US President Donald Trump has threatened Harley-Davidson with higher taxes and said the motorbike maker would suffer from a public backlash if it went ahead with a plan to move production for European customers overseas.
Then it appeared as if Harley-Davidson's chief executive was punching back with a quote disparaging Trump.
In a series of caustic early-morning tweets Trump dismissed any notion that his policies were responsible for Harley-Davidson's move.
The company said increasing production internationally "is not the company's preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the European Union and maintain a viable business in Europe".
While it will take some time to shift production overseas, the BBC reports Harley-Davidson won't pass the increased costs onto consumers as it doesn't want to jeopardize sales. Harley-Davidson now increasingly relies on overseas markets with a dwindling customer base in the US.
He accused India of charging tariffs as high as 100% on imported American products and called for them to be removed.
Harley's announcement of the Thailand plant came months after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have lowered import tariffs on the company's bikes in some of the fastest-growing motorcycle markets in Asia.
The company noted this would have raised the cost of motorcycles built in the United States and imported into Europe by approximately $2,200 (€1,888) each. Some of the new rates were put into effect immediately while others will come into force from August 4.
Harley-Davidson said it had no comment on the president's tweets. That was long before Tariffs were announced.
"Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand". Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse.
Today, Trump followed up with another swing at Harley-Davidson.
Last week, India announced higher duties on several goods imported from the U.S., in retaliation to Trump imposing hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, also expressed his dismay with Harley-Davidson on Wednesday, saying during remarks at the Treasury Department that Trump has been a big champion of trying to help Harley by reducing tariffs on motorcycles and cutting corporate taxes.