Trump warns Harley-Davidson: ‘We won’t forget’

A convoy of some 200 Harley-Davidson bikers from all over the world ride through the desert in Wadi Rum, 320 km south of Amman in Jordan. (File photo: Reuters)

US President Donald Trump continued his attacks on the legendary Harley-Davidson motorcycle company on Wednesday, warning “we won’t forget” after the firm said it planned to shift some manufacturing offshore.

“Harley-Davidson should stay 100% in America, with the people that got you your success,” Trump said in a tweet.

“I’ve done so much for you, and then this. Other companies are coming back where they belong! We won't forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!” 

S&P warns of downgrade 

Meanwhile, ratings agency S&P warned on Wednesday that Harley-Davidson faces a possible debt downgrade, while President Trump continued to lambast the company.

S&P Global Ratings place the company on credit watch, citing an expected hit of up $100 million annually from the effect of EU tariffs on motorcycles imposed in retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on metal and steel imports.

Harley-Davidson announced on Monday that it would absorb the costs of the tariff in the short-run, which meant taking a hit to its near-term profits.

But the iconic American brand also said it plans to shift some motorcycle manufacturing to overseas factories as a way to avoid the tariffs.

“The CreditWatch placement reflects our belief that near-term cost increases due to retaliatory tariffs recently imposed by the EU, combined with other significant headwinds, could cause margin deterioration and increase business risks over the next several years,” S&P said.

S&P said it might lower the “A-“ grade on the company’s debt if sales are weak. The credit agency will make a decision on the rating following the Harley’s second-quarter earnings report, which will be released in July.

The S&P announcement came as Trump continued to berate Harley-Davidson on Twitter. The president had hailed the company as a US icon in the early days of his presidency, but has repeatedly flogged the company over this week’s announcement.

“Harley-Davidson should stay 100% in America, with the people that got you your success,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also joined the fray, expressing his disappointment.

Trump has been “a big advocate of Harley-Davidson and American products, so I don’t know why Harley-Davidson would now come out and say they’re moving production,” Mnuchin told CNBC.

Shares of Harley-Davidson rose 0.4 percent to $41.49 in midday trading, after declining nearly seven percent in the prior two sessions.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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