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Harley owners plan boycott after some manufacturing moves overseas

Harley owners plan boycott after some manufacturing moves overseas
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Some Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners say they will abandon the company if it goes through with plans to shift some production overseas.

Several owners who spoke to The New York Times at a recent rally in South Dakota, said they planned to stop purchasing bikes from the Wisconsin-based brand as a result of the company's announcement to move some of its production out of the U.S.

The decision, announced in late June, was prompted by retaliatory tariffs on motorcycles from the European Union following President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE's decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum on the EU and other longtime U.S. allies. 

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“I’m riding my last Harley,” 67-year-old biker Gary Rathbun told the Times. “It was American made, and that’s why we stood behind them.”

Gary Panapinto, a machinist from Illinois, added that Harley-Davidson should keep its manufacturing facilities entirely U.S.-based if it plans to sell in a U.S. market.

“They need to keep them here in the United States, especially if they’re going to sell them here,” Panapinto said. “I think Trump is just trying to protect jobs in the U.S.”

Harley-Davidson has stated that it will only move production of bikes sold outside the U.S. to Europe, citing rising costs from European Union tariffs on its products.

Some bikers told the Times that the company was merely using Trump's tariffs as an excuse to outsource production.

“They’re always advertising that they’re made in America, so I don’t think they should do it,” said one biker, Oliver Lapointe, who said he rides Japanese bikes. “They’re greedy.”

Trump has vacillated between attacking Harley-Davidson for its plans and pleading with the company to keep its production entirely in the U.S.

"Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!" he tweeted last month.