Harley-Davidson Begins Kansas City Plant Shutdown As Production Shifts To Thailand

Harley Davidson has begun shutting down its Kansas City, MO motorcycle plant as the firm shifts production to Thailand to avoid stiff EU tariffs in response to steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration. 

Around 180 workers will clock out for the last time at the Missouri factory which has operated for over two decades, while additional staff will remain until next year to continue making motorcycles until the facility is completely closed. Meanwhile, the motorcycle builder will also shift the manufacture of three models currently made in Kansas City to their state-of-the art factory in Pennsylvania. 

In total, 800 Missouri employees will lose their jobs, while their York, PA factory will gain 450 workers. 

In response to Harley's move, President Trump in June called it "the beginning of the end" for the company, and blamed the motorcycle company for "waving the white flag" by using the trade war as an excuse to move production. 

Trump then warned the company that it would pay a big tax to sell back into the US: "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!"

In the same series of Tweets, Trump also said that the US is "getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers that have been unfairly used for years against our farmers, workers and companies. We are opening up closed markets and expanding our footprint. They must play fair or they will pay tariffs!"

The workers are with Trump

Even after Harley Davidson became the first American company "to wave the white flag" and announce, in an 8-K filing, that it planned to move some production offshore, the workers at the Harley Davidson plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin stood by their president even though the Financial Times reports that "they could end up as collateral damage."

Mark, another Harley worker sitting astride his motorbike during the afternoon shift change at this plant that employs about 1,000 workers, said: "I think Harley is just using it as an excuse" to move more production overseas, after a recent decision to close the company’s Kansas City plant. "They will just blame it on Trump." -FT

What's more, several workers agreed with President Trump's assessment that the company's decision to move production is "just a Harley excuse."

Mark, another Harley worker sitting astride his motorbike during the afternoon shift change at this plant that employs about 1,000 workers, said: "I think Harley is just using it as an excuse" to move more production overseas, after a recent decision to close the company’s Kansas City plant. "They will just blame it on Trump."

Asked by the FT whether they blame Trump for Harley's offshoring decision, most workers said they only blamed the EU, and that, regardless of the fallout, it wouldn't change their vote. "The president was just trying to save the US aluminum and steel industry," one said approvingly.

Harley-Davidson said on Monday that it maintained a "strong commitment to US-based manufacturing," but that its facilities in India, Brazil and Thailand would increase production to avoid paying the EU tariffs that would have cost it as much as $100m.

When asked whether the latest news could make him vote against Mr Trump if he runs for a second term in 2020, one worker, who gave his name only as Tod, replied: "No, I don’t think so. It’s going to take a little bit more than that. He’s doing good things. We’ll just have to see who runs on the other side, that might change my vote."

Workers at the Harley plant also expressed optimism that they would be able to find another job if they were laid off, largely because the US economy is booming. "He's making changes, trying to get the country back where it needs to be," one worker told the FT. And how he does it may matter less than the idea that he's trying to "Make America Great Again."


Free This Fri, 08/03/2018 - 11:53 Permalink

Stupid fucks! They will now die a slow death! They make a mean ride, but this is pure globalist gobble! Did they sell out to a globalist or something? WTF?

There is a saying:

No pain, no gain!

These asshats are gonna rue the day they left America behind! Sell their stock and bikes! No one is gonna pay extra tariffs for these traitors, if they do, they're crazy!

Just get a ricer crotch rocket instead! Or an Indian? I forgot they still made them to be honest!


EDIT - I don't think I've seen an article up for this long without 1 down arrow! NICE!

curbjob BaBaBouy Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:31 Permalink

Harley just released plans to get into the 250 - 500cc market, and smaller in the future. What this really translates into is that they're going to sell their brand name to an Asian producer of commuter bikes ... much like Trump selling the rights for his name to be bolted onto a building. 

Harley-Davidson CEO rolls out expanded lineup of smaller bikes in international push for growth, calls Trump tweets 'unfortunate attention


In reply to by BaBaBouy

Life of Illusion PunchyBinThinkn Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:52 Permalink



Two of the three provinces included in the so-called Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) are bike-manufacturing hubs for Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., BMW AG, Volkswagen AG’s Ducati, and Britain’s Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. It’s not clear whether Harley would join them, but the Thai government is bound to roll out the red carpet if it does.

In reply to by PunchyBinThinkn

FireBrander PunchyBinThinkn Fri, 08/03/2018 - 13:27 Permalink

Now, now...don't blame the bikes...it's management that needs a lamppost...

The bikes are what they are...I found a picture of a 1939 Harley and it looked remarkably like my 2015..classic style, sound and ride...that's why a person buys a Harley. If you want a plastic, go fast, sewing machine toy, then buy a Japanese bike.

The 2018 lineup, non bagger, I don't like a single bike in the lineup; the Softail Slim was sickeningly cheapened down..the kick stand looks like it's off a cheap Japanese bike...where's the chrome?...nope, buffed, NOT POLISHED, aluminum....for $15,000,,,WTF?

In reply to by PunchyBinThinkn

curbjob Gaius Frakkin'… Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:43 Permalink

"I's pretty clear by now to anyone who isn't a dumbass that this is a generational change, a 4th turning."

True ... worth adding that it (has been)  "pretty clear by now to anyone who isn't a dumbass" that Harley Davidson represents ancient and inferior technology and that the men who buy  their products are akin to woman who spend $800 on a brand name pocketbook ... so perhaps this turning will have a few silver linings ?

In reply to by Gaius Frakkin'…

FireBrander curbjob Fri, 08/03/2018 - 13:16 Permalink

I've always been impressed with Harley's Marketing folks; they are top notch!

But this! WOW! What a COLOSSAL Public relations/marketing FUCK UP!

GEESH! I can't imagine handling this any more poorly...you got the POTUS scolding you...the Harley forums are filled with anger...colossal fuckup may be an understatement.


I guess I won't feel bad now buying a Suzuki C90T I've had my eyes on for a while.

In reply to by curbjob

FireBrander curbjob Fri, 08/03/2018 - 13:32 Permalink

I rode the Street 500 and the 750....pieces of garbage...any 450 Japanese bike would outrun them...ride comfort was awful...the foot brake is jammed right next to the exhaust...to keep from burning your shoe off, in an after thought, they added a little heal rest...what a mess, foot braking is an uncomfortable joke on those bikes.

In reply to by curbjob

Last of the Mi… BaBaBouy Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:44 Permalink

HD is just doing what the market demands. I'm amazed at the anti HD comments though I certainly don't care for the bikes. You cannot blame a company for going where the market is. It's their job to be profitable for the shareholders 

Reluctantly politicians these days form the market. HD is just responding in order to stay in business.

In reply to by BaBaBouy

silverer Last of the Mi… Fri, 08/03/2018 - 13:12 Permalink

The blame for Harley's predicament goes back about 40 years to the Congress for overspending and stealing from everyone. It applies to both sides of the aisle. Nobody can afford Harleys in the US anymore, because they have been robbed. And all the liberals that post here are all ready to blame Trump for it. Want someone to blame? Maybe Obama's extra TEN TRILLION dollars added to the US national debt with NANCY PELOSI'S help. Oh, nah! Couldn't be that, could it libs?

In reply to by Last of the Mi…

glenlloyd Chupacabra-322 Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:23 Permalink

In five years we'll come back and see how well that worked for you.

I would think this will cause some discontent in the HD community although I don't know that for sure.

Just think that this decision had already been made and that it was pulled out conveniently at this time to try and discredit Trump, otherwise big businesses don't make decisions as important as this on a whim.

My suspicion is that lefty had already made the decision to go and that the announcement / carrying out of this was specifically timed to happen now.

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

Blankone PrezTrump Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:37 Permalink

No no no.
If HD gets hit so hard they need to move manufacturing back then the fad will already be dead.
If sales within the US plummet to that extent then the former buyers (and their demographic) will have moved on to another status symbol of cool/bad ass and those holding onto the HD fad will be the uncool.


In reply to by PrezTrump

jin187 Ghost of PartysOver Fri, 08/03/2018 - 16:18 Permalink

Don't forget Victory and Triumph.  Harley has been everywhere from Japan to Europe over the last 40 years.  It's as American as General Motors, which is to say it isn't.

Also, it doesn't take one month for a multi-million dollar corporation to move production from one country to another.  You're not gonna tell me that in only one month, they made the decision, located and purchased, or built a suitable facility in Thailand, found 200 capable workers, filed all the paperwork, got all the approvals, set up logistics, and got everyone trained.  Complete bullshit.  It takes longer than that to open up a fucking McDonald's.

In reply to by Ghost of PartysOver