Could Tariffs Kill American Motorcycles?

In today’s motorcycle industry, there are many worries that declining sales could send the market into a financial tailspin. These worries are now multiplying as news of European tariffs reach companies all over America. Now, many people are beginning to wonder if an emerging trade war could actually wipe out the American motorcycle.

How Trade Disputes Could Kill the American Motorcycle

Upon election, President Donald Trump lauded Harley-Davidson as an iconic American brand. The President even invited Harley executives to the White House to celebrate the company’s patriotism. However, that relationship may be souring.

Harley-Davidson recently announced that the company could be moving some of its production to Europe. This was in response to retaliatory tariffs announced by Europe after the President’s administration imposed steep tariffs on European steel and aluminum. The tariffs are estimated to add some $2,200 to the price tag of any Harley shipped to and sold in Europe.

The President was fast to criticize Harley for the potential move, but Harley wasn’t the only American motorcycle manufacturer to respond to the European Union’s retaliation. Polaris Industries, owners of the resurgent American brand Indian Motorcycles, has followed in Harley’s footsteps. The company announced that it too could be moving some of its production from Iowa to Poland.

Both Harley-Davidson and Polaris Industries claim that these plans are a question of necessity more than patriotism. Due to this trade dispute, both companies fear that these tariffs could do irreparable damage to their already thinning sales. However, both companies say that Harleys and Indians that are sold in America will continue to be made in the U.S.A. So, only motorcycles planned for sale in Europe will be made in these new European factories.

Do you think moving production of European Harley-Davidsons and Indian Motorcycles out of the country is a smart plan? Will this be the beginning of the end for the legendary American motorcycle? The motorcycling attorneys at Metier Law Firm will continue to monitor the situation and keep the motorcyclists of Colorado informed.

Tom Metier

Tom Metier

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