Harley CEO and president Matt Levatich says EU tariffs will bite about $100 million out of their annual profits.
Europe imposed duties on $2.4 billion worth of American-made products after Trump levied tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Europe in 2018.
“Europe is the big issue for the company, about a $100 million a year run rate that we are covering in order to protect our business in Europe, protect our market share, protect our volume, protect the viability of our distribution channel,” says Levatich.
When Harley announced it would open the Thai factory to avoid EU tariffs, Trump tweeted that customers should boycott the company.
Despite the sales decline, Levatich is positive, saying they are now selling to a more diverse and younger customer which lays “a solid foundation for future growth”.
“The decisions and investments we’re making, within a highly dynamic and competitive global marketplace, demonstrate our intense focus to build the next generation of riders and maximise shareholder value,” he says.
He claims their US rider training participation was up, with the greatest increase among 18-34 year-olds.
Of the total US new retail sales in the last quarter, the mix of 18-34 year-olds increased 2.7%.
In the past quarter, Harley ironically celebrated the sale of their five-millionth motorcycle out of their York factory while they also closed their Kansas City plant.
The 5 millionth customer was Wisconsin resident Walter Bartlett who bought a Heritage Classic.
In Kansas, about 800 jobs were lost when the factory closed. It had been assembling Harleys since 1997.