ETX Harley Davidson fans react to company changes

Updated: Jun. 26, 2018 at 6:26 PM CDT
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Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Fans of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in East Texas responded Tuesday to the company's decision to move partial production to factories in foreign countries.

For loyal Harley-Davidson enthusiast Bill Seabourne, the company's decision set off a domino effect that he's not happy with.

"The sad part of it is two things - number one, American workers are losing jobs," Seabourne said. "And, number two, the American-made bikes that we value as Harley owners so much are not going to be American made anymore."

Tariffs from overseas recently added around $2,000 to the price of the American-made good, which the company felt was too big of a cost.

However,, those at the Nacogdoches location believe that production in places like Brazil and India won't hurt stock in the US.

"It really hasn't affected our market, as far as people are concerned," said store manager, Tom Moore. "I feel like a lot of people understand what's going on and, to keep Harley the brand that they are, this is a move that we have to make."

Moore said he understands that the plan isn't perfect.

"That's not the ideal answer for Harley-Davidson, but it is what we can do right now to keep the momentum moving in the right direction," Moore said.

Some customers added that they're more interested in how the product is made not where.

"I'm going to look at quality over anything else," said customer and Gypsies Motorcycle Club member Jack Noble.

According to the company, Europe accounts for 17 percent of total sales.

"It's a business decision," Noble said. "Logistically, it makes sense. I understand there's a money value in play, but it just makes sense."

Other buyers see the move as an insult to the company's birthplace.

"I'm not big on moving out of the United States," said Lumberjack Harley HOG Director Roger Jones. "I think that they could find another way to do it."

One of Harley-Davidson's largest factories in Kansas will be closing following this decision.

The company stated that 450 jobs would be moved to the Pennsylvania location out of the 800 positions.

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