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H-D considering leaving Wisconsin

The Motor Company looking to cut $54 million in costs

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, May. 03, 2010
It was only a couple of weeks ago that Harley-Davidson almost became Wisconsin’s official state motorcycle.

Today, Harley-Davidson is threatening to pull out of the state if it can’t find a way cut $54 million in manufacturing costs.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Harley-Davidson warned employees April 29 about the possibility of relocation. Wisconsin is Harley-Davidson’s home state, and the Motor Company has three factories in the state. Menomonee Falls, Wis., (located within metropolitan Milwaukee) is home to Harley-Davidson’s powertrain operations while workers in Tomahawk, Wis., produce sidecars, saddlebags and windshields. Production at the third factory, located in Wauwatosa, Wis., was already being shifted to the Menomonee Falls facility. Menomonee Falls plant employs about 1,320 workers while about 375 employees work at the Tomahawk factory.

“Our preference is to keep the production operations in Wisconsin, but as part of due diligence we will also explore alternate U.S. sites” if necessary, company spokesman Bob Klein told the Journal Sentinel. No prospective sites have been named.

Harley-Davidson's powertrain operations employ 1,320 workers in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has stated he will do what he can to keep Harley-Davidson in the state. Barrett met with company executives and said he will also contact union representatives as well as Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.

Earlier in the month, the Wisconsin State Assembly considered a bill that would name Harley-Davidson the state’s official motorcycle. The bill failed to reach the Senate in time for its final session of the year.