Harley Closing Assembly Plant

January 30, 2018

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Harley Closing Assembly Plant

The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is in serious trouble. It announced this morning that it will close its Kansas City assembly plant and the people running the company appear to be fools.

The company has three other factories in the United States – in Menomonee Falls and Tomahawk, Wisconsin and York, Pennsylvania. Harley has assembly plants in Manaus, Brazil; Bawal, India; and Rayong, Thailand. The company also announced that it will close its wheel plant in Adelaide Australia and lay off 110 workers there.

About 800 workers will lose their jobs in Kansas City.

Harley Chief Executive Matt Levatich said “This decision was extremely difficult but necessary under the circumstances. I have profound respect for the women and men in that facility.” Levatich promised that eventually the York plant would eventually add about 450 jobs. “Nothing has changed in the sense of our commitment to U.S. manufacturing,” Levatich said.

Harley’s net income fell 82 percent (that is not a typo) in the last three months of 2017 compared to the last three months of the previous year. Worldwide motorcycle sales fell 6.7 percent. United States sales fell 8.5 percent.

Corporate Speak

In written statements and in a conference call Levatich sprayed journalists and stock holders with a fog of business babble.

“The decision to consolidate our final assembly plants was made after very careful consideration of our manufacturing footprint and the appropriate capacity given the current business environment. Our Kansas City assembly operations will leave a legacy of safety, quality, collaboration and manufacturing leadership.”

“Our efforts throughout 2017 were geared toward two key imperatives: first, achieving the right balance of new motorcycle quantity and mix at retail; and second, positioning the company’s cost structure to better compete in this new reality.”

“In addition, while we directed substantial energy toward addressing the current market conditions, we stayed grounded in our strategy and made good progress on our long-term objective to build riders globally.”

“During the first year of our 10-year journey, we established a foundation and made good initial progress on growing ridership. In the U.S., our disciplined supply management approach supported lean and model year mix appropriate year-end retail inventory. We also saw an improvement in used bike prices, a cornerstone of value for our riders and our dealers, who are such a key part of our business.”

“More importantly, with unwavering brand stewardship as our guide, we respected the premium Harley-Davidson has earned over 115 years, with pivotal moves like the launch of our all-new highly acclaimed Softail motorcycles, improved rider training conversion and expanded international reach. We continue to enhance the Harley-Davidson value proposition and not damage it by implementing shortsighted tactics.”

“Our second imperative in 2017 was bringing increased focus to our resource allocation and cost structure. Our efforts resulted in a $41 million reduction in Selling, General and Administrative Expenses and positioned us to better compete in today’s environment. We introduced our objectives and strategies to build riders last January and made excellent progress during the first year of execution. A year ago, we began our critical mindset and cultural shift at the company from we build motorcycles to we build riders.”

“We finished 2017 with over 32,000 more Harley-Davidson riders in the U.S. than one year ago, and we delivered another year of strong cash generation and cash returns to our shareholders.”

The price of the company’s stock fell seven percent Tuesday morning.


80 Responses to “Harley Closing Assembly Plant”

  1. ross prosen Says:

    go overseas and I am riding the last HD I will buy!!!!! f*%^ those f*%^& stains. lower your price to what is a good deal not a hosed up over priced POS . Abandon America and pay the price.turn on your fan base I will not forget. you barely survived the AMF story but the American people / riders and people that support Harley will not forget.

  2. Filburt Says:

    Levatich and Anook is driving Harley Davidson like it is the Titanic down down down…
    Take your electric experiment and stick-it where the Sun Don’t Shine.


  3. MtPockets Says:

    @ Filburt, yes I remember Obummer closing profitable dealerships near my hometown. If I recall correctly, most of them were in predominantly Republican areas.
    I never did hear a good explanation as to how closing dealerships helped the company.
    Closing them sure hurt the local economy, I know that.

    We shouldn’t have to worry about Harley, though. According to that article, Harley is the number one Premium Motorcycle in India.

    What does that mean?

    They sold 4 bikes last month in India?

  4. MtPockets Says:

    Interviewer asks Anoob, “Do young Canadians perceive the brand as cool? Or do they associate it with grey-bearded guys wearing bandanas and Confederate flag patches?”

    His answer- “It troubles me that you’re coming up with these images.”

    It troubles ME that the Motor Company employs someone in such a position as his who cannot see the obvious.

    I think its funny that on one hand, he says that Harleys are “the perfect match for Indian roads” yet also says the traffic is so bad there that they had to redesign the horn because they didn’t last long in Indian traffic.

    Sounds like a good place for a big twin.

    Or not.

  5. Filburt Says:

    MtPockets-this reminds me when Buckwheat and his minions was at one of the big 3 auto. Mfg. in his first term where he forced dealership closed for no reason when one of his acedemia fags asked a engineer to accomplish something that could not be done and the buckwheat acedemia fag asked “why”, the engineer said “that is against the law of physics”, the buckwheat acedemia fag’s response was “don’t worry about that he would get buckwheat obama to sign an executive order to exempt him”!!!
    This same destructive mindset is what is running(ruining) Harley Davidson today.

  6. MtPockets Says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Filburt.

    The guy talks of “Lifestyle” like he’s been there and done that, yet never even rode a bike before landing his Harley job.

    Oh, but he knew guys who had them.

    Yeah, thats close enough…

    What ever.

  7. Filburt Says:

    Harley Davidson brass is a buckwheat supporter, a prodigal named “Anoop”. Read this Leftist’s bio and you will understand why HD is going in the tank, closing U.S. plants and headed to India.

  8. Penguin Says:


    EU plans to raise the tariff on American whisky and Harleys… as payback

    es ist auf Kraut…use translator

  9. Penguin Says:

    Geewhizzz… Trumpster takes the blame for import duties to make America great…

    Nice try… The EU, which is basically Germany, will then (now?) increase the import duties on Harleys and Jack D and more. Good job, didya use nuf dynamite there Butch?

    read, weep? Es ist auf Kraut… use translator, bro

    “Trade dispute with the US EU threatens tariffs on Harleys and whiskey

    The US is planning import restrictions on steel and aluminum, which could also affect European companies. The EU appears to be preparing countermeasures. …”

    This otta be a real help!

    These include motorcycles because the manufacturer Harley-Davidson is based in Wisconsin, which is home to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. Also mentioned are Tennessee bourbon whiskey and Kentucky, the home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The list comes from the time of the last major trade dispute under President George W. Bush, but has since been adjusted.

  10. Shane Says:

    Fuck, these days I wouldn’t buy one of their bikes at a dealership even at gunpoint. Some of those models are the price of a pickup truck and the cheaper ones cost as much as a damn car. No one who knows better or even thinks for a second would take out a loan for that.

    It’s easier just to get one from some mook online who realized he doesn’t like riding and is asking for a quarter of the price with next to no miles.

  11. Filburt Says:

    Levatich, “The moment, however, we feel that the ownership structure of the company … is starting to dictate our strategy, that’s the moment to consider whether that ownership model is the right model,” Levatich said. “So, it is not the case. We are very clear in our strategy.”
    He just told the “owners to go Phufk themselves!
    Ever heard of “Carly Fiorina”…. totally phufked HP, Levatich has the same strategy! They call it intellectual, I call it a total cluster Phufk FAILURE.

  12. penguin Says:

    Bring back the flatheads and I’ll buy….otherwise I build what I want, and do so.

    A 1969 KR setup for street and punched to a grand, built 100% by American Union Labor inside the US would save the sporty…

    Now where can I get one?

    Right…. Build it yerself.

  13. Meh Says:

    HDs are old man bikes and their key demographic (self included) will be dead in twenty years or wishing they were. Anyone who wants one probably has four. It’s called market saturation.

  14. Sieg Says:

    just tom, HD used whatever parts were in stock. My old bitch has parts from a few different years on her.

    AMF basically poured bucks in without TOO goddam much interference. Everyone likes to talk about how shitty the bikes were under AMF, but the simple fact is that most of the initial decline in quality was due to the workers. For some reason, there was a widely held belief that AMF was going to strip the factory, sell the tooling, and shut it all down. To say the least, enthusiasm was low. If I recall, 1972 was the worst of it. Small tools left in engine cases, mismatched parts, all that good shit. When the workers figured out that they weren’t going to lose their jobs tomorrow, things got better. Not perfect, but better.


  15. Ed Says:

    So… Since they made the Sportster and the Street Rod at the KC plant; Have they killed the Sportster; The oldest production model and number 1 selling motorcycle ever ? Dumbfucks if they did that to the Sportster. Should learn how to market and price it towards the younger folks. Way too many good used Harleys out there for the MoCo to succeed right now.

  16. just tom Says:

    Worked at the Capitol Drive plant from 73-75. Decent place to [email protected] is correct,the employees knew there shit. Plus,AMF did a lot of good at the plant. And maybe @Sieg could refresh my memory,but didn’t AMF run older model parts,heads,cases on occasion. Seems like they did. Long time ago,memory is foggy.

  17. felon Says:

    the new Harley line up sucks balls. To kill the dyna was a shot in the foot. Point blank

  18. Aanon Says:

    In order for hd to give a fuck, we would all have to take them off of the iconic? Prestigious? (Wrong words I’m sure, can’t think of the right one) pedestal. I know I was shitting in tall cotton when my 20 year old soft tail came in and my faithful liter bike left. It’s like a corvette (at least chevy has kept up with the times) as in all normal white boys want one.

  19. steve Says:

    The best thing harley could do is ask there customers what they want in a Harley Davidson and respond to what they are told.

    One of the keys to success in any business is to listen to what your customers want you provide what they want they will buy it.

  20. Paladin Says:

    @ stroker;

    They probably leak.

    Long May You Ride,


  21. Davr Says:

    So when do the 50% off sales start??? Lord knows no HD is worth $40K…….

  22. Dutchboy Says:

    @ J Taylor, sounds like we have the same illness. My current ride is a hand built Ridgid frame based on the Ultima 250mm frame with oversized chromemolly tubing. I did mod the geometry a bit to get a slightly higher ride (I’m kinda long legged). The plant started life in a 1998 Springer Softail. By the time I got it it’s home was a pile of boxes. Had to rebuild it on a new set of Ultima cases. The front end is a set of wideglide shovelhead forks extended a little by the famous Frank. Flatside tanks, custom horseshoe oil barrel, chain final drive, hand made bitch bar and a treadplate boat fender trimmed to fit. To say the least “Singer” turns heads. Hey Rebel, is there a way to set up a pic share here?

    @Filbert, good article, thanks for sharing.

  23. J Taylor Says:

    I’ve been building my Own FXR,FXDX and Small Custom Rigid 300 mm tire CHAIN DRIVEN S&S Motored & Baker drivetrain small lightweight sleds w/mid controls and Short rake,”0″ STRETCH AND “0” of up tube frame configuration tubes ( AND MORE RECENTLY 1 DOWNTUBE ) or up tubes to the steering stem @ 34 degree angle in a small package with 3 to 4 gallon “FRISCO” STYLE TANKS non tunneled tanks . NOT Interested IN OR a fan of the new 2018 H-D offerings, BUT……*BUT* I might buy a used /leftover 2017 LOWRIDER SPORT S TO trick out .

  24. oldskewl Says:

    As a youngster I was told, “Real bikers don’t buy bikes from a dealer, they build them from scratch. So, that’s what I did. I’ll admit I had more into the bike than it was ever worth but it was glorious to build something from the frame up, different from anything other sled on the road.
    Still have it today although I rarely ride it because it’s old and when you build something without a clue what you’re doing except help from brothers and an old service manual things don’t always work as they should or it breaks down.

    I did however ride it this weekend and love waiting for my mirror to completely spin around 360 to see what’s behind me. At the local bar, when you leave and everyone comes outside to watch you kickstart a bike like it’s a model T or something cracks me up.

  25. ElleElle Says:

    I hail here in ol KC- they are not as huge as some of the other assembly plants. Why is it- like in all major corps that they don’t bring in the smartest and the brightest (questionable but real) of those who are long term riders and bail their ass out? One week with this crew would shed much needed life on their delima.

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