Harley Cutting American Jobs

June 25, 2018

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Harley Cutting American Jobs

In what is called an “8-K Filing” today with the Securities and Exchange Commission Harley-Davidson, Inc. announced it will move manufacturing jobs from the United States overseas, probably to assembly plants in India and Brazil.

An “8K Filing” is a “current report” (as opposed to a “10 K” annual report) that companies must file with the SEC to announce major events that shareholders should know about.

The filing states: “To address the substantial cost of this tariff burden long-term, Harley-Davidson will be implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for EU destinations from the U.S. to its international facilities to avoid the tariff burden. Harley-Davidson expects ramping-up production in international plants will require incremental investment and could take at least 9 to 18 months to be fully complete.”

Trade War

Harley-Davidson currently has four plants in the United States: In Kansas City, Missouri; York, Pennsylvania; and Menomonee Falls and Tomahawk, Wisconsin. The company also has assembly plants in Manaus, Brazil; Bawal, India and Rayong, Thailand. Harley announced in January that it intended to close its Kansas City assembly plant. At the time the company said it would add 450 jobs at the York assembly plant.

The move is a direct result of a burgeoning trade war with the European Union, a political and economic coalition of 28 (soon to be 27) European nations. The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last year.

This spring, President Trump raised import taxes on European steel and aluminum. The European Union retaliated by raising its own import taxes and numerous, iconic American products including Harleys, Levis, orange juice and American bourbon. The new European tariffs went into effect last Friday.


“Consequently,” the filing states, “EU 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.”

“Harley-Davidson will provide more details of the financial implications and plans to mitigate the impact of retaliatory EU tariffs during the company’s second quarter earnings conference call on July 24, 2018, at 8:00AM CDT.”


The President has long used Harley-Davidson and Harley riders as symbols of his promise to make America great again and of the people to whom he was making that promise. Less than a month after taking office, Trump invited Harley executives to the White House to discuss their company’s “success.”

Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales have plummeted for the last four years.

At that press event, he called Harley “a true American icon, one of the greats…. Your motorcycles have carried American service members in the war,” Trump said, “and they take care of our police officers…. You’ve given me tremendous support, your workers in particular.”


46 Responses to “Harley Cutting American Jobs”

  1. Snow Says:

    Right on, tariffs work and anyone who thinks otherwise knows nothing about business, especially foreign business deals.
    Enjoy your posts as always. Stay safe.

  2. Snow Says:

    man if it one thing it’s something else huh, glad things are mostly going well for you. Evo motors will run a long time if you take care of them, I believe twin cams maybe a little stronger if you can work the bugs out. Stay safe.

  3. Sieg Says:

    Fucking tariffs…


    1000 new MANUFACTURING jobs. Spin that anyway you want to.


  4. Phuquehed Says:

    @Snow – The head swap went good and the bike lasted me to 87,000 miles, then something major happened inside of it, something to do with either a rod or pushrods or even maybe crank related. It made one hell of an awful, ugly noise and I coasted it to a parking lot.

    Since I *had* to have transportation to keep food in the cupboards and refrigerator, I had to sell it cheap as dirt and borrow some from a friend to get the ’98 FXD I have now. This evo hasn’t given me one bit of trouble, other than when I had to sawzall off the rear axle on both ends because the bearing had welded to it after a ride one day (it was my fault…the guy I bought the bike from was one of those I described in my other post…weekend only, perfect weather, etc. He had the bike 20 years and only put 28,000 miles on it, and I should have checked the grease on the bearings…it was dry and not lubricating apparently and I screwed up…but, it’s fixed and since then I’ve darn near rebuild/gone through everything I can and just waiting to save up for new lifters and drop in a nice cam that isn’t too hot, but will give me a little nicer torque to pass with). Put two new tires on it too as I realized that the tires were the *originals* from when the original owner bought it! They were just starting to crack along the outer rim.

    Had the thing at 100 the other day coming home from the store and had room to turn the throttle more, heh heh. Sure wish I could afford an S&S 6 speed trannie for it! Just can’t beat the carb’d bikes.

  5. Neuro Says:

    Turbo Pelegrine Falcon GSX1300R, supercharged Raider…impressive horsepower.

  6. Johnny Bolivar Says:

    Johnny Bolivar –
    Please be advised that Levi’s is no longer an American company having celebrated their 130th anniversary in 2003 by closing down their last plant on American soil in San Antonio and laying off 800 workers there. They are more of a multinational corporation now which of course still wants to market their 100% foreign made products here in the good old USA! I now wonder if Harley-Davidson will celebrate their 130th anniversary in a similar fashion. They certainly seem to be headed that direction.

  7. Johnny Bolivar Says:

    Johnny Bolivar – Please be advised that Levi’s is no longer an American company having celebrated their 130th anniversary in 2003 by closing down their last plant on American soil in San Antonio and laying off 800 workers there. They are more of a multinational corporation now which of course still wants to market their 100% foreign made products here in the good old USA! I now wonder if Harley-Davidson will celebrate their 130th anniversary in a similar fashion. They certainly seem to be headed that direction.

  8. Snow Says:

    Phuquehed, absolutely in all you said.
    How is your bike holding up after the cylinder swap you did a few years ago ?

  9. Paladin Says:

    @ MtPockets;

    I personally haven’t had any hands on experience with VRods. I’ve seen a couple that have been turbocharged and I hear the VRod’s in general are pretty fast. I’ve also seen a couple that have been customized and they looked good. I haven’t heard any negativity regarding their reliability.

    Long May You Ride,


  10. Phuquehed Says:

    Meh…it’s a factory job. Factory jobs suck anyway as can be shown by the shit way the bikes are put together anymore.

    Why does no one bitch about the Honda plant(s)? Does anyone honestly believe that money stays here in the USA? They pay the factory workers and whatever taxes they’re supposed to and the rest, the huge majority, goes back home to Japan.

    Will everyone stoping buying Harley’s and buying Triumph’s help the factory workers in the other Harley plants any more than one plant that made nothing but stuff for Harley’s to be used in other countries moving to – another country? Yeah, that’s the ticket, buy foreign shit and watch *all* the Harley plants close and 1200 more Americans lose their jobs. Not too swooft, if you ask me.

    This shit, like others have said, didn’t just happen overnight. It’s an impossibility.

    This also needed to be done anyway, the tariff thing…every other nation that gets shit from us, taxes the fuck out of it, and we were playing ‘nice guy’, losing jobs for it and paying out the ass and sucking it up. Why? To keep those other countries from calling us names and hating us like they fucking do anyway?

    Fuck them. Now they’re getting a taste of what it’s been like for us and they’re whining like little bitches about it and stomping their feet and throwing tantrums.

    none of this means I’
    ll ever buy a new Harley ever again, as I think they’re shit compared to my evo-year bike, but then I can still work on a bike, even as disabled as I am. Most people can’t or simply don’t want to. It’s been that way since machines have been built.

    Yeah, they’re mostly weekend warriors and ride-only-when-the-stars-are-aligned-just-right-and-the-weather-is-perfect-and-their-wife-lets-them-have-their-balls-from-her-purse-for-a-day-or-two fucks, but those fucks keep the company going and that company still makes (or has) the majority of the better made parts for our old bikes.

    I’ve gotten expensive and cheap aftermarket parts for my bikes, and I’d guess 75% of the time they both turned out not to work or fit as well as the same part from the factory (tools is probably a different matter, especially since I have no idea where to get many of the tools I have that Harley uses/makes for their bikes other than aftermarket stuff).

    Yeah, the dealerships have turned into nothing but beauty salons and t-shirt stores and places for Urine Odor faggots to hang out and look tough to the everyday Joe who walks in thinking he wants a Harley, and it sucks, but, again, I can work on my own bike and I rarely need to be in one of those places other than to pick up a part, so who the fuck cares what the dealerships have turned into?

    I’ve dreamed of owning my own Harley since I was 7 years old and saw a group of them going by the school one day. Honda is *not* ‘American Made’…they’re just put together here, but from what a lot of people here are saying, Honda *is* ‘American Made’ because of that…then that means Harley *IS* still also ‘American Made’ and more so because more parts and pieces and factories are here in the USA putting them all together.

    If anyone’s going to fucking whine about a factory losing 450 jobs, what about all the other factories that moved overseas or to other countries and all *those* jobs Americans lost? Are their jobs any less painful to lose than the Harley ones? We *NEED* to do this along with getting rid of the fucking illegals in this country to *get* all those jobs back here, or else all anyone here is doing is nit-picking because we all ride a fucking Harley.

    I don’t know if any of this made any sense, and don’t give a fuck. I know what I meant and how I feel about it, and as far as I’m concerned it’s just a lost battle for America but a good tactic to win the *war*. Same as in chess…sometimes sacrifices are made to win the game.

  11. MtPockets Says:

    @ Paladin- have you had any experience with the VRod? At one time, I considered building a custom based on the VRod engine/trans. I had talked to several VRod owners who were very impressed with its performance, including one who had previously raced Yamahas.
    I think Harley fucked up putting what seems like a pretty good (and modern) engine into such a fucked up bike.
    What are your thoughts?

  12. tiopirata Says:

    @Paladin, +1
    While I still do own a Dyna, I love my Triumph Rocket the most. And for the same reasons.
    I guess each to his own but criticism of a company staying alive in a competitive market is unseemly, HD is just a company, nothing romantic about it whatsoever, and manufacturing overseas makes sense.
    As for the new Softtails, excellent machines, quite probably the best HD have ever produced.

  13. fayettenamhoe Says:

    WTF, i hav’nt been in a harley dealership in over 30 years, could’nt care less, they was assholes back then and i’m sure they ai’nt changed, they called my shit obsolete back then? and back then my shit was 30 years old, fuck them and fuck all politicians, i don’t know of any self respecting rider that would ever trust any fucking politician fake left or fake right, the same with the fucking fake media that brings you the choice to vote for a turd or a shit sandwich, they all will taste like crap, harley did this to themselves and their ego trip (outlaw) image has been the only reason their still around that and their fucking made overseas wardrobes, instant image cookie cutter clown outfits, fuck them all in the ass

  14. Paladin Says:

    white trash Says:
    June 26, 2018 at 7:20 am

    “@ Paladin, just curious as to what u ride my friend”

    I’ve built and raced Harley Davidson motorcycles most of my life. I built my first bike (’47, 68″ Knucklehead stroker) in 1965. All of my bikes have been and are highly modified. I no longer own any Harley’s. I’ve grown tired of fixing their factory flawed engineering that motorcycle enthusiasts should never have been burdened with. To this day, corporate greed has kept Harley Davidson’s engineering in the Dark Ages of motorcycle engine design.

    These days; My “daily drivers” are a supercharged Yamaha Raider and a highly modified, yet normally aspirated Triumph, Rocket Roadster. I own but no longer ride (due to the required riding position) a turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa. I’d post pictures if Rebel’s page offered such an option.

    The bikes I ride, I ride because their engines stand up to high horsepower modifications, yet remain reliable. For me; the enjoyment of building custom motorcycles is in the customization, not in the continual repair of a motorcycle’s factory engineered deficiencies. At my age (68), I’d rather ride than wrench.

    Long May You Ride,


  15. 67eglide Says:

    HD has been building over seas for decades. Even way back in the AMF days (uhg). This is just about the bottom line, nothing else. As if any company gives a gives a rats ass about the folks grinding it out for decades. It is ironic, back in the Regan days, he saved HD with it import tariff when the Japs were flooding the market with containers of bikes often even under cost. But it will be interesting to see what happens with our Potus playing poker with trade wars and not exactly having a plethora of experience or knowledge in this space.

  16. POSTAL.G. Says:


  17. CtrlAltDelete Says:

    Harley was on its way out the door anyway.

  18. UnaffiliatedObserver Says:

    HD had these plans in the works anyway. The tarriffs are a scapegoat.

    US sales have been declining, and sales are ramping up elsewhere, and they’ve been talking about production in India for a long, long time now. They’ve been producing some bikes in India since 2014.

    Even the fools at wiki know it.


  19. Dutchboy Says:

    Shit like this doesn’t go down in one year. A move like this takes three years minimum and that’s cutting corners to a dangerous level. Normally your looking at five.

    The tarrifs are just a convenient excuse for the suits to do what they’ve planned to do for years. How do I know? I walked that world for a while, international trade, off shore manufacturing, hell I brought a/c to SW Asia.

  20. Gooch Says:

    Im from Wisconsin,this is a bitch move by Harley Davidson. My next bike Indian, or Triumph. . Harley forgot bout the working man for while now. Rebel On ~ Gooch

  21. moto Says:

    “This world renown con-man wouldn’t con us, he’s on our side!”

  22. Desdicado Says:

    The truth is that large corporations like HD don’t fly by the seat of their pants. The Co. has been tanking for years, no more Sons of Anarchy to boost sales, and these plans of theirs have been in the works for months. They don’t care one whit about the hard working Americans in their employ. It’s all about the bottom line and share holders. Trump just became a convenient excuse for them, just like he has for so many others. His road may be a little rocky and round about but in the end he gets to the good place he set out for. HD would do well to re-examine their “brand” and what it could really be about.

  23. Flywheel Says:

    Moving manufacturing of products that will be exported to the EU… to the EU… just makes sense. The complaining that it is anti-American, etc. is just silly. If you knew anything about business instead of being armchair internet commenters you would know this. It will save them money and allow them to make more money by manufacturing EU bikes in the EU and bikes bound for Asia in Asia. Business is about making money. It’s not about “Being an American icon.” which is just marketing B.S.

  24. Hero Says:

    @Anonymous. I looked at the Fat Bob, no issues with it other than its fuel injected. I like a carb bike for my personal use. Thanks for posting the Lean, good stuff. Guess im just set in my ways, lol.

    Side note: Trump says Harley moves and they will pay like never before.

  25. Pappy Says:

    I love my Harley motorsickle. Fuck the MoCo, I will never buy another one…I can’t afford it anyway!

  26. Sieg Says:

    If you really believe that HD got all into making product overseas just since they heard about the tariff’s, then I have some prime Florida property I’d like to sell you. I’ll even throw in the bridge to get to it.


  27. Filburt Says:

    I agree that everything built after the Evolution is junk. A Evo with 200,000 miles that had proper maintenance is not uncommon. I have three Evo’s, 97 1200 Sportster, 98 Electra Glide Standard and a 99 Fatboy(just finished) and I’m in the process of building a FLH Shovelhead. Phufk new Harley-Davidsons and their T-shirt MSRP take it or leave it dealerships. I’m damm tired of these Buckwheat obama supporting Fags selling the United States out.
    President Trump is Making America Great Again.

  28. oldskewl Says:

    @ Filbert, you’re 100% right. If not for those companies you mentioned HD wouldn’t even exist today. HD has done nothing but copy popular trends (chops) set in motion by builders since the knucklehead.
    They copy then put TM on it and call it theirs. Problem with any company once you go to Wall Street is that the consumer is no longer the one you please, it’s the shareholders. HD off the showroom floor has always been a blank slate, now thier going after the aftermarket by voiding warranties for any product installed not made by HD.
    It’s about time they get slapped into reality. And FWIW. If $2200 is keeping you from buying a new HD you couldn’t afford one to begin with.


  29. TX_Biker Says:

    I agree with Curbside, Automotive manufacturers have been doing this for years. Every foreign car maker has a plant in the US. High import tariffs and restrictions are what caused them to build plants here so they could remain competitive with US manufacturers. There is nothing stopping other businesses (steel, pipe, widget, whatever) from doing the same and creating jobs here at home. None of this is bad. Te USA only exports 11% of it’s GDP. Chinese imports only account for 15% of all imports. Not having the China as a market for our oil will reduce our dependency on middle east oil. All good things.

  30. white trash Says:

    @ Paladin, just curious as to what u ride my friend

  31. Penguin Says:

    The MoCo made it plain that they were going to “expand” by moving production to asia… That’s where the money is going to be, all the gold anyway… Not much to do with our clown-king (I voted for him fellas).

    Everything after the evo is in my view junk anyway. Give me a new HD, I’d trade it for a 48UL in a heartbeat, or even a clean WL…

    I want bikes built by Americans in Union Shops.

    That’s why this Union Member builds his own bikes.

    The asiatic hoards lined up to buy “harliees” are not going to care that their junk was made by scabs…in asiatic sweatshops, to the minimalist “standards”…

    Some may wish to read this of “free trade” etc: https://truthout.org/articles/trade-its-about-class-not-country/

    “…The economist and policy types who have been pushing the trade agenda of the last four decades often make assertions like “everyone gains from trade.” This is what is known in the economics profession as a “lie.”

    No models show that everyone gains from trade. Standard models show that some groups are benefitted by trade and others are h

    urt. The usual story is that the winners gain more than the losers lose…” You think maybe the man cares about you? Think again…

  32. Filburt Says:

    Support your local mechanic and machine shops. Build your own V-Twin. Many vendors S&S, Star, Drag Specialties, Baker, Riveria, Paughco, many more, to many to list here. WE do Not need Harley-Davidson.

  33. popeye Says:

    I dont give a fuck about Harley but I do care about American workers losing their jobs due to Trumps Near sighted agenda

  34. FF Says:

    Lots o’ luck. BMW and Ducati batted an eye.

  35. MtPockets Says:

    What these iconic American companies dont seem to get is that once they start making their products overseas, they are no longer an “American Icon”. Look at Craftsman tools, Wrangler jeans, or Keen boots. They built a good reputation as a quality American brand, but once they moved it became obvious the quality tanked to the point where nobody buys their shit anymore.
    Once the reputation of their brand tanks, its incredibly hard for them to build it back up to what it once was.
    On the up side- Harley faultering is bringing the price of used Harleys down to where the blue collar crowd can better afford them.

  36. Mad Midget Says:

    No question the sheeple will buy into this crock’a shit. How is it Trump’s fault T-shirt sales and Harley Davidson (R) boots are slumping?

  37. Anonymous Says:


    Roughly the best lean angle you could get from an FXR is 37/35.

    A Dyna can lean roughly 30/31.

    The new 2018 Fat bob can lean 31/32. A little better than the Dyna. But…

    -it has a bigger motor 114ci (even though the milwaukee 8’s sound like hondas)
    -inverted front suspension
    -mono-shock rear suspension with adjustable pre-load
    -stock led headlight
    -better wheels, brakes, electronics, oil cooling, and various other metric goodies.

    The mono-shock rear on it’s own is pure revelation, after riding a 2018 fat bob, and comparing, I have no idea why anyone would still want to buy a Dyna.

    The new fat bob kills the dyna categorically down the performance, tech, and feature checklist.

  38. Someguy Says:

    This sounds like something HD wanted to do anyway and they are using Trump as an excuse.

  39. Curbside Says:

    As much as I hate to say it, what they’re doing is actually smart business if the taxes aren’t going to eat them alive over there.

    Unless I’m mistaken, they aren’t planning on building American-market bikes in Europe, they’re building Euro-market bikes there. Between freight costs and tariffs, the property taxes would have to be ridiculously higher there than what they’re paying here for it to continue being economically viable to produce a Harley in the US and sell it in France.

    Then again, Harley is known more for their image and their t-shirts than the quality of their motorcycles.

  40. Uesque Says:

    It’s a load of crap. If they pass the $2,200 on to the customer they will lose some sales up front but when their booze and bikes and jeans go up in price the people will pressure the politicians to kill the tax.

    What needs to be asked is why we let the EU put a 6% tariff on US bikes while the US only charges 2.4%. US cars are a 10% tariff, EU cars coming into the US only pay 2.5%. Europe crying unfair is a bit hypocritical and the talking heads are so quick to blame everything on Trump (I can’t stand him but he’s not the antichrist either) that no one is looking for the truth. HD was going to close KC whether there were tariffs or not.

    Hero I will never sell my FXR. Best bike ever.

  41. Paladin Says:

    The reality is that Harley Davidson has never cared about anything but Harley Davidson, promoting and parasitically profiting off a lifestyle they were never plank owners in. If actors like Gary Busey and others that make their living pretending to be those that they’re not hadn’t started riding Harley Davidson’s, Harley Davidson would be a distant memory today.

    Like the many posers that ride them, Harley Davidson has always been fake. These days their transparency has become glaring to the point that their corporate moves should surprise no one.


  42. Filburt Says:

    Harley-Davidson is strengthening the EU not the USA economy and workforce. HD should move their entire operations including corporate to the EU because they are sure not supporting U.S. workers and our economy, the ones that built their brand. HD stocks down 5.9-7.0% just today. I will never buy another new HD.


  43. Hero Says:

    I was done with Harley when they killed the Dyna. The FXR was the best bike IMO with the Dyna in 2nd. Now they are sending American jobs elsewhere. Ink is old and faded, maybe time for a cover up. Just My O.

  44. Filburt Says:

    Reality, HD is betting on sales in India, a very high risk, gamble. The real numbers do not support this risk. HD CEO is a obama sucking fag. HD is using unfair tariffs on American products as an excuse to cut American jobs all the while sales to the towel heads do not justify cuttiing American manufacturing and American jobs.
    Phufk Harley-Davidson and Buckwheat obama.

  45. Concerned Citizen Says:

    Damn this sad as fuck.

  46. panamaa Says:

    Yes sir !!!!! Lets make America GREAT again !!!!!

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