Harley Davidson to Shut Down Kansas City Plant
Written by: Colin M.
While most other industries recovered from the last recession, the motorcycle industry is still in hard times. Motorcycle sales plummeted in 2008 and have continued to decrease ever since. Companies have released new models and new technology in an attempted to gain consumers, however, all have proved unsuccessful. This problem proved unsuccessful for all companies including the industries top manufacturer, Harley Davidson. According to MSN, “Harley made $8.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with $47.18 million in the fourth quarter of 2016”(Shilling). With most of their consumers being the baby boomers, they are no longer able to ride as they get older. The hit that Harley is taking may be too big to come back from.
This years fourth quarter profits down over 80% compared to last years fourth quarter profits, and their sales have been steadily declining for years. Retail motorcycle sales for Harley-Davidson internationally, and in the U.S. fell by an average of over 6% in 2017 compared to 2016. Some of the information behind the hit in sales is linked with the lack of safety. With younger generations having safety concerns and the baby boomers, who are a large demographic of their consumers, are getting older. Overall this is leading to a large decrease in demand for Harley’s products.
Due to the struggle in the last few years, Harley-Davidson has made the decision to shut down their third largest United States facility. The Kansas City plant is to be closed in 2019, losing almost 15% of their employees. The workload the plant previously held will be transferred to their plant in York, PA. While this may seem like a big blow to the company, if they are able to keep production up by increasing efficiency, it should help increase revenue.
Additionally at their plant in York, is where their electric motorcycle will be produced starting 2019. The electric motorcycle is also part of their plan to acquire new riders and consumers. Since electric motorcycles don’t have a transmission, the rider doesn’t have to learn how to shift gears. Production of the electric motorcycle also internally benefits the company, as it will bring in 450 new jobs. Harley-Davidson is doing everything they can to keep relevant and succeed, only time will tell if it pays off.
An electric motorcycle. “An Electric Harley-Davidson Is Coming in 2019.” CNNMoney, Cable News
Network, 30 Jan. 2018,
Shilling, Erik. “Harley-Davidson Is Sad And Getting Sadder.” Harley-Davidson Is Sad And Getting
Sadder, 31 Jan. 2018,