• Harley-Davidson caught between games of tit-for-tat between governments

Trump trade wars with India and Europe will affect the already wounded brand

2018 hasn’t started well for our Bar and Shield brand which, at the end of 2017, saw a 6.7% downfall worldwide. In the US alone the numbers were down by 8.5% compared to the previous year. Then the news came of the firm shutting its Kansas City plant, due to the uprise of used Harleys being sold outside.

It received slander from Green activists opposing the waiving of pollution fines by the President Donald Trump administration. Now, it seems to have caught up in a brew of political strategies between the Trump government and the world over. And if you have been paying attention to the current affairs lately, Trump has declared Trade Wars with India and the European Union.

Harley-Davidson caught between games of tit-for-tat between governments Exterior
- image 753236

Previously, the Trump government was not happy with the Indian counterparts waving off 50% of their import tariffs, from a 100%. Trump wanted no duties at all since the US imports thousands of Indian motorcycles for no tariff at all. The trump administration has even threatened to increase import taxes on Indian vehicles entering the country.

Just when you thought that soup was getting cold, fresh new allegations came up in regards to the European Union threatening to increase their import taxes on American commodities including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon whiskey, and Levi’s jeans. This comes in response to the recently-announced US tariffs on imported aluminum and steel coming from the other side of the pond.

Harley-Davidson caught between games of tit-for-tat between governments Exterior
- image 753237

With all this in the background, our dear Harley is getting pulled into bad light right when they are trying to get a stronghold of their sales within the country and overseas. Harley has been caught up in this crossfire and says that it will be disadvantageous on both lands now.

With the rise in import tariff for steel and aluminum, which happens to be the significant construction material for their bikes, the cost of their products will also exponentially increase, leading it disadvantageous to future Harley owners. This will indirectly result in lower sales in their home country. And with Europe increasing their tariffs (which looks likely), Harley’s European sales will too be affected.

Harley-Davidson caught between games of tit-for-tat between governments
- image 764002

This trade war will ultimately hit Harley-Davidson from both sides of the business, increasing price of raw materials and increase in the price of its finished motorcycles both in the USA and European market where it holds more than 16% market share. However whichever way this goes, ultimately, us riders will be victims of this brewing trade wars.

Amidst all of this, Harley is putting their best foot forward to regain its market share with a strategy of introducing 100 new models in the coming decade, of which 12 new models are already out. Then there is a new development happening backstage with Harley investing in Alta Motors for developing the next generation of EVs’, all to entice a new breed of customers into the fold.

Sagar Patil
Sagar Patil
Motorcycle industry expert since 1997! - sagar@topspeed.com
Over the years, a deeper conscience of machines moving body and soul has given him a crisp grasp over the concepts of motorcycling. A sucker for details and common sense, he loves getting his hands dirty every once in a while. His love affair with motorcycles ushers in the specialist skillset making Sagar our go-to expert for everything on two-wheels.  Read full bio
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: