In a Form 8-K filing to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on June 25 (as required of public corporations in possession of news that can materially affect the interests of shareholders) Harley-Davidson stated that …
The European Union has enacted tariffs on various U.S.-manufactured products, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
These tariffs, which became effective June 22, 2018, were imposed in response to the tariffs the U.S. imposed on steel and aluminum exported from the EU to the U.S.
Consequently, EU tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles exported from the U.S. have increased from 6% to 31%. Harley-Davidson expects these tariffs will result in an incremental cost of approximately $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU.
Harley-Davidson believes the tremendous cost increase, if passed onto its dealers and retail customers, would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business in the region, reducing customer access to Harley-Davidson products and negatively impacting the sustainability of its dealers’ businesses.
Therefore, Harley-Davidson will not raise its manufacturer’s suggested retail prices or wholesale prices to its dealers to cover the costs of the retaliatory tariffs. In the near-term, the company will bear the significant impact resulting from these tariffs, and the company estimates the incremental cost for the remainder of 2018 to be approximately $30 to $45 million.
|Harley CEO Matt Levatich is on record as stating that he believed that import tariffs on steel and aluminum would hurt Harley-Davidson and other U.S. manufacturers|
To address the substantial cost of this tariff burden long-term, Harley-Davidson will be implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for EU destinations from the U.S. to its international facilities to avoid the tariff burden. Harley-Davidson expects ramping up production in international plants will require incremental investment and could take at least 9 to 18 months to be fully complete.
Harley-Davidson maintains a strong commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally. Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company’s preference but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe. Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson.
In 2017, nearly 40,000 riders bought new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Europe, and the revenue generated from the EU countries is second only to the U.S.
Harley-Davidson’s purpose is to fulfill dreams of personal freedom for customers who live in the European Union and across the world, and the company remains fully engaged with government officials in both the U.S. and the EU helping to find sustainable solutions to trade issues and rescind all tariffs that restrict free and fair trade.
Harley-Davidson will provide more details of the financial implications and plans to mitigate the impact of retaliatory EU tariffs during the company’s second quarter earnings conference call on July 24, 2018, at 8:00AM CDT.