Am I Next? Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Plant Closure and Layoffs.


The company has announced the layoffs of another 40 employees in its apparel department. A company spokesperson noted, “Harley-Davidson announced that it will restructure its general merchandise organization to capitalize on growth opportunities. This supports the company's commitment to manage our business with focus and discipline as we invest in growing the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally."

With an aging customer base that appears to believe they are invincable and immune from danger, the company now needs to attract the “snowflake” generation which spends more time on video games than outdoor activities.


Two of three shifts at the plant are being eliminated at the present time, with the third shift shutdown in the near future.

A number employees are upset with the company for building a new plant in Thailand and not reinvesting in an American-made product. The company's response noted that the American market is aging while the Asian market is growing.

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Once again, the iconic American company, motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has hit a slick spot in the road and is sliding sideways. Due to a prolonged financial downturn, an aging customer base, a decline in motorcycling with expensive “heavy hogs,” and increasing foreign competition involving currency issues, the company has announced the consolidation of its manufacturing activities to meet lower projected demands. This will result in the closure of the Kansas City plant and the layoff of approximately 800 workers, with the operations being transferred to facilities in York, Pennsylvania. The restructuring will add approximately 450 jobs in the York facility. Layoffs in Kansas City are expected to start around June 2018 with full closure estimated in the third quarter of 2019.

Harley-Davidson CEO and President Matt Levatich said, "The decision to consolidate our final assembly plants was made after very careful consideration of our manufacturing footprint and the appropriate capacity given the current business environment. We are constantly evaluating capacity, and our current U.S. capacity exceeds U.S. demand.”  

According to Edward Jones equities analyst Robin Diedrich, "As safety becomes a concern for aging baby boomers, domestic sales for the heavyweight motorcycle industry should slow. We expect certain international markets, particularly in Asia and South America, to have higher growth rates in heavyweight motorcycles than the U.S.," Diedrich said.

Harley-Davidson represents more than a brand, it represents a lifestyle and a dream of freedom of the road that is passionately embraced by a large contingent of Harley fanatics. Not all of whom are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on stock or customized motorcycles. There will always be a market for Harleys -- even if it isn't a mass market. 

Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?