Harley-Davidson To Move More Production Oversees Amid U.S.-EU Trade Tensions Harley-Davidson says new tariffs from the European Union are prompting the company to shift production of motorcycles sold in Europe overseas. The EU tariffs were in response to U.S. tariffs.

Trump Urges Harley-Davidson Not To Shift More Production Overseas

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President Trump tweeted today that he's surprised that Harley-Davidson is moving production of some of its motorcycles overseas, and he's urging the company to be patient. Harley-Davidson says it will manufacture some of its motorcycles abroad to escape rising European tariffs. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Harley-Davidson is the quintessential American brand, a name that conjures up freedom and the open road.


UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: We believe in going our own way no matter which way the rest of the world is going.

ZARROLI: And Harley-Davidson is a very American company in another way. It does most of its manufacturing in the U.S. Partly for that reason, President Trump often heaps praise on Harley-Davidson. During a joint address to Congress in 2017, he said he had just met with officials at the company.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: In fact, they proudly displayed five of their magnificent motorcycles made in the USA on the front lawn of the White House.

ZARROLI: But the company is now breaking ranks with Trump over his trade policies. This spring, the White House imposed tariffs on European imports. Europe quickly retaliated, making a variety of American goods more expensive, including motorcycles. Europe is Harley-Davidson's biggest foreign market with almost 40,000 customers there last year. Darwin Holmstrom has written several books on Harley-Davidson.

DARWIN HOLMSTROM: I was just to Sweden, and I actually saw quite a few Harleys, relatively speaking. There's a core market that wants to sort of have this American biker image.

ZARROLI: The European tariffs would raise the cost of each motorcycle sold in Europe by about $2,200. Today, the company said it would try to avoid the tariffs by moving production overseas. Harley-Davidson has plants in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and it already had plans to close a third factory in Kansas City next year. Joe Capra is with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents the plant's employees. He's no fan of President Trump's tariffs.

JOE CAPRA: We are going to end up with a trade war that's going to cause us to have less production over here, and prices are going to go - skyrocket.

ZARROLI: But he also notes that the company is already slowly moving production overseas to plants in India and Brazil. The quintessential American brand is becoming less American, and the current trade tensions promise to accelerate the process. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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