Tag Archives: trade war

Would you buy a Chinese-made helmet?

Would you wear a Chinese-made helmet, jacket, gloves, or motorcycle, in the wake of the escalating trade war with Australia?

The Communist Party of China has imposed hefty tariffs and threatened other measures on some Australian exports after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origin of the coronavirus outbreak.

When we published a recent article about the CFMoto FC1250J, the biggest capacity bike to come out of China, it was met by uproar from readers saying they would never buy products made in China.

CFMoto CF1250J police bikeCFMoto CF1250J police bike

Comments included:

I feel sorry for the importers of Chinese products in the future because the Chinese Government have shown their contempt for Australia which has fired up our patriotism to buy local, or from any other country except China or not at all.

Even if this were the world’s greatest motorcycle (which I doubt it is), after learning how Australia has been treated by China in recent days, I would rather roll on my balls before supporting Chinese manufacturing. Let’s get our onshore manufacturing started again and make a real effort to self sufficiency. In the mean time, support Australian made.No Chinese products for me after there political bullying and deception

One might have considered it before China decided to be an arsehole. I would rather walk than buy anything from them.

Yet Michael Poynton, director of Australian importer Mojo Motorcycles, says they have “not experienced any backlash”.

He says CFMoto sales have actually increased over the first four months of 2020.

Chinese components

The fact is, most motorcycles have some Chinese components and most motorcycle accessories and rider gear such as jackets and helmets are made in China. Even established European brands get much of their gear made in China.

Check the labels in your gear and see where it is made. You may be surprised.

So good luck trying to impose your own personal trade ban on China.

And while Australia suffers from the Chinese-imposed trade war, the US has just announced that Chinese motorcycle helmets would be exempt from recent traffic hikes.

American icon Harley-Davidson is also set to begin production in China of a range of smaller-capacity bikes, unless the new boss changes plans.

Harley's 338cc bike to be made by Qianjiang Motorcycle barenuckleHarley’s 338cc bike to be made by Qianjiang Motorcycle

Even the first Australian full-size electric motorcycle, the Savic, will have parts made in China.

Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers are ripping off motorcycle designs for their own markets.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Trump’s trade wars bite Harley-Davidson

President Donald Trump’s trade wars are hitting Harley-Davidson hard with a 22% bite in profits to $US426m after a 8.4% drop in international sales in the last quarter.

The Milwaukee company now expects to ship about 212,000 to 217,000 bikes in 2019, compared with their original estimate of 217,000 to 222,000.

Last year Harley opened a factory in Thailand to make motorcycles specifically for the European and Asian markets to avoid the hefty tariffs on US-made products in the trade wars sparked by Trump.

However, there have been delays in the necessary regulatory approvals to ship Thailand-built motorcycles to the European Union.

They have now been approved, so the results may pick up in the latter half of the year.

In Australia, Harley sales were down 19.4% in the first half of the year, yet the brand has returned to the top of the road bike category, leapfrogging Honda which dropped a massive 28.9%.

Tariff bite

Harley CEO and president Matt Levatich says EU tariffs will bite about $100 million out of their annual profits.

Europe imposed duties on $2.4 billion worth of American-made products after Trump levied tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Europe in 2018.

“Europe is the big issue for the company, about a $100 million a year run rate that we are covering in order to protect our business in Europe, protect our market share, protect our volume, protect the viability of our distribution channel,” says Levatich.

When Harley announced it would open the Thai factory to avoid EU tariffs, Trump tweeted that customers should boycott the company.

Levatich says Trump’s comments “certainly didn’t help”.

“No company wants comments like that made,” he says.

Levatich has also announced that the company will roll out new products “that play very well into strong and growing segments internationally, in particular in Europe”.

That would include the recently released electric LiveWire motorcycle as Europe is one of the biggest markets for electric vehicles.

The LiveWire arrives in Australia late next year probably costing more than $A40,000.

Future growth

Despite the sales decline, Levatich is positive, saying they are now selling to a more diverse and younger customer which lays “a solid foundation for future growth”.

“The decisions and investments we’re making, within a highly dynamic and competitive global marketplace, demonstrate our intense focus to build the next generation of riders and maximise shareholder value,” he says.

He claims their US rider training participation was up, with the greatest increase among 18-34 year-olds.

Of the total US new retail sales in the last quarter, the mix of 18-34 year-olds increased 2.7%.

Tough quarter

In the past quarter, Harley ironically celebrated the sale of their five-millionth motorcycle out of their York factory while they also closed their Kansas City plant.

The 5 millionth customer was Wisconsin resident Walter Bartlett who bought a Heritage Classic.

5 millionth customer Walter Bartlett who picks up his Heritage Classic bite
5 millionth customer Walter Bartlett who picks up his Heritage Classic

In Kansas, about 800 jobs were lost when the factory closed. It had been assembling Harleys since 1997.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com