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Harley-Davidson eliminates Indiana from relocation list

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Harley-Davidson has announced that a Kentucky location is the only one it will consider if it decides to relocate its York, Pa., motorcycle plant, eliminating a site south of Indianapolis from contention.

Harley said the only site outside York being considered is in Shelbyville, Ky. The company earlier said it was also looking at locations in Shelby County, as well as locations in Kansas City, Mo., and in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The York Dispatch reported that a company statement said that Harley-Davidson representatives met with Kentucky officials this week. Harley-Davidson spokesman Bob Klein said the company is also still considering the possibility of staying in York.

The plant employs 2,500 and is the company's largest.

The Courier-Journal in Louisville reported that Kentucky Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes declined to discuss what kinds of state incentives are under consideration.

Harley will decide by the end of the year whether to continue the motorcycle-making tradition in York. That decision will hinge on whether the machinists union can help wring out $100 million in operating costs, and ratify a new contract by Dec. 2.

Harley-Davidson is nearly as prominent in York as in its headquarters of Milwaukee. The plant employs 2,100 people in production and another 300 in administration. It also anchors the local tourism effort. With Hershey’s Chocolate World outside Harrisburg and the iconic motorcycle maker south of the Susquehanna River in York, the region bills itself as the “Factory Tour Capital of the World.”

Indiana stood to land a much smaller Harley presence. The recession dampened sales of the company’s luxurious bikes, the least expensive of which costs about $15,000. Harley is talking relocation while shrinking its work force.

Even so, moving could have meant 1,000 jobs for the Indianapolis area.

Harley representatives visited a site off Interstate 74 on the northern edge of Shelby County three times in August.


 

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