Harley-Davidson Now A Japanese Status Symbol

By December 4, 2007Report from America

hd_logo.gifHarley-Davidson motorcycles, with their distinctive chrome styling and rumbling sound, are as American as apple pie.

But NAM employees who went on a tour of the company’s sprawling York, Pa., plant this week found out Harleys are going worldwide. In fact, tour guide Dave Spangler said Harleys have become a “status symbol” in Japan, a nation that is no slouch when it comes to motorcycle manufacturing.

Harley-Davidson Inc. shipped 13,300 motorcycles to Japan in 2006, up from less than 5,000 in 1997 when Japan dropped some regulatory barriers that had throttled sales, said Wayne Curtin, Harley Davidson’s government affairs director.

A matter of fact, Curtin said opening foreign markets is a top priority for Harley Davidson. The Senate is scheduled to vote on a Peru trade pact today, which could help boost motorcycle sales there, Curtin said.

It’s also important the U.S. also approve trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Columbia because these deals would also make Harleys more affordable in those countries, Curtin said.
“The free trade agreements take tariffs of 8 percent to 20 percent and takes them to zero,” he said.

The 40-or-so NAM employees who took the tour of Harley-Davidson’s ultra-modern manufacturing floor, which featured robotic pressers and laser cutters, found out some more facts about the 104-year-old company.

Take our quiz. The answers are in the extended entry of this blog entry:

1. Harley-Davidson ships about 330,000 motorcycles a year. How many go to foreign countries?
A: 50%
B: 20%
C: 5%
D. 30%

2. Which president has not visited the Harley-Davison plant in York, Pa.?
A. Bill Clinton
B. George Bush
C. Ronald Reagan
D. Jimmy Carter

3. How fast can workers build a Harley-Davidson motorcycle?
A. 4 hours
B. 12 hours
C. 2 hours
D. 24 hours

4. Harley-Davidson offers a motorcycle paint color called “Jake and Elwood” blue. Who was this shade named in honor of?
A. The Blue Angels
B. Two plant workers
C. The Blues Brothers
D. St. Louis Blues hockey team members

Answers: 1.B 2.D 3.C 4.C

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