Jobs to go as Harley-Davidson closes Adelaide operations – reports

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson will close its New Castalloy factory in Adelaide next year, according to reports – with 120 jobs set to go.

Kyam Maher, South Australia’s minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, made the announcement to reporters on Wednesday, stating that the closure of the factory, which manufactures wheel rims, wasn’t a reflection of profitability or quality of work.

“This is a decision based on consumer preference,” Maher was reported saying by The Guardian. “The large-style motorcycles aren’t being bought in numbers that they have been in the past and the need for what’s produced here has diminished.”

Harley-Davidson opened the plant in 2006 and, despite plans to move its Adelaide operations to China in 2011, the Oregon-based manufacturer signed a lease with the South Australian state government, which owns the site.

Maher said the decision made by Harley-Davidson was out of the state government’s control.

The company is closing another factory in Kansas, according to ABC, which reported that motorcycle shipments were at a six-year low.

“Apparently this has to do with sales of large motorcycles and ongoing demand for the product at the North Plympton site,” the Australian Workers Union official, Peter Lamps, told the ABC.

“This is not about competitiveness or cost issues. Harley-Davidson has made it abundantly clear to us that this has been more of a product mix and product demand issue.”

Australia’s automotive assembly sector closed last October after Holden left its Elizabeth plant in north Adelaide, which was later sold.

Union and government officials were set to visit Harley-Davidson’s Adelaide factory on Thursday to offer support to affected workers.