When most of us hear the word “made in the USA” or think of an “all-American” brand, Harley Davidson quickly comes to our mind. For decades the Harley Davidson has been synonymous with American manufacturing and know-how. But in a new globalized world even the most famous “all-American” brand could not survive without global supply chains. So interestingly like many other industries, most Harley Davidson OEM parts and components nowadays are also produced outside of the United States. However the Harley Davidson motorcycles sold in the U.S. are still assembled inside the country. There are still four active Harley-Davidson plants located in three states. But many of its important parts and components such as the motorcycle suspension, the brakes, the clutches, the engine pistons, and most of the electronics are manufactured abroad in Japan, Italy, China, Austria, and Mexico and are then imported to the USA.
Why are Harley-Davidson OEM parts manufactured abroad?
You may ask why a famous American brand that has managed to survive all these decades would produce the components and parts for its motorcycles in other countries. Well the answer is really simple really. American companies really can’t compete anymore with foreign brands unless they outsource some or even most of their production abroad. So if they want to compete in terms of costs and quality they have no choice but to outsource a large portion of their production overseas. Harley-Davidson may even have to shift some of its assembly lines to other countries.
Is this bad news for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts?
I don’t think this will change anything really! I own a Harley-Davidson myself. But to be perfectly honest I had never even thought about where the parts and components for my Harley were manufactured before. So why would I care now? Actually I and other Harley enthusiasts should be happy that Harley-Davidson has decided to this. Because if it hadn’t made this strategic move, it may have easily become dust in the wind like so many other famous brands that we all used to love. Brands like Oldsmobile, Blockbuster, Pan-American, Compaq, Toys R US, and so many others. But even though it hasn’t been that many years since these brands no longer exist we have easily forgotten about most of these brands. So if this is what Harley-Davidson has to do to survive and continue manufacturing the motorcycles I love, I’m all for it.