Harley-Davidson is shutting its Kansas City plant and will this year start building bikes in Thailand because President Donald Trump has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, says boss Matt Levatich.
The extraordinary statement comes as Matt addressed media and shareholders over its first-quarter results.
By “manufacturing optimisation”, Matt means shutting down the Kansas City plant which makes Softail, Sportster and Street models and consolidating operations at their York, Pennsylvania, factory which assembles Touring, CVO and Trike models and makes parts such as frames, fuel tanks, and fenders.
Meanwhile, Indian Motorcycle reported growth in sales and market share during the first quarter of 2018 with motorcycle sales up 9.3% to $US131.6 million.
President shoulders some blame
Matt says the closure of the Kansas City plant and “Plan B” to build a plant in Thailand was due in part to Trump’s TPP decision.
However, Harley had bought the Thai land for the plant several years before Trump even became President.