Import tariffs could lead to a 56% increase in taxes on + 800cc motorcycles – and while Harley Davidson has found itself in a pickle, Indian Motorcycles is cool as a cucumber.
Let’s talk about it.
It’s no surprise to us that HD has a few short-term decisions to work out. After all, the drama that surrounds their avoiDance of the EU import tariff trying to open a store in Thailand caused quite a bit of fuss – and after the April news that UK would tax all 800cc bikes + 56%, HD probably viewed the EU and US temporary shutdown / truce as a blessing.
“It is absolutely clear that relocating production in order to avoid punitive tariffs is not acceptable,” said the chairman of the European Parliament’s trade committee, Bernd Lange.
âSuch attempts are also clearly illegal under EU law (Customs Code, Section 59 and 2015 Implementing Act, Section 33), and Harley-Davidson has very openly described relocation (to Thailand) as a means ‘avoid the tariff charge’. in official reports.
In the midst of all this chaos, a clever article from RideApart found the eerie silence of Indian Motorcycles fascinating.
Indian, after all, operates similar circles – he’s an American motorcycle maker and his bikes have a European audience – so why aren’t they worried about the looming danger of exorbitant taxes on their Boy Scouts or FTRs?
âUnlike the Motor Company, the parent company of Indian Polaris operates a factory in Opole, Poland,â the report notes.
âThe factory mainly produces mountain bikes for the European market, but has also been manufacturing the Scout and FTR models since 2020. As such, the bikes come into the country as ‘completely disassembled’ parts kits, with assembly final performed in Poland. Since there is added value (jobs) created for the EU through practice, Indian Motorcycles circumvents import duties.
Meanwhile, HD is stuck in the proverbial chair in the corner because of Thailand; a move that may have avoided fees for a while, but ultimately did not serve the EU – hence why the The EU government revoked Harley’s Binding Origin Information (BOI) status and imposed higher taxes on them earlier this year.
The report then comments on a surprising set of figures; Harley-Davidson data shows the brand lost around $ 120 million due to 2019 and 2020 taxes.
Combine this with the December deadline decision for steel and aluminum prices between the EU and the US, and it is possible other tax demands could completely stifle HD from the European market – a heartbreaking concept, because there is a lot of money to be made in such a saturated economy. Bennett still ranks Harley-Davidson motorcycles as “the most desirable and best-selling cruisers of all”.
âSo far, Harley has not passed these tariffs on to buyers, but it will not work in the long run,â warned Matthias Meier, Managing Director of HD Factory Group.
“We are trying to defuse existing conflicts with the new US government,” Lange added of the relocation fiasco in Thailand. “I am optimistic that we can find a solution.”
With less than six weeks before the EU and US governments reach the deadline for the new steel and aluminum trade deal, Harley Davidson is running out of time – and if both sides fail not to find a common ground, the American manufacturer will absorb a load of tickets on their bigger bikes.
We will keep an attentive ear for you on any evolving stories related to this one; in the meantime, be sure to check out what europe is doing when it comes to emissions regulations and, as always, stay safe on the corners.