Where Are Harley Davidson Motorcycles Made In The World?
Where are Harley Davidson motorcycles made? Can these motorcycles live up to the "made in America" title? These are just a few of the questions most riders, particularly those who own or are interested in owning a Harley Davidson find themselves asking.
Although the most common answer is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the real answer isn't quite as cut in stone. Read on to learn more:
Where Are Harley Davidson Motorcycles Made?
To get answers to the "where are Harley Davidson motorcycles made?" question, you need to understand how the company is organized. Consider the following:
1. Factories Within The United States
Essentially, the company maintains four factories within the United States. The factories include:
- York, Pennsylvania
- Tomahawk, Wisconsin
- Kansas City, Missouri
- Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
We can see that none of these are actually in Milwaukee, WI. In fact, the original Harley-Davidson Milwaukee factory is currently used as the corporate offices of the company. This location also houses the Harley Davidson museum.
Harley Davidson has taken great care to ensure that most of its assembly and manufacturing plants are based within the United States. The company's plant in York, PA was established in 1973 to assemble Softail, Trike, and Touring bike models. Additionally, the company paints, polishes, welds, and fabricates at this plant.
In the same way, most factory-custom and limited production Harley Davidson motorbikes are assembled at the facility in York. More notably, production at this location accounts for over 60% of the total motors the company produces.
Apart from the York factory, Harley-Davidson also assembles and manufactures its spare parts and motors in Menomonee Falls, Tomahawk, and Kansas City
2. International Operations
Harley Davidson Manaus, Brazil - Via Youtube
Beyond US borders, Harley Davidson owns and operates two major assembly and manufacturing plants in India and Brazil. The company opened its Manaus assembly plant in 1999. From then on, Harley-Davidson has used this location to assemble most of the motorbikes it sells within the Brazilian market.
The second international facility run by the company is at Bawal in India. Established in 2011, this factory mostly focuses on improving the flexibility of production, the responsiveness of the market, as well as general operations within the Indian market.
The Bawal plant also forms the location from which Harley-Davidson manufactures street motorbike models for other markets – including Portugal, Spain, and Italy, in addition to India.
3. Product Development Center
Harley Davidson runs a dedicated product development center, which is ideally situated in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Setup in 1997, this center is crucial to the success of the company. This is because it brings together the original development purchasing, styling, and equipment engineering groups in a single location.
At this venue, the company performs a wide variety of functions. These include but are not limited to development purchasing, styling, testing, and product development for Harley Davidson motorbikes.
4. How A Harley Is Made
Therefore, answers to the "where are Harley Davidson motorcycles made" question are varied depending on what one is looking for. Technically speaking, most of the Harley Davidson bikes sold within the United States market are not made in the country. They are only assembled locally.
That said, the company contracts most of the manufacturing of parts to it plants – some of which are located in different parts of the world. These locations include Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and Germany.
After manufacture, the parts are shipped to the Harley-Davidson factories in the United States. Interestingly, most of these are not just motorbike accessories. Rather, they comprise components for wheels, chassis, and engines.
At the moment, few can pinpoint the exact percentage of any Harley Davidson bike that is purely American made. After all, each model year and model tends to vary with the passage of time.
History Of Production Outside The United States
A Military Police Harley-Davidson WLA of the US Army
In 1929, the company actually signed a contract with a manufacturing plant based in Hiroshima, Japan. The Rikuo Internal Combustion Company continued producing Harley Davidson bikes (complete with the HD label) for use by the police and the military in Japan. This operation continued until 1958.
The Manaus, Brazil branch also makes Harley Davidson bikes. It mostly focuses on satisfying the demands of the Brazilian market. On the other hand, the Indian operation produces new Street 750 and 500 models.
One of the reasons given for the move by the company to shift its US-based factories abroad revolves around the increasingly high employee costs within the country. In particular, the 2008 recession affected Harley Davidson so much that its corporate value dropped by 43% within a year.
Further, the company has been seeing a shift in the motorcycle demographic around the globe. With every passing year, it seems like riders are increasingly becoming younger. Most of these young riders have a tendency towards smaller motorcycles. They are also not too fussy about buying purely American-made products.
To answer the "where are Harley Davidson motorcycles made", therefore, you need to understand that the company relies on the globe. However, most of the products it sells in the US are assembled within the country – albeit using tons of foreign-made parts.
The Made In America Question
For some riders in the US, the made in America' tag is important. This is especially so for die-hard Harley-Davidson enthusiasts and fans. Since this question mostly has to do with manufacturing and components, it is interesting to note that Harley Davidson is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The motorcycles are also represented as American motorbikes.
At the moment, hardly any Harley Davidson is purely American made. However, since most of the components are sourced from outside and assembled locally, it is safe to say that the bikes can be assumed to be American – in one way or the other.
Over and above everything else, everywhere would be the answer to the "where are Harley Davidson motorcycles made?" question. Although it is difficult to figure out the exact percentage of each bike that is made in the US, what is clearer is that Harley Davidson motorbikes are still stellar in terms of quality, craftsmanship, speed, and safety.
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