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Another motorcycle maker considers moving output overseas

Jay Leno leads the inaugural Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis on an Indian Motorcycle at Los Angeles Fire Department Station 77 in Los Angeles, Calif. on Monday, July 27, 2015. (Dan Steinberg / Invision)
Jay Leno leads the inaugural Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis on an Indian Motorcycle at Los Angeles Fire Department Station 77 in Los Angeles, Calif. on Monday, July 27, 2015. (Dan Steinberg / Invision)
Associated Press

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa – A Minnesota-based company said on Friday that it is considering moving production of some motorcycles out of the country because of European tariffs, just days after Harley-Davidson announced a similar move .

A spokeswoman for Polaris Industries acknowledged that the company could move some production of its Indian Motorcycles from northwest Iowa to Poland.

“Nothing is definitive,” Polaris spokeswoman Jess Rogers said. “We’re looking at a range of mitigation plans.”

Harley-Davidson announced Monday that it was moving production of motorcycles sold in Europe from U.S. factories to facilities overseas because of retaliatory tariffs.

President Donald Trump had used the iconic American motorcycle maker as an example of a U.S. business harmed by trade barriers in other countries before imposing steep tariffs on European steel and aluminum. The European Union responded with measures that hit around $3.25 billion worth of American-made products, including on American-made motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson said the new tariffs would add about $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU.

Since its announced moved, Harley-Davidson has endured harsh criticism from the president, who has said in a tweet that any shift in production by the company “will be the beginning of the end.” He added: “The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!”

That criticism is no doubt on the minds of Polaris executives as they seek ways to mitigate the effects of the tariffs.

In its first quarter earnings released earlier this month, Polaris projected around $15 million in additional costs in 2018. Rogers said the latest tariffs would raise costs further, declining to estimate by how much.

“But we’re definitely seeing an increase in costs,” she said.

Polaris employs around 650 people at its Iowa plant in Spirit Lake.

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