Harley-Davidson says it has temporarily halted production at its factory in York, Pennsylvania.
It’s the second such shutdown for that factory in as many years, in a time of great demand for motorcycles in general. In 2022, Harley-Davidson shut down the same plant due to parts supply issues. Back then, Harley-Davidson said “This decision, taken out of an abundance of caution, is based on information provided by a third-party supplier to Harley-Davidson late on Tuesday (5/17) concerning a regulatory compliance matter relating to the supplier’s component part.” That was it, no real details. Later, Harley-Davidson officials said that the part in question was a brake line.
This time around, Harley-Davidson says it’s a parts supply issue once again … but once again, nobody’s saying what the problem is. All we know is that the facility, which employs about 1,000 workers, is shut down. It’s supposed to open again this week.
Depending on your perspective, this could be bad news for the MoCo … or maybe good news.
Harley-Davidson was supposed to be ramping up production of its CVO Road Glide and CVO Street Glide models before its big Homecoming festival in July, and maybe this shutdown will affect that plan, reducing opportunities to sell those new cruisers. On the other hand, the company has explicitly said it wants to restrict supply to drive up demand for its machines. Shutting down a production line will certainly reduce output. Harley-Davidson seems to be making lots of money these days, according to its financial statements, even if it’s moving less machines. Last year, despite the shutdown, H-D still built and sold enough bikes to remain healthy. As the company restructures in our post-COVID global economy, maybe this is a case of bad news not really being as bad as it might seem.