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Harley-Davidson hint at building bikes in Europe

Published: 28 May 2019

Updated: 28 May 2019

Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich has said the US giant may consider building bikes in Europe if the US vs EU trade war doesn’t cool off soon. Speaking on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Alley’, Levatich admitted their decision to maintain prices and swallow the recently increased cost of tariffs is costing the firm dearly.

"About $100 million (£78 million) a year is what we are covering in order to protect our business in Europe," Levatich told the show. He said the decision to absorb these costs is essential to maintain their position ahead of the upcoming launch of their LiveWire electric motorcycle and increased electric platform.

Harley-Davidson have been caught up in an escalating trade war between Europe and the US, which has seen import tariffs rise to 31%. Short of a big political change the tariffs will rise to 56% in two years’ time, which would give the American firm no option but to consider an alternative approach.

Levatich said they are currently exploring importing bikes into the EU via their factory in Thailand but if that fails he said they would consider going "through another investment possibly within the European Union."

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