Welcome to 2018, when a U.S. president takes to Twitter to threaten a 115-year-old American company that it will be “taxed like never before!” in retaliation for the company’s decision to move some production to Europe. The decision came after the European Union imposed a 31 percent tariff on imported motorcycles in response to the president’s new unilateral tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
The company is Harley-Davidson, founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1903 and still headquartered there.
A 1912 ad for Harley-Davidson, modestly touting “the motorcycle that is not uncomfortable.”
The meaning of the Harley-Davidson name is right there on the surface: The company was founded by William S. Harley and brothers Arthur and Walter Davidson back when naming companies after yourself was standard operating procedure. But there’s plenty of other Harley-Davidson naming lore that makes for good reading.
Harley-Davidson’s current advertising slogan, “All for Freedom, Freedom for All,” introduced in 2017, acquired a little extra nuance this week.