UPDATE: Harley To Suspend York Facility Production Until June 26, 2023

A parts supply issue that the company says is not related to the May 2022 issue is to blame.

Harley-Davidson York Pennsylvania Factory Harley-Davidson York Pennsylvania Factory

[UPDATE June 13, 2023: On June 12, 2023, Harley-Davidson issued an official statement regarding its June 2023 production suspension at its York, Pennsylvania facility. It said that while the reason for the suspension is a supplier quality issue, it is not the same and is not related to the supplier quality issue that caused the May, 2022 production suspension.

The June 2023 suspension instead relates to "a potential quality issue relating to brake hose assemblies provided by a tier-2 supplier, Proterial Cable America (PCA), a portfolio company of Bain Capital, to [Harley's] tier-1 brake system suppliers." The statement goes on to specifically add that both the 2023 CVO Road Glide and 2023 CVO Street Glide do not utilize these components in their manufacture. 

Harley will therefore be operating production at the York facility in a limited capacity for the time being. With the information it currently has, the Motor Company expects to resume full production on June 26, 2023. It does not anticipate its international shipments to be meaningfully affected by this hiccup. 

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Who is Proterial Cable America? Formerly known as Hitachi Cable America, it consists of three divisions: the Automotive Products Division, the Performance Cable Systems and Materials Division (which does copper and fiber optic communications cables), and the High Performance Medical Solutions Division (which does things like ultrasound devices and endoscopic camera catheters). 

The company rebranded to Proterial Cable America in February 2023, after its parent company, Hitachi Metals Limited, was acquired by the Bain Consortium in early 2023. The rebranded name was chosen as a portmanteau of "Professional" and "Material." 

Prior to the name change, Hitachi Cable America had existed as a company since 1981. In September 2022, it issued a press release informing its customers of the impending Bain acquisition and name change, and stressed that nothing other than its name would change.)

Original piece follows.

On June 8, 2023, Harley-Davidson temporarily halted production on motorcycles at its York, Pennsylvania facility due to a shortage of unspecified parts. The shop is the workplace of nearly 1,000 union employees, and the current plan is to resume production on June 13, 2023. 

If you’re thinking that this story sounds familiar, it’s probably because you remember a very similar story from May 2022, which involved a temporary production stoppage at both the York and Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin plants. That shortage involved a compliance issue with a brake hose that was supplied by a third-party supplier, which the company later revealed after the initial news of the stoppage had broken. 

At that time, Harley announced a two-week halt to production on May 19, 2022, but in the end, the issue took slightly longer than two weeks to resolve. Production was then planned to resume on June 6, 2022, once the issue was fully sorted out. 

Unlike the May 2022 production halt, it’s not entirely clear whether all bikes produced by the York, Pennsylvania plant are affected by the June 2023 production halt. Back in 2022, the brake hose issue affected only Harley’s internal combustion machines at the York and Menomonee Falls plants. LiveWire electric motorcycles are also produced at the York plant, and it was specifically mentioned that production of those bikes was not impacted by that particular issue. 

The current production halt is also scheduled to last for a much shorter time than the one in May 2022. If all goes according to plan, only five calendar days will have passed when the production line was not putting bikes together.  

On April 27, 2023, Harley-Davidson revealed its 2023 Q1 financial results, which saw consolidated revenue rise 20 percent over the same period in 2021. However, this news came in contrast to the number of actual motorcycles sold, which dropped 12 percent worldwide. In North America, which is still Harley’s biggest market in 2023, sales dropped by 17 percent year-on-year. 

As is often the case at the beginning of a news story, there’s no way to know exactly how much of an impact this may have on anything—from production to sales to financial reporting. However, as and when we have more information to report on this story, we’ll be sure to keep you updated. 

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