Many had started to fear the worst for the American motorcycle manufacturer as European sales of its products could have been slashed if import tariffs of 56% were to go ahead next month.
The European Union had decided to hit American imports with a higher rate of 31% after a political row had broken out with former US President Trump’s administration which had imposed higher import tariffs on European products. Harley Davidson found themselves caught in the middle of this tit-for-tat ongoing negotiation but decided to take action and find a loophole. In the meantime, the EU then imposed a much greater import tariff of 56%.
They shifted a lot of their motorcycle production to Thailand in order to be able to deliver motorcycles to the EU for only 6% import tariffs, however, the EU in April 2021 announced that any products form the US company, regardless of manufacturing origin would face the higher 56%.
But on 24th May 2021 the EU back tracked somewhat whilst improving negotiations continued with the new US Biden administration, and they delay the higher tariff imposition for another 6 months, however this still means that import tariffs would not be allowed at 6%, but rather at the original rate of 31%
So, on the 1st June 2021, the Harley Davidson products sold around Europe and the United Kingdom would see a substantial increase in price, thus leading to a diminishing market for what many believe is already a product with average qualities and performance but inflated price tags.
For the entry level Softail Standard in the UK which already is priced at £12,995 this could mean the retail price could increase by a further £3200 or so to a total of over £16,200.
The Pan America currently at base price £14,000 could increase to £17,500 and a Road Glide Special base price at £24,995 could increase to £31,200
This could indeed be catastrophic for overall motorcycle and product sales in the Europe and the UK. Perhaps slightly less so than if the tariff were at 56% but still considerably more than the 6% the company were hoping and had planned for.
Harley Davidson company are considering a legal appeal on this imposition, whilst trade negotiations are ongoing between the US and the EU…however for the European customer, this could be the final nail in the coffin for their Harley Davidson preferences.
It might just be wise to hold onto your wallets for a while yet until the dust settles!
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