Harley-Davidson to close Kansas City assembly plant

Posted at 8:06 AM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-30 11:53:17-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Harley-Davidson plans to close the Kansas City motorcycle assembly plant. 

According to Harley-Davidson’s full-year 2017 results report, the company plans to improve manufacturing operations and cost structure by commencing a "multi-year manufacturing optimization initiative" anchored by the consolidation of its motorcycle assembly plant in Kansas City, Missouri into its plant in York, Pennsylvania. The report doesn't say when the plant will close. 

Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich said on a conference call Tuesday morning the company is shifting its mindset from "we build motorcycles" to "we build riders." He also said they expect approximately 800 jobs will be eliminated with the closure of the Kansas City plant, and 450 jobs will be added in York by 2019. 

"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. Our Kansas City assembly operations will leave a legacy of safety, quality, collaboration and manufacturing leadership," said Levatich in the report. 

The report says Harley-Davidson expects to incur restructuring and other consolidation costs of $170 to $200 million and capital investment of about $75 million over the next two years and expects ongoing annual cash savings of $65 to $75 million after 2020. 

Harley-Davidson sent Scripps station KSHB in Kansas City the following statement: 

As we continue to improve our cost structure and maintain world-class manufacturing operations, we are launching a significant, multi-year manufacturing optimization initiative that is anchored in the consolidation of our Kansas City, Mo. final assembly operations into our York, Pa. final assembly plant.

This decision was made after very careful consideration of our manufacturing footprint and the appropriate capacity given the current business environment. We are constantly evaluating capacity and our current U.S. capacity exceeds U.S. demand. Approximately 800 full-time, causal and contract positions will be impacted at the Kansas City plant. Layoffs are expected to begin mid-year and the facility will close in the third quarter of 2019. We anticipate an increase of approximately 450 full-time, casual and contractor positions will be added at our York facility, which will be expanded to support additional production.

This was a decision we did not take lightly. The Kansas City plant has been assembling Harley-Davidson motorcycles since 1997, and our employees will leave a great legacy of quality, pride and manufacturing leadership. We are grateful to them and the Kansas City community for their many years of support and their service to our dealers and our riders.