Harley Davidson has announced the lay off of 180 factory employees. Sales have been declining for a while, most recently by 9.3% in the second quarter of 2017. Part of the reason may be the aging of Harley’s target customer groups and millennials having little interest in motorcycles. Most of the layoffs will be at Harley’s Kansas City plant where many of its motorcycles are made.
The 400,000-square-foot Kansas City Plant presently employe at least 600 people producing the Sportster, Dyna, Street and V-Rod models. Layoffs at the York, Pennsylvania plant are scheduled for September.
It’s not just the aging of American buyers that has motivated these layoffs. Harley is facing high import taxes in Asia that will double the price of a Harley in those countries. The import taxes can be avoided by moving the manufacture of motorcycles to the far East.
Harley sales remain strong in Europe and Asia and this latest move can be seen as an effort to keep those markets viable.