage loans, HDFS' hog loans are pooled and securitized to institutional buyers. Unfortunately -- in credit trends and terms -- HDFS is also beginning to look more and more like New Century ......
In 2006-07, 28% of HDFS loans in its securitized pools had FICO scores below 650, which is considered subprime, which is very close to the 21% subprime market share of total mortgage loans made the previous year.

During the company's investor day on Feb. 28, Harley acknowledged that several of the securitization pools had breached their credit-quality metrics -- like subprime, the most recent pools' credit losses and delinquencies are rising faster than expected and more rapidly than earlier pools.

This is beginning to force Harley-Davidson to fund additional cushion reserves in the triggered securitization pools, much in the same way subprime mortgage originators have had to buy back bad loans. This takes a hefty bite out of HDFS' profitability by reducing its net interest margin.

Should the recent trend of rising credit losses and delinquencies in Harley-Davidson's loan-receivable book and in the securitization pools of their financial subsidiary (HDFS) continue, tighter lending practices likely will be instituted, and institutional buyers will be less receptive to buying HDFS' securitized pools. This could serve to reduce Harley-Davidson's sales growth and profitability.
> surprisingly harley has almost performed as bad as countrywide.....
> es ist wirklich erstaunlich das das harley fast so schlecht wie countrywider (der größte us hypothekenfinanzierer abschneidet )

Sound familiar?
It is beginning to look like the motorcycle lending markets are no longer "born to be wild." And, not surprisingly, I am still short Harley-Davidson.

More importantly, the fungus of subprime is beginning to spread into asset classes other than housing and mortgages. Don't believe for a moment that Harley-Davidson's dealers or the parent company were any less reluctant than the mortgage brokers to serve up loans for their product.

And last time I looked, a motorcycle is a discretionary item that is far less secure and stable than a home.

disclosure: short cfc and since visiting the "harley days" in hamburg a big harley fan

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