Harley-Davidson slashes workforce

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Harley-Davidson is laying off 1100 of its staff after posting a 58% loss in profits.

Sales of the firm’s machines are reported to have fallen by 13.1% in the third quarter of the financial year.  However, sales of the firm’s bikes in Europe and the UK have actually risen by 3% in the same period.

The Milwaukee firm plans to cut production by up to 13% in 2009, losing around 12% of its workers over the next two years.  

As part of the cutbacks, H-D will consolidate a number of engine and transmission plants, and close its US parts and accessories distribution centre, instead planning to use outside companies to take care of distribution.

H-D’s chief executive, Jim Ziemer, said: “We reduced our production levels in 2008, and we’re going to show similar discipline in 2009. Among other things, the Harley-Davidson brand stands for strength and resilience, and we’re managing the business in this economic climate in ways that we believe will build long-term value into the brand.”

It is not yet known if European Harley employees will be affected by the cuts in the firm’s workforce.

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