If you haven’t heard of the Trump administration’s plan to impose sizable tariffs on steel and aluminum (25% and 10%, respectively), then you have done a remarkably good job of ignoring current political events.
Trump’s plan caught many by surprise, and the details of the tariffs are still forming, but one thing is clear: it doesn’t bode well for Harley-Davidson.
Like most manufacturers, an increase on raw steel and aluminum will mean an increase in costs, but Harley-Davidson also has the dubious honor of being part of the European Union’s focus for retaliation.
This is because the EU says it will tax motorcycle imports from the United States, in retaliation for Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Surprisingly, Harley-Davidson has been quiet about all these maneuvers in the political space…until now, that is.
Finally releasing a statement on the tariffs and Europe’s proposed retaliation, Harley-Davidson doesn’t need to use very many words to illustrate how bad the current political situation is for the Bar & Shield brand.
“Import tariffs on steel and aluminum will drive up costs for all products made with these raw materials, regardless of their origin,” said Harley-Davidson in statement.
“Additionally, a punitive, retaliatory tariff on Harley-Davidson motorcycles in any market would have a significant impact on our sales, our dealers, their suppliers and our customers in those markets.”
As we have outlined already, the proposed tariffs likely won’t affect Harley-Davidson too much, directly. However, the American motorcycle brand is in critical need of the sales opportunities inside the European market. This makes Trump’s tariff plan and the EU response a 1-2 punch against Harley-Davidson.
It is likely no accident that the EU singled-out Harley-Davidson imports for its retaliatory rhetoric, with the American brand not only being one of the largest in the United States, but its loyal members also sharing a large Venn diagram overlap with the President’s own followers.
It is not clear if the EU planned to target the President’s constituents with its retaliatory tariffs, but it certainly does seem the case. Stay tuned, this is far from over.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel