Harley-Davidson Begins Scouting Future Manufacturing Locations

In a move eerily reminiscent of events that unfolded in 2009, Harley-Davidson is again threatening one of its host manufacturing cities that it could move operations out of state if significant cost gaps are not addressed.

This time, though, the city in question is the very city where William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson and Walter Davidson assembled the first Harley-Davidson prototype in a shed in the Davidson’s back yard in 1903: Milwaukee, Wis.

According to the Business First of Louisville, Harley-Davidson officials have already “begun examining out-of-state locations” for manufacturing operations currently located in Menomonee Falls and Tomahawk, Wis.; at stake are about 1,700 jobs in Wisconsin, 1,300 of which are in Milwaukee.

In December Harley-Davidson opted to keep its biggest manufacturing plant in York, Pa., after several months of narrowing a list of cities to which it said it would move operations if other cost gaps weren’t addressed. The list of cities was: Kansas City, Mo.; Shelbyville, Ind., near Indianapolis; Murfreesboro, Tenn., in suburban Nashville, Tenn.; and Shelbyville, Ky., in Shelby County near Louisville, Ky.

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