Harley Layoffs

October 19, 2016

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Harley Layoffs

Harley-Davidson announced yesterday that it will layoff 295 workers between now and Christmas. Two hundred twenty-five of them are salaried employees. Seventy are so-called contract employees. The company declined to say which Harley plants will be affected.

In August, multiple news sources reported that the York, Pennsylvania plant will lose 117 jobs and about 35 people will lose their jobs at the plant in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Additional layoffs are expected at the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin engine plant. In 2009, the York plant employed about 2,000 workers. The plant now has 1,010 full-time employees.

The company also has assembly plants in Manaus, Brazil and Bawal, India.

Soft Sales

The Motor Company said that “soft sales” and “pressure from competitors” including Japanese motorcycle makers and Polaris Industries’ Victory and Indian motorcycle brands contributed to the layoffs. Harley had a gross profit of $114 million for the third quarter of 2016 on gross revenue of $1,27 billion for a profit margin of about nine percent. That profit was $26 million less than the company made during the same quarter last year. The company earned 64 cents per share of stock during the last quarter. Last year it was a nickel more per share.

Harley boss of all bosses Matt Levatich said, “We continue to effectively navigate a fiercely competitive environment and an ongoing weak U.S. industry.”

Simultaneously, the company bragged that its new Milwaukee-Eight engine was spurring sales. The company announced the new generation of engines last month. The company last launched a new engine in 1998 when it introduced the Twin Cam engine. The company plans to ship at least 264,000 motorcycles this year.

Wall Street loves layoffs. The company’s stock rose $4.49 yesterday to $54.19. Financial analysts credit Harley-Davidson’s aggressive “streamlining” of its manufacturing for a 19 percent rise in the price of Harley-Davidson stock this year. During the same period the value of the Standard & Poor’s 500, a well known index of the overall value of American companies, rose just 4.7 percent.

Until recently, Harley-Davidson was frequently cited as a paragon of American manufacturing.


25 Responses to “Harley Layoffs”

  1. Dustlawyer Says:

    Maybe if HD was loyal to bike clubs they wouldn’t be in this mess! They refuse to get involved in Waco even though cops shut down the HD dealership for a few days after. The dealership was threatened with losing their franchise by HD if they even spoke about what happened.

    As far as the battle against motorcycle profiling goes, once again they take no position. They want our money and loyalty, but it is only a one-way street. They do not have our back so why should we care?

  2. russell1946 Says:



    Slammed down a few Buds with Noggin at the Cheyenne last Saturday.

    Can’t think of a better way to celebrate 70.

    Keep chin in wind, knees in breeze.

    ML&R back atcha.

  3. bcnasty Says:

    @ russell1946, man, sorry just looked at this and seen I missed your birthday. Happy birthday fearless fossil. May the road of life has us meet up yearly.

  4. Smitty1961 Says:

    Hell, that’s a decent looking bobber for a factory effort. I bought a Victory Highball after my HD got rear ended and am planning to do some work on it to get a similar look. I’ve had the bike for a year and enjoy riding it. Now that the FLHT is back working, I jump on a different bike every other day to keep them both from getting dusty. Victory doesn’t have the sound, but they’re good bikes IMO.

  5. russell1946 Says:


    Guess I got lucky.

    After hearing horror stories about the chain tensioners, I had the S&S cam drive installed on my ’06 FXST at 34,000 miles.

    A wrench I’ve known for over 30 years does my 5k service by the book.

    So far, so good… with over 56,000 miles on the odometer. And I’m a happy camper who turns 70 years old tomorrow.

    Promised my grandson he can have my bike the first time I forget to put my feet down at a red light.

    Running solo on a 400 miler next weekend.

    Look forward to seeing you down the road again.

  6. bcnasty Says:

    @TX_Biker, me personally I bash them because over the years I have had shit. Many year ago I rode flatties loved the quad cam set up replace a few bushing and they run forever when Harley first put a twin Cam in a Dyna wide glide my ole lady wanted one and I bought it . Bike rode sweet compared to my rigid flattie so we decided to take it from then Boston to Daytona. I lost the cams in Daytona and the Daytona Harley folks would not honor the warranty because it was not bought there. When I got it back home I traded a brother for an FXD. I have had early 84 85 Evo’s and later 1998 Evos that I truly Loved. My shovel will never be sold and has already been promises to my second grandson. The rigid Iron head is promised to my oldest grand son. The twin Cam motor was Harleys I got you by the balls motor and they have never stopped screwing folks with them. That there is why I bash the factory and can not speak for others. My 2007, day one smelled like it was on fire and the pipes glowed red, bone stock. So pipes, air cleaner and learned how to work on fuel injection kicking and screaming. Them the oil sending switch quit, then the speedo quit then the compensator quit, then lost a bearing in the clutch. all of this with less than 34,000 miles when I sold it.

  7. bcnasty Says:

    I have owned many motorcycles over the years as I love working on them as much as riding. In 2003 I bought a E.G. Standard did some motor work for a guy in exchange for a house of color flame job and someone offered me way more than I had in the bike so she was gone . Bought an 2005 Softail and tore the motor out of it with less than 500 miles to balance and weld the crank because I wanted to run nitrous in it to smoke my two older sons that was then riding crotch rockets. Well one trip back from upper Michigan on the softail and I traded her in for a 2007 piece of shit E.G.Classic. Early model lots of major issues. Now I keep a 2004 Road Glide as my daily but own a 1979 rigid iornhead and a 1973 FLh that is in the process of a ground up restore. Both the 73 and the 79 have Fuck the Factory stickers on them because after the 2007 that is how I feel about Harley Davidson and their warranty and major stupid issues.

  8. Sieg Says:

    Here’s a radical thought…if HD wanted to re-engage tbeir base, and sell a helluva lot of bikes, all they have to do is dust off the prints for the 65 Pan and make 30-40k of them…and sell them at cost plus 10%
    FTF / FTP

  9. Sieg Says:

    Well, I’ve been on the same hog for just shy of forty years now, so I guess I won’t sweat it too much. Only thing i ever buy from them is oil.
    FTF / FTP

  10. Scooter Rick Says:

    Hey HD…something to keep in mind…remember the Americans you laid off to ship jobs overseas? Not only were they employees, they were also customers. Were, because they no longer have jobs. And do you remember how you treated the long time fan base after the SOA sales boost kicked in? Remember making us wait extra long for shit? Remember all the hoops you made us jump through while you smiled? Funny how some shit comes back to haunt you. If you want my business, you have some making up to do or else I will ride my Harley till the wheels fall off and never buy another thing from you.

  11. Whitepride Says:

    The company needs to get back to their roots and remember who has constantly supported them through the years and stayed loyal through all their ups and downs!

  12. Mike 184 Says:

    I think it was last year or the year before that they pulled the plug on AHRDA too…… I was talking about it Last weekend at the drags. When I was growing up that’s where the influence and the innovations were coming from. Plus damn it’s cool to see someone ride a grenade (wearing a bulletproof vest) down the track at 200-230mph.

    Profits over loyalty. Thats the corporate way. I feel like the last biker has left the company.

  13. WheresMyBoots Says:

    The ex-OL bought me a nice leather HD keychain 4 years ago, in BIG caps on the back: MADE IN CHINA. I’d bet tees and hats… There’s the big profits and job market. Xia xia MoCo (thank you in Mandarin, but you execs know that don’t you. ;)

  14. ipsick Says:

    Good time to sell off my Harley stock…….

  15. TX_Biker Says:

    I have always had Harley’s. Only once in 1998 did I purchase one new. Most of my bikes have been from one owner, that thought it would be cool to own one and either got scared or lost interest in riding. So I have never paid a lot for a bike. Harley’s are not for the faint of heart or those that are not either mechanically inclined or have enough disposable income to afford upkeep. I can understand why some would look to the other great options in bikes out there. Victory, Indian* both Polaris made bikes are showing up more and more among the guys I ride with. What I don’t get is this fascination with bashing Harley Davidson. The company has gone through a lot over the years but it is the only American motorcycle company that has survived since before both world wars, the depression, and many ups and downs in between. I can’t say anything bad about metric bikes or other American made bikes as I have never owned one.

  16. puterindabasketchief Says:

    I have no love lost for the MoFoCo, but I hate to see any American lose his or her livelihood.

    You want to bet Levatich still gets his annual multi-million dollar bonus? Guess that $75 million more he spent in 2016 on advertising–instead of engineers and QC–didn’t pay off like he’d planned.

  17. Chief Says:

    Polar is steadily taking a chunk of that business.

  18. Paladin Says:

    You reap what you sow.


  19. Bolo Says:

    Did they lay off anyone at their India factory? Probably not.

  20. Brad H Says:

    @ Sieg:

    The company I work for operates on a 1 to 3% profit margin so they can stay competitive in our field. The best year I can remember for my bosses, they hit an incredible 4.5% profit. I’ve worked for these folks for 15 years. Even though I have been offered jobs with better pay, newer equipment and paid benefits, I feel loyalty towards them.

    These guys, unlike the greedy cocksuckers you so aptly described, have earned my trust. I can’t understand why a so called American institution like HD can’t figure out what you and I know instinctively.

    And, oh yeah, Fuck waco

  21. Wino Enzed Says:

    No more Vee Rod as of this month, they are popular here and a sports tourer model would of sold well but they were too scared of losing sales to it from their Rushmore bikes.Dumb !!
    HD seem to look for markets that are not there, too many hipsters with too much influence.

    Vindian people will rub their hands in glee but once the honeymoon period for them has worn off they will also be subject to a contracting market and an ageing customer base. The Forehead Motor will get some sales back but they need to be in the Dynas and Softails quick.
    Also HD, you need to four valve the sporty motor so as to put that ugly cheap looking scout in it’s place. (only a personal opinion)

  22. Krobar Says:

    Stop pricing bikes for the upper middle class weekend riders and price them so the rest of us can afford a new bike All the other bike companys can…

  23. Sieg Says:

    They get it back down to 30-50k bikes per year, they might almost be worth what they charge for them.

    Don’t know about other plants, but Tomahawk, both plants, uses almost all “contract workers”, or temps. They pay $10-$14 an hour, no benefits, and use them only for part of a year…wouldn’t touch it, myself, but that’s better than most regular full-time work up here.

    Bottom line? It’s not that they are unprofitable, just that their profit isn’t big enough…greedy cocksuckers.

    FTF / FTP

  24. R&R Says:

    Have a friend who traded up for a Milwaukee-Eight Road Glide. This was last month and the dealer can’t get the bike in before Dec. 5th or so. Think the MoCo is making it easy for customers to walk across the road to an Indian or Victory shop so they’d have something this week, not 2 months down the road. Wall Street can love ’em but riders are getting fed up.

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