Are Trump’s Actions Killing Harley-Davidson

Over that past few years, Harley-Davidson has struggled as the market for their heavy duty road motorcycles has languished…because their American audience is aging out. And as they’ve slowly started to restructure…offer new motorcycles that appeal to a younger audience…their marketing efforts are style falling short of the mark.

And then we have candidate Donald Trump promise to restore America’s manufacturing might…and touts icons of American industry like Harley-Davidson on the campaign trail…and then as President Donald Trump…wounds them deeply with tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Of course Harley uses those elements in manufacturing their products…but predictably other nations enact retaliatory tariffs of their own. The European Union for instance increased their tariff on Harleys from 6% to 31%. Criminy…I can’t imagine many businesses that can withstand a cost increase of 25 percentage points without taking a hit in sales. And that’s exactly what’s happening to Harley.

Struggling with fallen demand for motorcycles and a steep tariff on its bikes sold in the European Union, Harley-Davidson Inc. on Tuesday reported a 26% drop in quarterly profit and said it would consider assembling bikes in Europe. 

Last summer he (the president) chastised Harley after it announced plans to move production of motorcycles destined for the European Union to Thailand, in response to the EU raising the tariff on American-built bikes from 6% to 31%. 

So what is the president’s response? I bet he dispatched his best trade negotiator to Brussels…right? Well not exactly!

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump threatened to step up the trade war with the European Union over tariffs imposed on Harley and other American companies.

“So unfair to U.S. We will reciprocate!,” Trump tweeted…”

Tuesday, rather than attack Harley, Trump focused his anger on the European Union for its tariffs that came in retaliation after the president placed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.

Tit for Tat trade wars are not the answer in a 21st Century world…the president and his advisors continually ignore that and continue to live in 1975. That’s not going to help Harley much…as the EU continues to retaliate against the Trump tariffs:

And with the EU’s tariff, essentially an import tax on Harley that’s scheduled to climb to 56% in June 2021, the company said it was reviewing all options including setting up a motorcycle factory in Europe.

The president isn’t happy about Harley…he’s not happy about their potential European plant. But guess what Mr. President…that’s how business rolls when it needs to maintain its market and its profitability…they don’t want to be a Trump Casino…if you catch my drift.

And by gosh, I’d like to see Harley’s next anniversary gig here in Milwaukee!!!


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