Harley-Davidson Inc. CEO Matt Levatich reportedly sent a memo to employees and dealers Tuesday following repeated public attacks from President Trump.
“We unfortunately find ourselves in the center of a heated political conversation about fair trade. There continues to be misinformation circulated in conjunction with this issue, and I want to reiterate and share facts about Harley-Davidson that you can both be proud of and share with interested customers,” according to the memo obtained by Bloomberg News.
The motorcycle company has become a frequent target of the president’s since it decided to move some of its production overseas to avoid new tariffs imposed by the European Union. The EU tariffs were a response to tariffs levied by Trump.
The president appeared to endorse a boycott of the company in response to its move, tweeting Sunday, “Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.”
Levatich in the memo maintained that motorcycles sold in the U.S. will be built in the U.S. and “the only reason we have invested otherwise is so that our products have a fighting chance of being price competitive in markets that burden our products with high tariffs,” he said, according to Bloomberg.
The tariffs are hitting the company at a bad time, as bike deliveries in the U.S. have declined in 14 of the past 15 fiscal quarters, according to Bloomberg.
The company also warned in the memo that it cannot absorb the costs of overseas tariffs “indefinitely.”
BY TAL AXELROD – 08/14/18