Almost three years after laying off close to 200 people from its Kansas City assembly plant, officials from Harley-Davidson have announced that they are closing the plant for good.
Worldwide sales of Harley-Davidson products were down more than 6 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year. Because of the declining sales, Harley-Davidson says it will consolidate the Kansas City plant with the plant in York, Pa., by 2019, a move that the company expects will save up to $75 million after 2020. Word of the closing came in a news release the company issued early today.
“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,” said Matt Levatich, the company’s president and CEO. “Our Kansas City assembly operations will leave a legacy of safety, quality, collaboration and manufacturing leadership.”
According to the release from Harley-Davidson, worldwide retail motorcycle sales declined 9.6 percent versus the prior year. Harley-Davidson U.S. retail motorcycle sales were down 11.1 percent and the overall industry was down 6.5 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Harley-Davidson U.S. market share was 50.8 percent in the 601+cc segment in the fourth quarter.
This is not the first time that Harley-Davidson has made moves between Kansas City and York. Just last summer the company announced they would be laying off workers in Kansas City just a few months after they had moved 118 employees from York to Kansas City. Tuesday’s announcement about consolidating the plants happened less than a year after the 118 jobs were sent to KC from York. About 800 jobs are expected to be cut from Kansas City.