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Harley dealers respond to Trump’s support of boycotting company’s motorcycles

August 24, 2018
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George Gatto Jr. talks inside his Tarentum showroom about the success of the Harley Davidson brand and how his clients embrace it. Monday August 13, 2018.

Two major Harley-Davidson dealers in Western Pennsylvania expressed little concern Monday about President Trump supporting a boycott of the motorcycle company in a weekend Twitter post.

Trump said in the post that many Harley owners “plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas.”

The Twitter post followed a meeting Saturday between the president and about 180 bikers who are part of a “Bikers for Trump” group, according to the Associated Press.

The Wisconsin-based company announced in June it would start manufacturing in Europe the motorcycles that it sells there, blaming the change on tariffs the European Union imposed in response to Trump’s tariffs on some European products.

The company’s American-made motorcycles would continue to be sold in the U.S.

When most customers of Tarentum’s Gatto Harley-Davidson learn that, they tend to drop their concerns over Harley-Davidson’s Europe decision, said George Gatto, the company’s president.

“I think most people get it,” Gatto said.

Gatto, who said he avoids politics in business and his personal life, added that the company doesn’t plan to make any changes in response to the escalating feud between Harley-Davidson and Trump.

James McMahan, owner of Z&M Harley-Davidson in Greensburg, said most of his customers aren’t bothered by Harley-Davidson manufacturing motorcycles in Europe that it sells in Europe.

“It really isn’t that they’re trying to take the business out of the United States,” he said.

The company has said the tariffs would cost it as much as $100 million each year. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for a response Monday.

Gatto said the company hasn’t announced plans to raise prices on its American motorcycles because of Trump’s tariffs.

He said that when it comes to the Harley-Davidson motorcycles built in the U.S., several parts including fuel injectors and tires are made outside the country, and that fact hasn’t driven people from the 115-year-old company’s products.

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