Iconic American motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson has announced that it is suspending most of its US production till March 29, after one of the company's employees in Wisconsin tested positive for the coronavirus. The facilities temporarily suspending production are Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Tomahawk Operations in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, and York Vehicle Operations in Pennsylvania, according to a release announced by Harley-Davidson. The Menomonee Falls facility was shut down on the afternoon of March 18 after the positive COVID-19 test, the company said. The rest of the manufacturing facilities closed by the evening.
"We recognize the unprecedented nature of this global crisis. In order to best support our employees and following the social distancing guidance issued by public health authorities, we are temporarily suspending the majority of production at our US manufacturing facilities," said Jochen Zeitz, acting CEO and President, Harley-Davidson. "We will continue to monitor the situation and take necessary steps to prioritise employee health and safety."
Non-critical employees at Harley-Davidson's headquarters and Production Development Centre in Milwaukee have also been asked to work remotely till the end of March. The company is also working with dealers to assess individual impacts and is encouraging dealers to follow the public health guidelines in their communities for the safety of its consumers.
Harley-Davidson has become the latest motorcycle manufacturer to shut down at least some production facilities. In Europe, KTM and Ducati has also extended shutdowns at the two motorcycle brands' manufacturing facilities, over the coronavirus pandemic. For Harley-Davidson though, the decision to shut down production comes at an already difficult time. Harley-Davidson sales are down, more so, in the US domestic market, and in late February, Harley-Davidson announced the departure of the brand's CEO, Matt Levatich, who spent more than two decades at Harley-Davidson.