Harley-Davidson said today that 2007 profits would come in 4% to 6% lower than last year because of a sharp slowdown in August retail sales.

The outlook cut comes as the US economy faces tightening credit markets, a housing slump and employment worries.

Harley said the general uncertainty seemed to be prompting consumers to hold off on purchases like its high-end motorcycles, which can cost upward of $20,000 for top-of-the-line models.

The company said it expected 2008 earnings to rise by 4 percent to 7 percent and withdrew its 2009 outlook.
In July, it had forecast growth of 11% to 17% for the two-year period.

'We entered August, and there was a sharp decline in retail sales,' Chief Executive Jim Ziemer said.
While declining to provide a specific number, Ziemer described the percentage drop as 'double-digit.'