Harley-Davidson Reopening Factories In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania

Motorcycle Sales Have Dropped During Coronavirus Pandemic

Harley Davidson Museum
Gretchen Brown/WPR

Harley-Davidson Inc. is resuming production at its United States plants after shutting down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Milwaukee-based company is reopening factories in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania after Memorial Day weekend with full staffing.

An employee at the Menomonee Falls factory tested positive for COVID-19 in March. That engine and drivetrain facility employs nearly 1,000 people.

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Harley-Davidson declined WPR’s request from an interview but released a statement:

“Harley-Davidson has begun a planned phased approach to resuming production in its facilities, following the guidelines of public health and regulatory authorities and keeping employee health and safety front and center. At all of its facilities, Harley-Davidson has implemented enhanced safety measures, protocols to support social distancing and is bolstering its already-rigorous cleaning and sanitation practices.”

The company has seen motorcycle sales drop during the pandemic. In an earnings call earlier this month, company officials said they planned on saving $250 million by reducing salaries, freezing hiring, and implementing other cuts to help with the reduction of sales.

Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz said during that call the company was revamping production by limiting the amount of new motorcycle production and not releasing new models until 2021.

The Wall Street Journal reports the company’s director of product sales said earlier this month about 70 percent of Harley Davidson dealers wouldn’t receive additional new motorcycles this year.

The company’s plan of action, called The Rewire, focuses on the market and products that will help the company grow. The company wants to reduce complexity in factories and increase the speed of decision-making.