Harley Davidson shares fall; Trump supports boycott of bike maker

By: Ilona Billington
Ilona Billington
Ilona is a freelance writer and editor with over 15 years experience reporting and writing about UK and European… read more.
on Aug 13, 2018

Harley Davidson shares closed lower in the US Friday, ahead of a tweet from the US President supporting a potential boycott of the iconic motorbike maker, if it moves its manufacturing facilities out of the US.

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Harley Davidson has said it could move some of its manufacturing overseas, to counter the steel import tariffs the US has imposed and retaliatory measures taken by the EU.

Harley Davidson shares ended the US Friday session 1.17% lower at $43.25. The stock has been a little mixed in recent weeks, although trending a touch lower.

Harley Davidson manufacture plans

The US bike manufacturer and President Trump are in clear disagreement over the country’s decision to impose higher steel import tariffs. As a result of the move, Harley Davidson has said it plans to move the manufacture of its bikes for the EU market out of the US to avoid the higher costs associated with the tariff move.

Harley Davidson said the tariffs could cost it between $30 – $45 million in 2018 and up to $90 -$100 million over a full, 12-month period.

Speaking to CNBC last month, Harley Davidson CEO Matthew Levatich said: “Our preference in all cases is to supply the world from the United States.”

He added, however, that the cost of the raw materials required to build the bikes in the US then sell them overseas would be prohibitive. “Those prices that we would pay with all those tariffs are simply– untenable for customers in those areas,” Levatich said.

Trump supports boycott

Despite the clear reasoning behind Harley Davidson’s plans, Trump has turned on the US brand and said he supports a boycott of the business.

“Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! US will soon have a level playing field, or better,” Trump tweeted.

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