Harley-Davidson plans to close its Kansas City motorcycle assemb - KCTV5 News

Harley-Davidson plans to close its Kansas City motorcycle assembly plant in July 2019

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An unidentified worker assembles a motorcycle on line at the Harley Davidson plant in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Jan. 6, 2006. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) An unidentified worker assembles a motorcycle on line at the Harley Davidson plant in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Jan. 6, 2006. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

About 800 jobs in Kansas City will be cut when Harley-Davidson closes their motorcycle assembly plant in the coming months.

The company stated in their fourth-quarter earnings release that they will consolidate with their plant in York, PA to "further improve its manufacturing operations and cost structure by commencing a multi-year manufacturing optimization initiative."

Harley-Davidson says they expect to incur restructuring and other consolidation costs of $170 to $200 million and capital investment of approximately $75 million over the next two years. They also expect ongoing annual cash savings of $65 to $75 million after 2020.

"The decision to consolidate our final assembly plants was made after very careful consideration of our manufacturing footprint and the appropriate capacity given the current business environment. Our Kansas City assembly operations will leave a legacy of safety, quality, collaboration and manufacturing leadership," said Matt Levatich, Harley-Davidson’s president and chief executive officer.

One employee who spoke to KCTV5 News says they haven’t been given any options as it relates to their future with Harley-Davidson. But the company says their Pennsylvania plant will add about 450 jobs as a result of this closure. 

The employee says he showed up to work in the morning and was told the plant would be closing, then workers were sent home for the day. Layoffs are expected to begin in a few months. 

Machinists Union International President Robert Martinez Jr., released the following statement on Harley-Davidson’s announcement that it will close its Kansas City manufacturing facility:

“Kansas City is suffering the consequences of Harley-Davidson’s continued neglect of its North American workforce and ridership. Harley-Davidson has yet to put together a program that increases market share in North America with motorcycles made here, instead of overseas. Why can’t Harley-Davidson manufacture its new electric motorcycle in Kansas City? This company’s executive leadership team is letting Harley-Davidson’s foundation crumble.

Hundreds of working families are now wondering what their future holds because of this self-proclaimed American icon’s insistence on shipping our jobs to Asia and South America. I’m sick of seeing our jobs disappear or turn into part-time work. We hope investors and policy-makers join our call to finally bring our jobs home. I am employing every resource necessary to assist Kansas City and our membership.”

The plant is expected to close in July 2019.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James issued the following statement:

"Although we are disappointed that Harley-Davidson will be closing its plant, it’s also important to realize there are more and more opportunities in our region everyday for new jobs with bright futures as well as opportunities for retraining. For example, our partnerships with LaunchCode and TechHire have led to hundreds of Kansas Citians becoming trained for IT and advanced manufacturing jobs with exciting futures, and projects like the new single terminal airport and downtown convention hotel will require thousands of skilled workers."

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver issued the following statement:

“I am saddened to learn that Kansas City is losing a major employer and a good corporate citizen, Harley-Davidson Incorporated. I remember aggressively seeking and fighting for the motorcycle assembly plant to set up in Kansas City when I was mayor. Many cities vied for the plant and the hundreds of jobs it would bring. Now, to see it close and the reported 800 people out of work or making the difficult decision to relocate, is disappointing. Kansas City is still a vital economic hub and sought out by many for its technology sector. I have no doubt it will continue to attract lucrative businesses to replace those lost jobs.”

In the fourth quarter, Harley-Davidson worldwide retail motorcycle sales declined 9.6 percent versus the prior year.

Harley-Davidson retail motorcycle sales in the United States were down 11.1 percent, and the overall industry was down 6.5 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. 

The shutdown will impact 800 employees, some that Gail's Harley Davidson General Manager Don Hayes says are friends. 

“Harley Davidson’s been a staple in our community for a while and that decision being in our backyard hits closes to home," Hayes said. 

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