Harley plans layoffs in York as some production moves to Kansas City

Harley-Davidson Inc. plans to eliminate roughly 118 jobs at its factory in Springettsbury Township as it shifts production of its Cruiser line of motorcycles to a plant in Kansas City, Mo., according to a company spokeswoman.

The shift will add 118 jobs in Kansas City where the company is consolidating production of all Cruisers, which include the Softail and Sportster models, said the spokeswoman, Bernadette Lauer.

The change takes effect starting with 2018 model-year motorcycles and is designed to reduce capital costs and equipment redundancies, said Lauer, who did not have a specific figure for cost savings.

The Springettsbury plant will continue to make Touring and Trike models, Lauer said. The plant has been making five Softail models.

Of the 118 cuts, 110 will come from among the plant’s full-time hourly workers, Lauer said, while eight salaried and contingent positions also will be cut.

The reductions begin June 23 and will finish by the end of July, Lauer added. The plant will have about 800 employees after the layoffs.

The cuts follow what have proven a challenging few years for the motorcycle manufacturing giant, which has seen decreased sales as its loyal baby boomer base ages and competition from more budget-friendly rivals increases.

Harley-Davidson shipped more than 70,800 motorcycles in the first quarter of the year, a number on the high end of what the company had forecast but still down 14.7 percent from the same period in 2016.

Net income was also down 25.6 percent from last year, as was revenue per motorcycle.

Thursday’s announcement was not the first time the Springettsbury plant has felt the repercussions of these declines. The company laid off more than 100 people at the plant last fall.

The Milwaukee-based company also cut employees in 2015, but not in York County. 

Several other York County employers have also announced layoffs in recent months. 

The Kelvion Inc. plant in East Manchester Township industrial announced earlier this month that it was moving its manufacturing operations to Tulsa. About 70 people work at the York County site, which makes brazed plate heat exchangers and related equipment.

Unilife Corp. in Conewago Township laid off 51 people this month, and soon after filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Last quarter, CEVA Logistics announced the closure of its Fairview Township plant, cutting 173 jobs in the process.

NOTE: An earlier version of article misstated the number of Softail models produced in York. It is five, not two.

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