Harley-Davidson Celebrates First Production Motorcycles in Kansas City
6 January 1998Harley-Davidson Celebrates First Production Motorcycles in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 6 -- Harley-Davidson, Inc. today celebrated the first motorcycles off the production line at its newest plant, just completed in Kansas City. That sets the stage for the 13th consecutive year since the company went public in 1986 that the number of motorcycle deliveries to customers has increased. After more than a year preparing the $85 million, 330,000-square-foot Kansas City facility for production of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, more than 200 employees, their families, and community leaders celebrated the event at the new manufacturing plant today. "The Kansas City plant is an evolutionary turning point in Harley-Davidson's history," said Harley-Davidson Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bleustein. "We've been able to utilize information and ideas gleaned from our existing facilities over the years to create, from a clean sheet of paper, a collaborative working environment for motorcycle production." Among the improvements at the Kansas City facility are ergonomically-friendly production lines which raise, lower and rotate to accommodate varying types of workers and jobs, and enhancements to Harley-Davidson's unique labor and management joint leadership philosophy. Harley-Davidson expects to produce at least 145,000 motorcycles in 1998, up from 131,000 in 1997. The company began the 1990's by producing 62,000 motorcycles. The opening of the new Kansas City plant is part of an overall company plan to grow production capacity to 200,000 units by 2003, Harley-Davidson's 100th birthday. Harley-Davidson's Kansas City facility will manufacture the company's Sportster(R) line, including the Sportster 1200, Sportster 1200 Sport(TM), Sportster 1200 Custom(TM), Sportster 883 and Sportster 883 Hugger(R), ranging in price $5,245 - $8,670 (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices). The company's York, Pa. facility, which currently manufactures the line, will incrementally transfer Sportster production to Kansas City by mid-summer and increase production of Harley-Davidson's Big Twin product lines. Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver joined Harley-Davidson's Kansas City employees in adding their signatures to the second motorcycle to come off the production line. The autographed bike will be permanently displayed at the Harley-Davidson Kansas City Visitor Center, expected to open in October of this year. Harley-Davidson also has earmarked the first production motorcycle for its national archives in Milwaukee, Wis., the company's corporate headquarters. "Harley-Davidson is a great example of Kansas City's efforts toward the economic expansion of our city," said Mayor Cleaver. "Harley-Davidson's reputation for quality products and technology will become the benchmark for local and state government in working together with a world-class manufacturer. Kansas City hopes to ride into the twenty-first century on a Hog." Harley-Davidson currently employs 203 people at the Kansas City facility, of whom: -- 23 percent were hired from the Kansas City Enterprise Zone -- 30 percent are minorities -- 20 percent are female By the end of 1998, Harley-Davidson expects to employ more than 350 people in Kansas City. Fifteen percent of the value of the contracts awarded for the plant's construction went to women and minority-owned firms. Harley-Davidson Motor Co., the only major U.S.-based motorcycle manufacturer, produces heavyweight motorcycles and a complete line of motorcycle parts, accessories, apparel, and general merchandise. Eaglemark Financial Services, Inc. provides wholesale and retail financing, insurance and credit card programs to Harley-Davidson dealers and customers and similar programs for other leisure products manufacturers. SOURCE Harley-Davidson, Inc.