Trump Versus Harley

June 26, 2018

All Posts, News

Trump Versus Harley

The President of the United States reacted angrily to yesterday’s announcement by Harley-Davidson that the Motor Company intended to manufacture the motorcycles it will sell in Europe overseas.

In an SEC filing, the company said “tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles exported from the U.S. have increased from 6% to 31%. Harley-Davidson expects these tariffs will result in an incremental cost of approximately $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU.

“Harley-Davidson believes the tremendous cost increase, if passed onto its dealers and retail customers, would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business in the region, reducing customer access to Harley-Davidson products and negatively impacting the sustainability of its dealers’ businesses. Therefore, Harley-Davidson will not raise its manufacturer’s suggested retail prices or wholesale prices to its dealers to cover the costs of the retaliatory tariffs. In the near-term, the company will bear the significant impact resulting from these tariffs, and the company estimates the incremental cost for the remainder of 2018 to be approximately $30 to $45 million. On a full-year basis, the company estimates the aggregate annual impact due to the EU tariffs to be approximately $90 to $100 million.”

Not everyone agrees with Harley’s assessment. For one thing, the company sells status symbols rather than basic transportation. And for another, those symbols are intended to evoke an America as long ago as tail fins. People who aspire to own a Harley aren’t necessarily deferred from buying one because they are overpriced.


Among those who disagreed with the company’s decision was Trump. He has tweeted about the move offshore four times since the company made its announcement. Here, in chronological order, is what he had to say.

“Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag. I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U., which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion. Taxes just a Harley excuse – be patient! #MAGA”

“Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand. That was long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse. Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it.”

“When I had Harley-Davidson officials over to the White House, I chided them about tariffs in other countries, like India, being too high. Companies are now coming back to America. Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!”

“A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never! Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end – they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!”


85 Responses to “Trump Versus Harley”

  1. Frequent Flyer Says:

    It’s real simple to me, if you hate Trump as much as Peter Srzkok hates Trump, explain to me how it’s possible that you aint of the same character.

    Rationalize away!

  2. Penguin Says:

    Today’s latest from zerohedge about the MoCo and their fag boss…

    This morning the iconic motorbike maker reported numbers that beat on the top and bottom line, with Q2 adj. EPS of $1.52, vs exp. $1.41, while motorcycle/related products revenue in the quarter was $1.53 billion, also above the 1.42 billion estimate.

    More troubling was the news that 2Q motorcycle shipments of 72,593 declined 11.3% in the quarter.

    But the big problem, and what will likely provoke Trump’s fury, is that HOG said its operating margin would drop to between 9 and 10% in 2018; the reason? Tariffs, to wit:

  3. freebird Says:

    @ Filburt

    Anyone who had one active brain cell knows who made Harley. Sure as fuck was not the dick heads @ the top.

    The Big 5 made them who they are.

    And Men like this

    When I look at a Bandido, what do I see?
    I see a man that wants to live his own life,
    and wants to live it free.

    I see a man that loves the wind in his face
    his greatest thrill is to be riding anyplace.

    I see a man who is always around,
    when his brothers need help,
    or something is going down.

    I see a man society calls criminal & crook,
    but to be what he is,
    they never had what it took.

    I see a man that loves with all his heart;
    he truly knows the
    meaning of “Till Death Do Us Part.”

    I see a man who’s hatred is strong,
    when someone he loves has been wronged.

    I see a man who wants to live to be one hundred and three; but
    would die a young man before he will bow down for anyone to see.

    Because he could never live with himself if he gave any less
    I see a man that from his Brothers he accepts only the best

    Ronnie Hodge 1990 {FCI Ft. Worth}

  4. Penguin Says:

    An outsider’s view is, sometimes, cool and true. Here such a man analyses [Trump’s]anti-imperialist actions. “The US President is not interested in taking a step back, but on the contrary, abandoning the interests of the transnational ruling class in order to develop the US national economy.”

    Politics is, Bismarck said, like sausages…you do not want to see how it is made… Trump is making “sausages”…

  5. Filburt Says:

    PHUFK Levi-TICK.
    A total cluster phufk for H-D targeting skinny jean wear fags for sales have proved a disaster for H-D. Levi-TICK CEO just like Buckwheat obama and gang blames others for their own failed decisions. Why market a product to a group that are still on parents insurance?
    The Evolution engine brought H-D out of bankruptcy and the TC and Mil 8 took H-D back to bankruptcy. Harley-Davidson’s continued downward spiral failure is NOBODY’s fault except their CEO’s.

  6. Jerry Says:

    Harley had this planned before tarrifs where going to change fuck them and their bs exscuse. It’s not like they rip every hd off when buying their bike and then if you want he parts your totally fucked

  7. Penguin Says:

    aanon’s post seems to lack semantic rigor. Pity. “nova” means “does not go”… in Spanish…

    About standing tall or less tall… T man dodged. Inconvenient fact…

  8. Aanon Says:

    Penguin, cheezy rider on a hardly a Davidson. Back to finding this damn leak. Nevermind, I’ll just leave so it don’t leak next to the nova.
    As the eve of the 4th is a hand, thanks to all who stood tall. And welcome home.

  9. Penguin Says:

    Trump-the-man himself, though I voted for him and the fellas what brung’im, I find odious and rude. This is precisely what is right just now… and his actions with regard to the MoCo make good sense when one looks at the entire historic landscape…as does a writer I often find prescient ,,,

    A sample: “…The US President is not interested in taking a step back, but on the contrary, abandoning the interests of the transnational ruling class in order to develop the US national economy….”

    The writer has the advantage of a global perspective and experience…something often lacking in young Americans – anyway worth the read:

    What T Man’s Planning to Do (and getting done!)

    My own thought is simple: Keeping an Empire is sucking away all the treasure and handing it to men who already have too much, while creating the ground for ever more civil discord, immigration, and cruel violence and poverty. Trump’s trimming away the Imperial cost, and the Empire itself. Good.

    Maybe it will work, though Lenin opines that it is not possible…

    Now for the important stuff, fuel and electrical work on the old FX, and some 100 degree rides with the sporty… (unlike our brother Palidin, who is younger than I am, I still have time to wrench and to ride. I don’t even bother to license the metrics in my garage). Man I love Summer!

  10. Ezybagr Says:

    This all seems to be something of a knee jerk. There is a big difference between manufacturing and assembly. If you broke your Harley (of the last few decades) down into a pile of parts and than stacked the parts into piles manufactured in the USA and those manufactured overseas – which pile do you think would be bigger?
    Rikuo of Japan manufactured Harley’s in Japan from the early 30’s until 1958. The company was then taken over by Showa of Japan who still make parts found on all Harley’s today. Over Showa’s history even they have taken manufacturing overseas and some of those Showa parts on your Harley were made in Taiwan.
    Moving your assembly closer to your manufacturing kind of makes sense and where Ducati, Triumph and BMW already have significant motorcycle assembly plants in Thailand, where Harley has already been sniffing for a long time, it has certainly not hurt their brand and has resulted in more competitive pricing to the end user.
    However, by and large the people who buy Harley’s in pretty much any overseas market do not care about the price and seem happy, if not proud, to pay a premium for the brand. The prices of Harley’s in most all foreign countries are already ridiculous when compared to prices at home anyway.
    Let’s not forget the AMF years where Aermacchi bikes made in Italy were branded Harley Davidson.
    Seems like Harley are viewing how to strategize survival/growth in a changing global market where they see their future as younger buyers/riders to seed growth. This ultimately has little to do with Trump or his agenda. Harley would be following the trends anyway and already had this overseas move planned before these latest tariffs.

  11. warmick Says:

    You already buy two motorcycles for the state when you by one for yourself in Europe. Increasing the cost of a bike from 50.000 to 52.000 dollars is not going to deter any buyer. Blaming the trades war is nothing but a Harley excuse for doing what they planned all along.

  12. moto Says:

    @Y todo

    >Easy fix, charge Harley the same tariff on their domestically manufactured motorcycles, if it moves any production overseas

    Did you think this through at all?

    What happened to being the party of small government?

  13. Austin Says:

    @TommyJr. Exactly.

  14. Tommy Jr. Says:


    Fair enough..and i agree. Starting a business certainly should have owner profits as the first objective. And im not 100% against them if thats the ONLY objective..
    However, the true hypocrisy that many claim here, is not by Trump. It is literally in THE people calling Trump a hypocrite.
    How can we hold Trump to a certain degree of moral high ground, while at the same time give these company CEO’s a pass on things like job out sourcing, etc. and say “its just business”?
    The hypocrisy lies in the pointing fingers of the blind masses.

    I say whats wrong with this place are not only greedy CEO’s, but equally responsible are the average citizens who are either too ill informed to know the difference, or blatently not giving a fuck.

    At some point, somebody needs to start giving a fuck. Weather it be the masses, or company CEO’s/owners. If you ask me, i would say the easier route would be for people to simply arm themselves with more knowledge and learn how to not be sheep. Learn how to hold the right motherfuckers accountable, and cast a vote accordingly. I dont know if people are still aware of this or not, but every time you spend money, you also cast a vote. Just like at a ballot box. Cast it in the right direction. But i wont hold my breath..
    The next easiest avenue of giving a fuck, is for the administration to slap monster tax tariffs on company owners. I.E., forcing them to give a fuck.

    Either way, when one of those options takes affect, positve things happen for this economy.

    And i dont know about you guys, but ive been to two 3rd world countries. Boots and brass in the sand in both. I do not want to see this one get like that.

    Has anyone here ever, instead of watching instant karma vids or “fail” vids, instead used that 10 or 15 minutes to look up who ultimately profits from the fuel they pump in thier tank at any given petrol station? Or where exactly the money ultimately goes when they buy simple shit like super glue, or auto parts? And who those owners are in bed with, per say?
    If not, i encourage you to. You just might find yourself not only surprised, but disgusted. While at the same time realizing that there are other products out there that you could spend a few more cents on, and NOT be disgusted.

    Im done getting deep here. Even If i have only changed 1 mind, then it was worth it.

  15. Curbside Says:

    @TommyJr, I completely understand what you’re saying, re: the effect shifting assembly to EU will have on HaDaMoCo’s employees here in the states that are(were) assembling those bikes.

    That doesn’t change the fact that HaDaMoCo’s leadership isn’t responsible for the economic well-being of America. They’re paid to make decisions that best benefit the company’s bottom line, period.

    I’m not trying to sound like a smart-ass when I say this, but I feel it’s kinda important to the discussion…everything you said is absolutely 100% true and correct. It just doesn’t have anything to do with Harley’s decision to shift assembly to the EU, and in all honesty, it shouldn’t have anything to do with their decision.

    Very few people aim to start a business for the sake of aiding the overall economy, and when those few people actually do such a thing, those businesses are complete failures 99.44% of the time. Why? Because focusing efforts on things that don’t directly affect the bottom line will have a negative effect on the bottom line. It’s bad for business.

  16. Y todo Says:

    Easy fix, charge Harley the same tariff on their domestically manufactured motorcycles, if it moves any production overseas.

  17. Snow Says:

    If you believe half the shit you wrote here, after writing a couple years ago of HD’s plan to build bike overseas you are smoking some heavy duty fairy dust. When you come down from that shit read this crap and put some truth in it.

  18. popeye Says:

    I vote libertarian. Imagine if there were 3 equal parties and it took compromise to get a bill passed and far left or far right were considered radicals not the future of the party. My views –
    If you dont like guns dont own one
    If you dont like abortions dont have one
    If you dont like gay marriage dont marry one
    If you dont like drugs dont take them
    You get the idea

  19. Tommy Jr. Says:


    Lol… so the president is a hypocrite now, huh?

    In short, Curbsides logic says huge taz tariffs on out sourcing.
    And your logic says Trump is a hypocrite because he also out sources…

    So by y’alls logic combined, the president himself pays the huge tax tariffs on out sourcing that everyone else cries about.. lol, that is brilliant.

    Try and keep up guys.

  20. Gordo Says:


    Doesn’t the President do the same thing??

    Hypocrisy at its finest

    Politics of deceit

    Yes I luv my bikes

    ie Harley Davidson X 2

  21. Mark Says:

    Here’s what the bottom line is, manufacturing. Look at all the tall buildings in any major city, filled with people who live off of other people. They don’t do a damn thing that can be sold at Walmart or any other store for that matter. Manufacturing is the bedrock of any economy and everyone else lives off that. Many having noticed that America has been going down the one way shit’er but because the federal government sells T-bills to get money into the economy that manufacturing used to bring in. Just how bad our economy is, isn’t as out in the open but the stats are clear, this isn’t the country is was 40 years ago. Harley Davidson has no moral ground to stand on with this matter because the USA made HD and now that they have their game going on, they want to walk away from the country and people that made HD what it is. HD should stand with the USA and the American People and not play the corporate anything goes BS.

  22. Rotten Says:

    Building an old-school KZ900 hardtail chop. Everyone and their mother (literally) are riding street/road glides and calling me “Bro”. I’m OUT. Harley Davidson has been selling OUR lifestyle to anyone with deep enough pockets since the late 80s at least. If I NEVER step foot in another dealership (clothing boutique) ever again…I’m jgood with that.

  23. Hangaround Says:

    @Tommy Jr.
    That is a damn good analogy and this highlights the real immigration issue that people should be paying attention to. While everyone is standing around screaming about the southern boarder there are a shit ton of people coming here every year under the H1-B visa program, legally , and they are getting 6 figure salaries, but instead of that money staying in the US promoting the US economy it gets sent straight back home to support family, and under the worst case scenario actually buys a small business in America which then grants family members the ability to immigrate with a green card to come run their new business.

  24. Tommy Jr. Says:


    I am in agreement that government should get little say in private business affairs. As most on the right should be, im pro LESS government across the board.
    But, i am in agreement that if a business so chooses to make all its profits outside the country, while at the same time managing that overseas company FROM America as they get to enjoy all the American freedoms that come with being a resident here, then its only fair that they get hammered in some way via tax. This way “some” of that overseas profit actually gets back into our economy.

    Im not at all trying to keep taking jabs at you. But i do want to point out that while your points are geared more towards the business/profit end of things for business owners, your missing the part where economics comes into play..
    With more American jobs comes more American consumers. AKA, more people here that are able to spend, and keep that money here in the US where it belongs.

    Say you have 50 employees that work for you here in the states. And say you pay them each $100k annually (just using easy numbers here). Thats $5,000,000 a year that your ensuring stays right here in the US to get spent on mortgages, food, car payments, utilities, medical care, Harley shirts, etc. which continues to build our economy. I.E., other businesses right here will be seeing a lot of that money in profits, due simply to the fact that all 50 of those employees want to live relatively comfortably here and have things.

    Now, lets say for crunching numbers sake, and to be fair, that you decide you want to fire your 50 employees here in the states and move your business else where over seas.. and lets also say, for numbers sake and to keep things simple, that you are also generous enough to replace all 50 American employees with employees in another country, pay them the exact equivalent of the $100k usd your American employees were paid for doing the same job (assuming your business is honest).

    And lets say they all live just like we do, but in another country. Thats now the equivalent of $5,000,000 usd NOT getting spent by employees here in America on goods provided here by other Americans.
    So now what you have is just 1 company owner/consumer (because CEO’s buy shit and have to live too) to spend his or her money here. Instead of 51 people spending money here.. You follow me?

    …and thats how the American economy suffers.

    And thats not including the high probability that the wages that company owner pays out to his or her “new” overseas employees will be far less than what they paid the 50 American employees to do the same job.

    While this may sound great, or seem like no problem for a greedy business owner, this practice continues to spell disaster for the American economy. And Trump knows this.
    Trump has not acted out of spite with the tax tariffs. And hes not trying to put anyone out of business. All he is doing with the tariffs is ensuring some of that money stays here.
    Which speaks volumes if you ask me.. he could instead be using his presidency to lock down sweet-for-business-owners tax breaks. So he could take full advantage of those tax breaks and do the same shit when he gets out of office and goes back to running his own business.

    Sorry for getting long winded there.. i actually feel like some of this shit shouldnt need to be explained.

  25. gooch Says:

    Whatever; Lets Ride . . . I live in Wisconsin, near Milwaukee, do the fall run in Tomahawk . . Were pissed off, but gotta just ride on . . Not like I’m getting out of here alive . . My only worry is when I do die, my wife sells my bike for what I told her it cost…

    Rebel On ~ Gooch

  26. Filburt Says:

    Carlos Hathcock was the best QC I ever seen.

  27. Anonymous Says:


    Ok trump is pursuing facism and America is in trouble. So whats the solution? Shoulda voted hillary? Or should I vote democrat in the next election? And after that America is safe right?

    I’m sorry that you think I can’t see when clearly your the blind one.

  28. Sieg Says:

    jrino is absolutely correct about the Thailand gig. That was/is part of my territory, and you’d have to see it to believe it. Imagine, if you will, one halfway qualified worker running a roomful of cnc equipment, with fifty coolies moving material by hand because there’s no forklift. Rather, there IS one, but no one knows how to use it. Workers barefoot, a bus picks em up out in the bush, near whatever ‘ville they live in, and takes ’em back after their shift. That’s the extent of their contact with the 21st century. QC? Good luck with that…ask Ford-they got a monster plant there, how many Thai-made Fords you seen lately?


  29. jay Says:

    this could be a time where ‘bumper-sticker’ wisdom applies…

    good, fast, and cheap…

    if it is good and fast, it is not cheap…
    if it is good and cheap, it is not fast…

    …you get the idea…

    f*ck-it… buy used, build yer own…

    keep the rubber-side down, ya’ll…

  30. MtPockets Says:

    Jrino, Hammer (of the Horse, Backstreet Choppers) had a good editorial on the Thailand decision awhile back. Seems he spent quite some time living in Thailand and even was an interpreter for Chrysler when they had a plant there.
    Its a pretty good read. Unfortunately, I dont remember which issue it was in.

  31. Curbside Says:

    @Filiburt, I do not pay tariffs, at least not directly. Tariffs are imposed on imported raw materials, which I do not deal with. The company I purchase my materials from does pay them. The price I pay for my materials goes toward that company’s profit margin, their labor force, their manufacturing overhead, and their raw materials costs. The tariff on imported aluminum comprises a significant increase in raw material prices for that company, but a much smaller portion of my overall cost.

    The only way it could be said that I “pay tariffs” would be to say that I pay them as much as the guy who buys beer in aluminum cans at the supermarket…costs went up for the folks who provide the sheet aluminum to the brewery, which caused costs to go up for the brewery, which caused costs to go up for the supermarket, which caused costs to go up for the beer drinker. With each step, the tariff becomes a smaller percentage of the overall cost of the product. I just happen to have a few less steps to go through with my situation.

  32. Curbside Says:

    @TommyJr, I actually agree with most of the things you spoke of, regarding the way Harley runs its’ business. They’re a T-shirt company that occasionally sells motorcycles.

    There’s a reason why I have never purchased a bike (new or used) from a Harley dealership and never will. I ride an old Dyna-type custom with an S&S motor, and the only part of the motorcycle that happens to be actual “HD” is the concho on the tool bag my dad gave me. I don’t buy factory HD parts for it because it wasn’t built with factory HD parts…it was made with *good* parts. I have no desire to fit into an image someone saw on TV, I just want to ride my motorcycle.

    That said, I still just think the business of HaDaMoCo is no one’s business but theirs (and their shareholders, if they happen to be publicly-traded?). Let the market dictate the results of their decisions, not someone in gov’t.

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