President Donald Trump said Tuesday that European Union tariffs hitting Harley Davidson were “unfair,” and pledged to reciprocate after the company posted first-quarter profit that fell 26.7%.
The president appeared to reverse course on Harley after calling for a boycott of the company last year amid a spat over steel. In a tweet, he said that the EU tariffs have forced the company to move U.S. jobs overseas. “So unfair to U.S. We will Reciprocate!”
The U.S. motorcycle company said falling demand, higher costs from U.S. tariffs on raw materials and European taxes on imports of its motorcycles hurt its earnings, which released before the markets opened Tuesday.
The company posted adjusted earnings of 98 cents per share, higher than the 65 cents per share forecast by Refinitiv. Its revenue from motorcycles and related products fell 12.3 percent to $1.19 billion.
Excluding the impact of tariffs and restructuring costs, the company said its net income fell to $127.9 million, or 80 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from $174.76 million, or $1.03 per share, a year earlier.
Its shares jumped by about 3 percent on the better-than-expected earnings.
Harley has struggled with a drop in sales in the U.S. amid fears that younger buyers are less interested in motorcycles than previous generations. Last quarter, the company’s shares tanked after it released earnings that missed analysts’ expectations.
The company has been trying to get more people excited about riding motorcycles again. In November, it started to preview its LiveWire electric motorcycle in the U.S. and Europe in an attempt to attract more riders overall, including younger ones.
Harley also unveiled a ten-year plan in 2017 to attract 2 million new riders by 2027. In addition to investing in electric bikes, it’s set up schools across the country to teach people how to ride.