Trump threatens Harley-Davidson over European manufacturing transfer

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (P3PWriter) – U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Harley-Davidson Inc with greater taxes on Tuesday and mentioned the motorbike maker, which he beforehand hailed as a mannequin of American manufacturing, would undergo from a public backlash if it went forward with a plan to maneuver manufacturing for European prospects abroad.

Trump’s assault, the most recent in a collection of criticisms of U.S. corporations, was an about-face for the president, who hosted firm officers and gleaming Harley-Davidson bikes on the White Home garden shortly after his inauguration.

“A Harley-Davidson ought to by no means be inbuilt one other country-never! Their workers and prospects are already very offended at them,” Trump mentioned on Twitter, with out offering any proof. “In the event that they transfer, watch, it will likely be the start of the top – they surrendered, they give up! The Aura shall be gone and they are going to be taxed like by no means earlier than!” Trump mentioned.

It was unclear what taxes Trump was referring to, and why the corporate may need to pay them, since it would preserve manufacturing in america for U.S. prospects. The White Home didn’t reply to a request for touch upon Trump’s tweet.

Harley-Davidson shares closed down zero.6 p.c at $41.32, after falling practically 6 p.c on Monday.

The Milwaukee-based firm mentioned on Monday it would transfer manufacturing of bikes shipped to the European Union from america to its worldwide services and forecast that the buying and selling bloc’s tariffs – launched as a counter to Trump’s tariffs on some EU-produced metals – would price the corporate $90 million to $100 million a yr.

Harley-Davidson mentioned it had no touch upon the president’s tweets. However firm spokesman Michael Pflughoeft mentioned it was assessing the potential impression of the manufacturing shift on its U.S. services.

To view a graphic on Harley-Davidson’s publicity to import tariffs, click on:


In a collection of Twitter posts on Tuesday morning, Trump recommended the well-known American model was utilizing commerce tensions over tariffs as an excuse to maneuver manufacturing.

“Early this yr Harley-Davidson mentioned they’d transfer a lot of their plant operations in Kansas Metropolis to Thailand. That was lengthy earlier than Tariffs have been introduced. Therefore, they have been simply utilizing Tariffs/Commerce Struggle as an excuse,” Trump mentioned.

In January, Harley-Davidson mentioned it might shut a plant in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri, because of a pointy drop in U.S. demand for its bikes, however mentioned it might consolidate work accomplished there into its plant in York, Pennsylvania.

FILE PHOTO: Harley Davidson bikes are displayed on the market at a showroom in London, Britain, June 22 2018. P3PWriter/Henry Nicholls/File Picture

The corporate is organising an meeting plant in Thailand, a transfer it introduced in Might 2017, however that may put collectively bikes just for the rising Southeast Asian market.

The Thailand plant had no reference to the closure of the Kansas Metropolis facility, Harley-Davidson Chief Government Matt Levatich instructed P3PWriter in an interview in February.

The manufacturing facility in Thailand, which is able to open later this yr, would let Harley-Davidson keep away from the nation’s as much as 60 p.c tariffs on imported bikes and assist it get tax breaks whereas exporting to neighboring international locations, in line with the corporate.

Harley’s announcement of the Thailand plant got here months after Trump pulled america out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which might have lowered import tariffs on the corporate’s bikes in among the fastest-growing motorbike markets in Asia.

Apart from Thailand, Harley-Davidson has two extra meeting vegetation outdoors america, in Brazil and India. The corporate has mentioned ramping up manufacturing abroad might take a minimum of 9 to 18 months.

As U.S. prospects age and loyalty to the model wanes, Harley-Davidson has been aiming to make up for falling U.S. demand by boosting abroad gross sales to 50 p.c of annual quantity from about 43 p.c.

Rising commerce tensions and retaliatory tariffs might pose critical dangers for Harley-Davidson, ranking company Moody’s mentioned on Tuesday. Morningstar Fairness Analysis mentioned in a observe that the tariffs may “briefly” hamper among the firm’s deliberate progress initiatives.


Trump first responded angrily to the Harley announcement on Monday, saying he has supported the 115-year-old producer and was stunned by its plans, which he described as waving the “White Flag.”

“I fought exhausting for them and finally they won’t pay tariffs promoting into the E.U., which has damage us badly on commerce, down $151 Billion. Taxes only a Harley excuse – be affected person!” Trump mentioned in a put up on Twitter on Monday evening.

Trump loved the help of a bunch referred to as “Bikers for Trump” in his 2016 presidential marketing campaign and he invited Harley-Davidson representatives to the White Home in February 2017 shortly after he took workplace, greeting them with the phrases “Made in America, Harley-Davidson.”

The corporate is barely the most recent focused by Trump for numerous causes.

The president has repeatedly attacked Inc over what he sees as its unfair therapy of the U.S. Postal Service, and he has complained concerning the excessive prices of Boeing Co’s replacements for Air Drive One plane, urging the federal authorities to cancel the order.

Slideshow (2 Photographs)

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Rajesh Kumar Singh; Enhancing by Frances Kerry, Jeffrey Benkoe and Tom Brown

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