Harley-Davidson Re-Evaluates Its Market Needs. Eliminates About 200 Positions At US Plants.

yorkassemblyteryorkassemblybisHarley is eliminating about 200 employees at its U.S. plants. “We continually evaluate industry and market changes to provide the best products and services to our customers. To that end, we are adjusting our production plan to align with our 2016 guidance and we are making the necessary changes to right-size the company” said Bernadette Lauer, a Harley spokeswoman.

Harley-Davidson plans to eliminate 115 unionized positions at its York, PA Springettsbury Township plant. Workers were notified this Wednesday, Harley had about 2,000 hourly workers in Springettsbury Township as late as 2009. Now, about 950 members of IAM Local 175 work there. Harley will also eliminates 39 positions at its Tomahawk, Wisconsin plant. Layoffs will begin in October and should be completed by the end of the year. For 2016, Harley guidance was for 264,000 to 269,000 motorcycles sold worldwide. The company didn’t discuss specific number of units cut justifying these layoffs.

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44 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Re-Evaluates Its Market Needs. Eliminates About 200 Positions At US Plants.”


  1. 1 Patrick Kerr Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Let’s not be confused. The market is pretty good. But since 2008 Harley pays the price for its arrogance in not acknowledging on time the changes of market, baby boomers retiring from motorcycling and arrival of a new competition. You know who I am talking about.

  2. 2 Bruno Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Sorry for the employees, but no surprise with this news.

  3. 3 Tommy Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    2 friends working in custom shops tell me that business is good. I agree, it’s mostly a H-D issue.Those who don’t adapt suffer or die. H-D has still good days ahead but not like the past good days.

  4. 4 Woody's Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    It’s not like Harley has control over how many new player enter/dilute the market. Hopefully they will concentrate on a better product above all, and retain a market share that allows them to continue to provide good jobs. How many US employees does Chrysler have compared to 2009? Nothing stands still.

  5. 5 Vinnie Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Milwaukee-Eight minus 200.

  6. 6 Marty Sorel Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Harley. Please say hello to Indian.

  7. 7 Marty Sorel Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Expect more news like that from Harley in 2017?

  8. 8 Kenny Hart Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    The best way for Harley to get better is to suffer.

  9. 9 Paul Corso Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    HOG stock no good for a few years.

  10. 10 Vinnie Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    And if Indian beats Harley in races, h-d image is going to deteriorate and it will cost the company a lot of lost sales.

  11. 11 Brenze Aug 31st, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Harley is a baby-boomers company. Exactly where a company selling motorcycles should not be.

  12. 12 marcus Aug 31st, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    What will happen in KS in October when the V-Rod line gets shut down? No mention here of layoffs at that plant. Is another platform coming out?

  13. 13 Tony Davidson Aug 31st, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Trump and Harley davidson no future

  14. 14 fuji Aug 31st, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    HD finance arm has been writing marginal paper to make up for poor sales. This could come back and bite them if they cant bundle good paper to sell to other institutions.

    Cutting jobs a must to be able to pay dividends to investors.

  15. 15 Tony Davidson Aug 31st, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Time to buy Indian motorcycles now

  16. 16 James just another crazy kiwi Aug 31st, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Same people that rush off and tell people to buy Vindians complain about job lay offs at Harley.
    Go Figure

    A bigger threat to all factory workers will be more and more robotics.

    Not just in Auto manufacturers, but in all production that needs a labour force.

    Next threat to the West is massive unemployment caused by technology.

    Then no one will beable to afford MotorCycles. We are only talking a few years before this starts to incease dramaticaly.

    Look at the Factories that have gone back to the USA from china and employ many less people.

    Then the same people want to employ cheap foreign labour for the few jobs left.

    Winning the cold war was the downfall of the Western nations middle and working class.

    Truck driving will be done remotely very soon, just like drones. Same technology.

    Shit thats depressing

  17. 17 Highrider Aug 31st, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Sorry, but I disagree with the point that HD missed the market change,when in fact they turned their backs on the baby boomers for the markets that never materialized, ie, minority riders and paint everything black OMG what a giant mistake. —-$$$$ Baby Boomers are good for another 10 years

    Yes Indian is good, BUT they are not close to Harley ,Kinda, like the whole country is today,not even close to reality anymore.

    Harley does need a desperate management shake up, Otherwise, they are doomed to fail even more.
    Maybe they should copy some of the competition, THE WAY the competition copied them.

    Not to be confused I own a Victory and am quite happy with it, but not as much as I like my HDs.

    The new model revel needs to go back to Sturgis, they are missing out on a lot of new excitement by waiting a month to unveil their models
    And bring the Rapid City Civic center back as a sow place instead of Sturgis.
    Bad Marketing choices IMHO

  18. 18 jbfrmca Aug 31st, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    you can bet the big wigs will still get there bonuses.

  19. 19 Tom Ryan Aug 31st, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    I wonder if Victory or Indian might be expanding and looking to hire some of these experienced people?

  20. 20 highrpm Aug 31st, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    standard corporate baloney: work force reduction results in “best products and services to our customers.” tell it like it is, Bernie.

  21. 21 richards Aug 31st, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    There will be ups…there will be downs…That’s business. The key question is what will “Management” do? If their 2017 sales projections are down, they need to do the lay offs. Sad but true. I’m sure Victory and Indian have taken some market share from Harley. I’m sure there are also “other” contributing factors to their loss in market share. Anyone know Indians production numbers? I suspect they are not selling near as much as planned on or they would would publicizing units produced (I’m not sure Victory provides units sold or not). Anyway, Harley still has 49% of ALL big bike sales. A 113 year continuous history selling an Icon. An enviable position. All the rest are still in “catch up mode” so I’m not going to count Harley out and I’m sure the Motor Company will respond correctly to these and other market dynamics satisfactorily.

  22. 22 Woody's Aug 31st, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Would that be the same Bernie who just bought a vacation home (his third) and is setting up his own Clintonian money mill fund?

  23. 23 highrpm Aug 31st, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    @ woody’s
    a cute nickname for the person announcing the layoff, as the article reports, “…said Bernadette Lauer, a Harley spokeswoman.” (but i’ll bet such a corporate whore is casting her vote for hilly billy.)

  24. 24 SIGFREED Sep 1st, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Something positive to take from this:

    “Today’s newest breed of employee is the self-manager. These workers are the ones who survived the recent. waves of downsizing, both by seeking and capitalizing, on new opportunities and by learning new skills. Because these employees increasingly possess the skills and technological tools to supervise themselves individually or in teams they are eliminating the need for layers of management. More executives will soon find their jobs redundant, while self-managing front line workers become highly valued and virtually fire-proof. Everyone should strive to become self-managed. It is clearly the direction business is taking.” – John A. Challenger (the name says it all)

  25. 25 burnout Sep 1st, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Kiwi James you are absolutely right. Also, Robots do not pay taxes!! peace

  26. 26 Woody's Sep 1st, 2016 at 9:23 am

    2 Kiwi, would humbly disagree with, “Next threat to the West is massive unemployment caused by technology” and say that the “progressive” mindset that invaded our gummint will cause the massive unemployment. Automation in industry isn’t new anymore, it’s the standard. What’s relatively new in the US is the concept that folks can/should get a job at McDonald’s after High Scholl and stay there for the rest of their lives, demanding a “living wage” because “life is hard”, and having most of their primary needs met by welfare of one sort or another.
    I may be biased because I’m a former automation tech in medium and heavy industry and saw how hard it was for my employers to find someone who could diagnose/change a light bulb, much less an encoder or harmonic drive on a small 4-axis robot. I suppose there will always be a steady stream of well-educated techs and engineers from the countries the dumbest of Americans somehow feel superior to, while our universities turn out useless Trigglypuffs.

  27. 27 David Ryder Sep 1st, 2016 at 10:50 am

    2017 brings a lot of improvements. H-D has been paying attention to what customers were saying. Catalytic converter: moved and cooling fan (no more melted boots?), water cooled heads: gone, replaced with oil cooling, air adjust shock: gone replaced with hydraulic, and of course the Milwaukee 8 (more juice for the moose).
    I test rode the Indian Chieftan. Harley had cause for concern. Will H-D maintain quality and customer loyalty?

  28. 28 mkv Sep 1st, 2016 at 11:05 am

    What a great way to start a new fiscal year.

  29. 29 Jimbo Sep 1st, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Do yourself a favor and do not buy the first year of the new 4-valve head motor.

    It is a Harley after all.

  30. 30 Hillbilly Jim Sep 1st, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    A few weeks ago myself and my riding partners spent a day looking at motorcycle dealerships. We hit all the imports plus HD, Victory and Indian. Then shared observations over cheeseburgers and beers. Here is what 4 men with 125 years of motorcycle rider/ ownership between them came up with. First and foremost, this is a fantastic time to be a motorcycle enthusiast. Anyone who wants a new motorcycle can buy one. There is a glut of low mileage used motorcycles and unsold 1, 2, & 3 year old motorcycles.
    Every manufacturer is experiencing slow sales at this time. Some slower than others. Just the opinion of an old gray beard.

  31. 31 James just another crazy kiwi Sep 1st, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Woody,
    My employment means I travel around factories it has become obvious that the number of people working in these factories has declined.
    Administration is now off shore in places like India.
    Stores functions now totally done by robotics down to packing, labeling and sorting for shipping.
    Labour itself in the factory is being replaced because robots never get ill and are always 100% accurate so no wastage.
    Because we are so far from our markets there is always a huge push to make everthing at a lower cost.
    It is coming like a Tsunami and the west is looking at huge social change.
    What the outcome is no one really knows

  32. 32 DevilMadeMeDoIt Sep 1st, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Welcome to the NeoLiberal 2010’s gentlemen . On both side of the aisle . Where employees are mere commodities and chattels to be bought , sold , traded and let go on a whim and then sending manufacturing overseas to the benefit of the Investors and to the detriment of the country all in the name of the almighty ” Small Metal God ” god Profit ! And to anyone that thinks for a moment The Donald’ll do anything to change this you have my condolences seeing as how you’ve been ‘ royally ‘ duped .

  33. 33 Woody's Sep 1st, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    “NeoLiberal 2010’s “? Like it was different on Day 1 of the Industrial Revolution? That created “leisure time” which created many more jobs. Currently, as more unskilled jobs are done by machine, it creates more inexpensive products and higher paying tech jobs, but ONLY for those who educate themselves to become/remain relevant in the workforce. When the local Chrysler engine plant closed there were folks making serious money for 20-30 years that could barely add 3 six figure numbers together and had little skills beyond holding a trigger until the green light came on. Chrysler’s Mexican engine plant was expanded, likewise car/truck production. Seems Mexicans can tell when a light turns green for a fraction what the UAW shops negotiated, meanwhile Obama takes a bow for “saving the company” by letting an Italian company buy it. The “One World” clan says borders are stupid. Um, yeah, unless you ‘ive in a Country with poorer neighbors. The median annual household income worldwide is $9,733, and the median per-capita household income is $2,920, according Gallup. Anyone making more than that care to settle for it? That’s the only way no borders will ever work. GE built a huge plastic injection-molding plant in Mexico some years back. Eventually the work was moved to SE Asia because Mexican wages were becoming non-competitive. Past leaders allowed these trade & tax deals to go down. Hillary thinks that’s fine, dunno if Trump can be believed when he disagrees.

  34. 34 rebel Sep 1st, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    like the man says, what the HELL do we have to loose.

  35. 35 James just another crazy kiwi Sep 1st, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    America gets to vote for the corrupt or the crazy…………..hell of a choice.
    Two Party system just like communist China lol

    Clint Eastwood and Sonny Barger are voting for Trump !

  36. 36 reyn Sep 2nd, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Out of the total overall manufacturing labor force, these layoffs are not significant. Yes H-D lowered production numbers last year and would probably have lower production projections again because nothing indicates 2017 will be a boom year. For them or anyone else.

    One real telling factor is the financing being offered by factories: BMW, 0.90% thru their 3easy program or Ducati with their incentives programs or HDFS with 1.99%. Everybody has something right now.
    IMHO there has never been a better time to buy a bike if you have good credit than now with all the low cost money being offered.

    For me this indicates too much non-current inventory, those 2016s that should be gone by now and those 2015s having their first birthday on someone’s lonely showroom floor.

    Who knows if the Milwaukee-8 and a TV miniseries can breath new life into the industry.

  37. 37 New York myke Sep 2nd, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    i usually get a good feel when I read the responses to issues that effect us all as profoundly as this one but this time I am mostly concerned with what I don’t see. Don’t get me wrong, there are interesting and valid points here but out of the 36 so far not one has talked about the governments role here. I’ve been a motorcycle and veteran activist most of my life and the level of gov’t control we live under today is sick and cost way more than just money. Where’s the outrage about the EPA and CARB regs on motorcycles and manufacturers? Any idea what the friggin labor laws cost us (yeah, you and me not JUST business owners) work rules that cost honest hard working people job opportunities? Companies don’t make stuff in foreign countries just because of cheap labor, those things will even out eventually, but OSHA will put you out if business and the insurance premiums will choke you and the preditory lawyers who seem to love our customers more than we do, will take whatever is left! Wanna know who to vote for? Think Trump is going to empower NHTSA to make more facist laws or come up with more safety regulations because we’re too stupid to think for ourselves? Think Trump is going to impact the manufacturing process with EPA rules to stop climate change? When business is free to make a profit people will line up to work and if the money they make goes to the gov’t to pay for freebies for people who don’t work there’s not enough left to pay the hard workers so workers don’t get raises and some get laid off! Money should be evidence of productivity in a perfect world, then the gov’t devalues the dollar, lowers interest rates so people with bucks make money in the stock market and Main Street slowly but surely wilts away until there’s no momma/poppa business’ thriving, Americana is sold like Chrysler is now Fiat and companies like HD have to source more parts in Asia where they can’t have quality control and boom here come recalls! Guess what? I love America but if Trump didn’t step up our only choice would have been another politician, no matter their so called party. I say vote Trump, buckle up for a ruff ride and some exciting times and be glad that we don’t end up with another lying, slimy, Clinton. And if you don’t understand what she did in Bengahzi alone that makes her deserving of prison, write me and I’ll send you a short explanation! Freedom baby, the gov’t didn’t build that, dead soldiers did!

  38. 38 Blackmax Sep 3rd, 2016 at 6:48 am

    I hate these story every time the come up !
    i feel for those workers & their families that get sacrificed
    on the altar of “the Shareholders / corporate greed !!!
    The new engine is an attempt, but, maybe it is too little, too late ?
    if you are still the biggest seller of heavyweight motorcycles in the world
    Why are you laying people off ?
    Why don’t you cut the workforce in the South America plant or the India plant
    For being one of the iconic, ultimate American Brands, this does not send a good message

  39. 39 the "Bowery Boy" Sep 5th, 2016 at 9:07 am

    I’m 70 years old, have been riding since I was a teenager. My first “New Motorcycle” was a ’66 Norton 750cc Atlas, a great bike for the time. It cost $1285.00 out the door in 1967 (I’d just turned 21 years old and was driving a tractor trailer). I was earning around $12,000 per year. A Harley “Sportster” was under $1500 and a “Big Twin” with all the options would set you back roughly $2,200. Think about the prices of the current models, and today’s average salaries for young people, I don’t think its too surprising why Harley Davidson isn’t selling as well as it could. It seems priced out of the market for younger riders. Not to mention that today’s Harley Davidson Dealerships aren’t what they were in the past. The Service Departments make you feel less than a desired customer and the “Boutique” atmosphere of the Accessory Sales Departments, doesn’t carry a damned thing made in the USA, that I can find.
    I have an older Harley “UltraClassic”, with the Italian made Fuel Injection system, at my local Dealership, the Service Manager tends to act like they are doing me a favor to work on it. I have other motorcycles, I don’t have the same issues at Japanese Dealerships.
    I took a test ride of a “Dyna S” with the 110cu.in. CVO engine, nice bike, but my ZX-14R Kawasaki is a far better ride all around, I won’t even talk about “Faster”. My next “V Twin” will likely not be a Harley Davidson, unless I find a nice old “shovel head” FXRS at a decent price:-)

  40. 40 Hobo Tom Sep 5th, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Well nothing like a lay-off to kill off the good spirt at any place of work. As for HD I believe there at a big cross roads that could slowly end a company. I still believe today the classic HD sells. The truth about the future is different. What HD has that no other bike company has is it’s following. Today’s HD riders need to embrace the new bikes and the new rides as the Harley family. Don’t snub the sportster riders.
    When HD if or does make the first electric bike welcome this new bread of people. The electric bike I my option will invite a lot of new rides who might have wanted to ride. With the huge dealer net work all ready in place and make a battery swap program would help sell this bike. The men and women who can’t shift gear , can now get a real HD be part of one of the county’s largest group. Also a electric bike can be stored a lot easier than a gasoline one . Lot less maintenance. If HD puts this in a price range and plays this right they could once again be a leader.

  41. 41 Kent Sep 5th, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    If Harley’s were close to Indians or Victorys they would make sales to baby boomer too and maybe they wouldn’t be laying off workers!

  42. 42 Mike Sep 5th, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Some guy said trump and Harley, no future. Yeh, welfare Hillary is a future ? Wtf

  43. 43 RideOn Sep 6th, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    What does McDonalds, Wal-Mart and Harley-Davidson have in common? They’re all the biggest players in their market. They are all arrogant because they think they can do anyting without recourse. All of them are starting to pay for their arrogance by underestimating their smaller competition who are taking chunks from their business by offering a better/cheaper product.

    RideOn

  44. 44 Gary MacLean Sep 10th, 2016 at 2:57 am

    Harley has pandered to the tribe who thinks American Iron is the best and only way to go. Even if it meant making 100 year old designs they were too afraid to modernize for fear of offending their base who doesn’t know any better. The failure of sales of the V-Rod is a perfect example.

    700-lb plus motorcycles do not perform as well as bikes hundreds of pounds lighter. Other manufacturers have not been restrained by their traditionalist base and have free hands to use the latest engineering and metallurgy. The results have typically been better all-round bikes that are a joy to ride and own. For example, try riding a BMW R1200RT or R1200RS for a ride that is far sportier, easier to handle, and supremely comfortable.

    So Harley has chosen to ‘upgrade’ their bikes with 4-valve heads. Most other brands have been there and done that long ago. Too little too late? The bikes are still 2-wheel tractors with excessive weight hung everywhere.

    It’s not just reasonable labour laws and safety standards legislation that is cutting employment in the US. Globalization of the markets is a two edged sword. You want the cheaper goods at Walmart, then you wind up paying your money off-shore to have them made there. You don’t want to pay the higher hosts of having people employed here, then they will be laid off for lack of work.

    Economics 101……

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