Trump blasts Harley-Davidson over production shift decision

Harley-Davidson to move production overseas thanks to Trump’s tariffs

"Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag", Trump said. "Their employees and customers are already very angry at them", Trump said on Twitter, without providing any evidence.

He tweeted: "The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!"

In January, the company announced the closure of a plant in Kansas City, Missouri as part of a consolidation plan after its motorcycle shipments fell to their lowest level in six years.

The company expects the tariffs to result in incremental costs of $30 million to $45 million for the rest of 2018, the filing said. "Taxes just a Harley excuse - be patient!" he wrote.

Harley-Davidson's move is one of the most visible consequences of the trade disputes triggered by President Trump's decision to levy tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Harley-Davidson said the tariffs make shifting production "the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the European Union and maintain a viable business in Europe".

Outside of the United States, the manufacturer has production operations in Australia, Brazil, India, and Thailand.

The company said in a regulatory filing Monday that European Union tariffs on its motorcycles exported from the USA jumped between 6 per cent and 31 per cent, adding about $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S.to the EU.

Harley, which sold nearly 40,000 motorcycles in Europe past year, has also said it planned to absorb these costs rather than raise its prices and risk damaging sales.

Harley-Davidson's made-in-Thailand motorcycles will avoid the country's up to 60% tariff on imported motorcycles.

But Trump's policies seem to have put Harley-Davidson in a particularly tough spot, for seven reasons.

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Its Kansas City factory closure isn't tied to shifting jobs overseas.

Harley-Davidson is the latest example that US companies relying on overseas markets would be hurt by the Trump administration's protectionist trade policy, analysts said.

"The company built its reputation and image by making motorcycles here, and if the company wants to continue to market itself as an iconic American brand both at home and overseas, it needs to focus on U.S. production", he added.

Trump has also threatened fresh tariffs on European auto imports, which would especially punish Germany, home of Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: In fact, they proudly displayed five of their magnificent motorcycles made in the United States of America on the front lawn of the White House. We need to do something with the tariffs, and we have to.

Walker and Trump made amends, and the governor a year ago invited the president to take a ride on a Harley after he canceled a visit to the company's headquarters.

The iconic USA firm wants to avoid paying tariffs on United States exports, imposed by the European Union as a retaliatory measure in an escalating trade war with the Trump administration. But since then the company has been counting the costs of his trade policy.

No one, not even Harley Davidson itself, which apparently wanted to settle the matter with India and other countries sans the hoopla that is now leading to a trade war.

Charles Payne, host of "Making Money with Charles Payne", said he does not buy the company's reasoning, arguing the plans to shift production were "old news". His next move may be to impose steep tariffs on German cars, which would constitute a serious escalation in an economic battle that is translating to real-world losses.

"We support free and fair trade and hope for a quick resolution to this issue", the company said in a statement at the beginning of June. But company spokesman Michael Pflughoeft said it was assessing the potential impact of the production shift on its US facilities.

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