Harley-Davidson Planned Staff Cuts Will Cost $20 To $25 Million.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Tuesday. is expecting to book between $20 million and $25 million in severance costs related to its planned staff cuts. Last Thursday, Harley reported a 13 percent drop in domestic sales and slashed its full-year guidance, blaming the lagging economy for slowing sales of its iconic bikes. Harley said it plans to reduce motorcycle shipments to its dealers. Harley is cutting about 370 unionized production employees and 360 non-production jobs. The planned reductions represent about 6.5 percent of the company’s North American unionized production employees and about 10 percent of its North American non-production staff.

18 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Planned Staff Cuts Will Cost $20 To $25 Million.”

  1. 1 Apr 23rd, 2008 at 7:20 am

    It may be time to introduce a new model called the “Skinny Boy”. Maybe they could produce it in the USA with all USA made parts.

  2. 2 Slag Apr 23rd, 2008 at 8:03 am

    are you saying that Harley Davidson is producedoverseas with foreign parts ? Speak up goldiron.

  3. 3 Rodent Apr 23rd, 2008 at 8:39 am

    It’s time to dump the Buell..Harley people don’t want it cause it ain’t a tradional Harley and sports bikers don’t want it cause it ain’t a plastic fantastic ricky road racer. It’s a nitch bike without a nitch.
    As far as the V-rod it’s time for a complete makeover. The motor trans package is great and should be put into another chassis and it would probably sell better. The current VRod don’t sell. And stop dilluting the brand by licencing every piece of crap that has room for a bar and shield…Made in China…screw china!!!!

  4. 4 Apr 23rd, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Say it Rodent man…. Time to keep some stuff here at home …… While we still have a place to call home.

  5. 5 Apr 23rd, 2008 at 10:41 am

    sales are down almost everywhere, certainly not limited to the automotive/motorcycle industry. and what is one of the first things corporate america does when sales are down? they cut heads. “reduction in force” they like to call it. the $25M in severance costs could have gone a long way in maximizing efficiency in their operations, and resulted in expenditure savings well over what they project by reducing staff.

  6. 6 madpuppy Apr 23rd, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Yea Go Rodent ! >>>>>>RODENT For President !!

  7. 7 Evo Apr 23rd, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Harley has been the bell-whether for the motorcycle industry’s success over the past 15 years. This will only be the start of the downward spiral, if we thought it was already happening, just watch. This is only the start.

    The good news is that the HD resale market is extremely infalted, and has been for some time now, fueled by doctor and lawyer “bad boy” mentality pocketbooks, OCC and couch potato biker TV, so at least the used market will become more affordable for the rest of us.

    It is a shame to see people lose their jobs in a recession (that’s right, I said it) and evben more so… good shops are going away do the lack of business… again, fueled by the “hey, I watch TV and have tattoos, lets opena chopper shop” mentality. I know some good shops have come out of this craze… but some great shops ahve been pushed under to to over supply vs. demand. I mean… come on… do we really need “Choppers and Donuts” across the street from “Easy Riding Chopper Shop #4” (no S*&$%, this exists)!


  8. 8 Kephas Apr 23rd, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    It’s always the production/support staff that get the ax. Then, the corporate executives blame the economy. The economy is fine if you have a product that sells under the current conditions. Just ask a Metric Cruiser or a Victory dealer. They are moving bikes left and right. I walked into a Harley/Metric dealer over the weekend. The Harley inventory is the same as my last visit. The Metric section was cleared and full of new inventory.

    News Flash: Gas is over the top. My Harley gets 44 mpg. Do the math!


    Take the 25m from the large, numb heads in the executive offices. Send them packing. They are not spending anytime deep in their markets. They are clueless (they can afford a fill-up). The production staff knows you problems. You just won’t ask and you’re not interested in their insight. Here’s a freebie Harley: Build a cool stripped down bobber with some HP for under 10K. Watch the next generation fill your stores! Keep the cool baggers for us older fellas.

    I hate to see good people doing what their told to do loose their jobs. It’s a shame.

    My two cents.

  9. 9 Apr 23rd, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I would not consider now being the time to “dump” Buell for various reasons.

    1. European sales for Buell are strong.

    2. How much did HD just invest for the new Rotax platform?

    US Sales for Buell could be stronger if it were not for HD dealerships. There are increasing number of incidents of potential Buell buyers having horrid experiences at HD dealerships. These examples are leaving new deals on the HD dealerships desks and/or stopping repeat buyers.

    If those blatant examples don’t do it for you, then the not-so-blatant examples (but still profoundly negative) should give you a clue that HD dealerships are hurting Buell sales. For example, dealerships that put brand new Buells in the pre-owned building or on the pre-owned floor of the dealership. What manufacturer would find that a good practice?

    This unfortunate topic makes you wonder if it would be better for Buell if they were bought by another company, not the other way around.

    Generation tastes are changing….sportbike sales have been on the rise for years. These sales were up18% in 2006

    When the current generation of 20 – 35 yr olds are in their 40’s & 50’s, the demand for a cruiser probably will not be as great as it is today At that time (20 years hence), these riders will want something that behaves similarly to the performance bikes they are riding now. A Buell Sport tourer would be relatively easy to put on the market should that market segment be much larger than the cruiser market. If HD “dumps” Buell now, where will HD be then?

  10. 10 jspfc Apr 23rd, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    I agree with Kephas that Harley needs to make a stripped down bobber for under 10k. I disagree with Evo that good shops are going out of business. Maybe talented builders and good mechanics, but if they were truly “good” shops with good business people running them, they would have predicted that the boom wasnt going to continue and done something different to keep customers coming in. They would also adapt to the fact that it isn’t a builders market but a buyers market now so the old, it costs what it costs and it will get done when it gets done, doesnt fly any more.

    I also disagree that the downfall of Harley will resonate throughout the industry. For the last 20 years, Harley hasn’t had much competition. Now with the large number of aftermarket companies making frames, engines, wheels, etc. building your own bike has become more affordable.(Especially when you pay $17k for a Harley and then another $5k in upgrades) Who wants to have the same thing in their garage as the guy next door when you can have someone build you what you want for almost the same cost.

  11. 11 Sax Apr 23rd, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Harley will do everyting to keep gpoing and that includes continueing buying parts from the orient which they have for quiet sometime. Japan,China,Korea, they don’t give a dam as long as Americans buy the crap.

  12. 12 Sax Apr 23rd, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Pardon my spelling. I should have typed it in Japanese

  13. 13 Apr 23rd, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    I think Harley needs to add something to its line that no one seems to want to mention, so I’ll say it… Harley hasn’t made a really cool, good looking motorcycle since it introduced the Softail over 20 years ago.
    The V-Rod was expected to make a real bang, but barely made a splash in the pan, wanna know why? IT’S UGLY!!!!
    The Buells are cool, quick, and as Rodent so elliquently put it, “has no audience”. And, THEY ARE UGLY!!!!
    The weird adaptations of the normal Harley line-up that Willie G. is notorious for twisting into totally unsellable bikes, like the boat-tail Night Train back in the day, and the new Rocker, and other Softail styling disasters today… UGLY UGLY UGLY!!!!!
    In fact, most of us that read & comment in Cyril’s blog, are riders and customizers of the Harley brand, and some (like me) make a living doing it, and have done so for years. Still, Harley refuses to take note that this is happening because THEY CONTINUE TO MAKE UGLY MOTORCYCLES!
    So here is my advice to Harley-Davidson, take cues from the aftermarket as to what their customers actually want, instead of just giving them something to start with, and watch the numbers begin to rise again. Of course I don’t expect them to look down their arrogant noses long enough to pay any more attention than they ever have, but I feel it needed to be said, in plain language, so there!

  14. 14 J Apr 25th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Good point- a popular product cures a lot of production ills. Give the people something they WANT to buy, they’ll find a way to do it.

    That said, while I feel sorry for the factory workers, they’ll get a nice package. And very true, Harley is WAY top heavy with management- seriously, how many chiefs do you need to run a 4 bike product line which changes basic design about once every significant glacier movement?

    Worse off, however, will be the independent retailers, who were forced by Harley to load up on overhead during the fat times, and don’t have any cushy safety net when things get lean. Where is your culpability, Harley? I can see some of the sharper dealers bring suit against Harley, trying to defray some of the massive upgrade costs they incurred, only because Harley told them they had to do it or die.

    How will we know its the bottom? Easy- when you see a contraction in the dealer base.

  15. 15 burnout Apr 26th, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I buy a LOT of HD parts in a year. My nearest dealer’s overhead is mindboggling. I don’t know how he does it. Buell is a RACE bike….ride one. I love em but I see more first time riders on ‘Busas and huge “sport tourers” crashing. How many different styles of a Vrod can we come up with? Hell, let OCC “design” the next ones! How about one for each day of the week? One to celebrate lesser known holidays like National mental health awareness day? it could happen. peace

  16. 16 Nicker Apr 28th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    “… line-up that Willie G. is notorious for twisting into totally unsellable bikes…”

    Is that in keeping with his penchant for dressing up like Che Guevara…… 🙂

    On the other hand, the V-rod was way cool (IMHO, anyway).

    But i’m with Hoyt on this. Dumping Buell would be a mistake. That’s the new direction.

    Gas at $5 a gallon won’t kill large displacement cruisers. But it can’t help.


  17. 17 Apr 29th, 2008 at 12:02 am

    I have to disagree Nicker,
    I think the V-Rod is a styling disaster, there’s just no way to knock the ugly off it, it goes to the bone. I think it feels cumbersome and heavy for its size too, so it doesn’t really work as a performance bike or a cruiser. The Buell on the other hand, had my full attention until the recent Rotex changes, once again, the styling goons at H.D. have went right to the trash can again.

  18. 18 Nicker Apr 30th, 2008 at 12:40 am


    Can’t much argue with ya over style, it’s a matter of taste.

    I’m with ya on the new Buell.
    Loved the air cooled ones, especially hotrodded.
    But they put the ugly-stick to their new hot rod.

    For my taste the V-rod looked cool….. ?
    But i sure didn’t like the seating position.
    Style wise it may have done to the traditional HD look what the New VW beetle did to the old VW bug look.

    Some retro re-dos seem to work (mini-cooper, PT cruiser) and some don’t (T-bird, VW).
    Who knows why………?


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