Harley-Davidson Has Been Made Great Again

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump has attacked the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company on multiple occasions for moving some of their business overseas, but Trump's ongoing trade war and his tariffs on foreign metal are pushing the iconic company even further into other countries.

Harley saw virtually no operating profit in the fourth quarter of the year because of Trump's tariffs and the company plans to turn things around by offshoring more production and expanding sales in different parts of the world.

From Bloomberg:

Earnings per share on a GAAP basis were zero in the fourth quarter, the Milwaukee-based manufacturer said in a statement Tuesday. Excluding restructuring and tariff costs, profit was 17 cents a share, missing analysts’ average estimate for 29 cents. [...]

Retail demand dropped in Europe and Asia, sending worldwide sales down 6.7 percent last quarter. [CEO Matt Levatich’s] plans call for half of sales to come from outside the U.S. by 2027, up from about 42 percent last year.

Trump said in August that he’d back a boycott of the company’s bikes for moving production out of America. Tariff costs of $100 million to $120 million this year will be eliminated in 2020, once the Thailand plant expansion is completed, executives said on an earnings call.

Even in the unlikely event that the Trump regime reaches some sort of nondescript trade "deal" with China in the next month, it will not include a resolution for Trump's tariff on foreign metal which have been in place for nearly a year and apply to most countries, not just China.

As far as I'm aware, the Trump regime isn't even considering rolling back their tariffs on metal; tariffs that have done far more harm than good to the American manufacturing industry. The fact that increased share prices and profits have been passed on to metal industry executives rather that industry workers (while harming ancillary businesses like Harley-Davidson) is not something the Trump regime considers to be a problem. It's a feature, not a bug.

It's been long enough that it would be easy to forget that Trump's tariffs on metal -- along with his other tariffs on goods from China and elsewhere -- were imposed for "national security" reasons using an obscure trade law that has only been invoked twice since the Kennedy administration.

Do you feel any more secure?

  • muselet

    There are times when I wonder whether there will even be an American economy once Donald Trump is done with it.

    I put the odds at 50-50.


  • katanahamon

    It’s..shocking! A failed, multiply bankrupted liar and cheat has directed policies that are now causing businesses to lose money? did that happen? How could we have possibly foreseen this? It’s a shame he was our only rational choice, that there was no intelligent, experienced alternative..

    • Badgerite

      I blame Mark Burnett. Network TV sold the average person an image of trump that was total crap. No where near anything bordering on the real person or his ‘career’ bankrupting his actual business while bilking banks, investors and contractors out of their money and subsequently turned to a ‘career’ laundering foreign mob money and selling out the country.

      • mnpollio

        Agree with you 100% on this. If there is a Hell, there is a special place reserved in it for Burnett and his equally noxious enabler wife/partner Roma Downey. The sad part is that neither of them can go 10 minutes without touting their bona fides as “great Christians”, yet they produce the most toxic TV shows (Survivor also comes quickly to mind) that celebrate and encourage the most lowest common denominator behavior among people. Not much of a stretch to see them as masters of the propaganda behind the Trump Monster.