Trump says his Harley voters oppose production shift overseas

Employee motorcycles are parked outside of the headquarters of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Inc. risks losing customers if it shifts production overseas.

“I think they’re going to take a big hit,” Trump said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo taped on Friday and broadcast on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “Those are my voters,” he added. “They don’t want Harley Davidson getting cute to make two dollars more.”

The European Union’s retaliation to Trump’s steel and aluminium levies will cost about $2,200 per motorcycle shipped to Harley’s second-biggest market in the world, the company has estimated. So it’s shifting the production of bikes for European riders to unspecified overseas plants.

Milwaukee-based Harley sells no motorcycles in the US that are built overseas, and the company has said that’s not going to change.

Trump tweeted about Harley-Davidson on three consecutive days last week, including a lament that “ I’ve done so much for you, and then this.” But the company has long produced motorcycles in foreign countries for other markets, including at an assembly plant in Brazil opened two decades ago.

The planned production shift is about products destined for EU markets to avoid 31% tariffs on those made in America. The company’s stock is down 17% this year.

Asked if he should, as president, be calling out specific companies by name when he disagrees with their actions, Trump said: “yes, I should.”

“Everyone who ever bought a Harley-Davidson voted for Trump,” he said.