Harley-Davidson to Establish Assembly Operation in Brazil
8 July 1998Harley-Davidson to Establish Assembly Operation in Brazil
MILWAUKEE, JULY 7 -- Harley-Davidson announced today that it has received approval from Brazil to establish an assembly operation in that country that will import U.S.-made components and sub-assemblies for final assembly in Brazil. Assembling imported U.S.-made components will increase the availability of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Brazil, and reduce the duties and taxes on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, making them more affordable to a larger group of Brazilian consumers. Harley-Davidson expects to begin assembling selected models of its motorcycles in Brazil in 1999. The Harley-Davidson assembly operation will be located in the Brazilian city of Manaus, an economic free-trade zone for motorcycle manufacturing and other industries. "The desire for Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Brazil and other South American countries has never been greater, but trade restraints limit their availability and steep import tariffs inflate the prices of our motorcycles so that often only the very affluent enthusiast can afford one," said Jeff Bleustein, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson. "Those restraints and tariffs are lessened by shipping American-made components and sub-assemblies to Brazil for final assembly, allowing us to meet the needs of more enthusiasts." The final assembly operation will be a joint venture that strengthens an existing relationship between Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Paulo Izzo, Harley-Davidson's representative in Brazil. Harley-Davidson will maintain a majority interest in the assembly operation, and will determine initial production levels after further assessment of capabilities and current marketplace demand. In 1997, Harley-Davidson produced 132,285 motorcycles, of which approximately 600 were exported to Brazil. The heavyweight (800cc+) motorcycle market in Brazil currently represents about 7,000 new motorcycles per year. Harley-Davidson believes the market will grow substantially over the next several years. Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the only major U.S.-based motorcycle manufacturer, produces heavyweight motorcycles and a complete line of motorcycle parts, accessories, and general merchandise. Buell Motorcycle Company produces sport and sport-touring motorcycles. 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.