Harley-Davidson Takes A Hit For Dirty Engine Tuners
The EPA hounds have been barking up Harley-Davidson’s tree lately over an emissions violation.....sort of. As most of you know, Screamin’ Eagle is Harley’s performance component brand, and it makes a whole host of gadgets meant to increase power output. Some are meant for the open road and meet all emissions regulations, and some are meant for the track only. The Super Tuner that is the focus of this little drama actually falls into the latter category, but folks were buying them and slapping them on their bikes which suddenly makes them non-compliant with emissions regulations.
To be fair, H-D did sell around 13,000 units with the Super Tuner already installed, but that’s a drop in the bucket against the owner installed units that, according to the factory, number somewhere around 340,000. I’m not entirely sold on the idea of holding a manufacturer responsible for the misuse of its product, and feel like this is a case of “We aren’t saying it’s your fault, we’re just saying that we are going to blame you.” As you can see, this is not the same as the software shenanigans Volkswagen pulled with its diesel engines.
Continue reading for my take on the Super Tuner gig.
The Shake Down
Harley agreed to be shaken down for a cool $15 million to make the hounds go away. The majority was meant as a civil penalty, but $3 million went toward “environmental effects.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a climate change denier, but I have serious reservations about the belief that we can effect any sort of meaningful, planetwide repairs to said changing climate, and that “fines” that go to that sector may as well be burned for heat for all the good they do.
Overall losses over this issue will be much higher for H-D before it’s all over, as the company plans to buy back units that are already in private hands and destroy them along with all its unsold stock. Still, with pockets as deep as Harley’s, it was probably worth the money just to make the high-pitched, whining noises stop.