President Calls Out Harley Davidson For Using Tariff Dispute To Cover Betrayal

It’s the iconic brand that has frequently been used as an example of why we need to level the playing field when it comes to trade. It is Harley-Davidson, and their signature hogs, made in America of course, is the bike that all open road riders covet.

When President Donald Trump is done with them, maybe not so much anymore.

Harley said Monday it was moving some production overseas due to increased costs from the EU’s retaliatory tariffs against the Trump administration’s duties on steel and aluminum. No production will be moving to Europe as a result of the tariffs, according to the company. Harley’s overseas manufacturing plants are in Brazil, India, Australia and Thailand.

Following the company’s announcement that they would be moving production into Europe due to the trade and tariff disputes and standoffs, President Trump took to his Twitter platform and told the world some things we did not know about the people at Harley-Davidson.

Oh, really? So this is a planned move, and the tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration to help level the playing field didn’t stop them? Huh.

That was followed up by another threat that shows just exactly how well Trump understands the American market, and what will happen if hog production leaves these shores.

Harley-Davidson does bank on their aura. Trump is right about that.

However, just like every other company out there, Harley is all about maximizing profits.

The company announced in May 2017 it would build a plant in Thailand to better reach the southeast Asian market. CEO Matt Levatich told Bloomberg News in April he made the decision after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement with 11 other nations mostly in Asia.

Producing in Thailand lets Harley avoid the country’s tariff of up to 60 percent on imported motorcycles, and helps the company get tax breaks when exporting to nearby countries, according to Reuters. The company said in January it plans to grow international business to 50 percent of annual volume by 2027.

That’s the part that the American consumer will see as a betrayal. Here, the image is everything. If a company is seen as going against MAGA, no matter how iconic, its customer base will turn.

Harley-Davidson has a chance to salvage its reputation. We’ll see if they take it.

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.