Made In America?

SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter

SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter

SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

We at American Iron Magazine join a growing list in the motorcycle industry committed to, no, make that obsessed with, made in America. I recently posted a question on the American Iron  Magazine Facebook page asking “If you ran Harley, what would be the first thing you’d change?” The most consistent response, by a large margin, was to bring Harley’s manufacturing back to America.

Many people replied how much they hated seeing “Made in China” on the labels of Harley goods. When I followed up the Facebook posting by asking how much more would they pay for the same products made in America, I was surprised by the replies. About a third would pay 20 percent more, and about half felt the prices were too high already and should be the same when made in America.

On a separate, but related topic, Harley recently unveiled the new liquid-cooled 500cc and 750cc Street motorcycles. First shown in Italy at a huge European motorcycle trade and consumer show (a first for Harley), we were told these Harley-Davidsons are manufactured in India. Many long-term Harley enthusiasts were shocked. We questioned Harley-Davidson if there are plans to move more manufacturing overseas. We were told the small displacement Harleys built in India are for foreign sales only, and that all Street Harleys sold in America will be made in America.

Thank goodness. As the owner of this magazine, I understand some of the financial pressures Harley must be dealing with. However, I feel that some financial decisions shouldn’t be made just by the accounting department, especially when it comes to an American icon like Harley-Davidson. Know what I mean?

“Orphan” American Motorcycles 

In the early 1900s, there were more than a hundred motorcycle manufacturers in America. How many can you name other than Harley, Indian, Crocker, and Excelsior?

If you find the history and motorcycles of that time interesting, you should check out the Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance on Sunday, March 9. This world-class car show in Florida will be featuring an invitation-only display of “orphan” American motorcycles. I usually spend the day at this event with some friends, including Arlen Ness, John Parham, Paul Ousey, and Jim Kelsey. For more information, visit AmeliaConcours.org.

Disappearing Magazines

Some will blame the internet. Others the tough economy or lack of time to read print. Whatever the reason, you might have noticed fewer motorcycle magazines in stores. If not, you will soon. For reasons I won’t go into here, the traditional magazine store delivery system is under massive financial pressures. Unfortunately, there is a good chance some of the smaller and independent magazines will disappear from the newsstand, and even the bigger ones will become harder to find. If you enjoy this magazine and want to continue reading it, you should consider signing up for a subscription (print or digital online). In addition to making sure you get every issue of American Iron Magazine (13 times a year, one every four weeks), you will save a lot of money. You can continue to pay $6.99 per issue for more than $90 a year. Or you can pay around $27 a year (less than the cost of four issues) and get all 13 issues delivered to your door.

Plus, all subscribers are automatically entered in our 25th Anniversary Sweepstakes to win a new Indian motorcycle, S&S Cycle engine, or a $1,000 gift card from Dennis Kirk (one given away every four weeks), and more. See page 124 for the details.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

Buzz

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This article originally appeared in issue #306 of American Iron Magazine, published in March 2014.

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