Trade Wars Heat Up, Motorcycles in the Crosshairs

KTM 790 Adventure on the road

Bad News for Manufacturers and Consumers

The most recent tariffs in the trade war between the U.S. and Europe could end up impacting the motorcycle industry. According to CycleNews, the Trump administration proposed $11 billion in EU tariffs. Of the list of products in that proposal, motorcycles and motorcycle parts and accessories are listed. This also includes scooters and mopeds.

The proposed 100 percent tariffs could seriously impact European motorcycle manufacturers. KTM, Ducati, Triumph, Vespa, and others could see the negative impacts of these tariffs. There’s no doubt that the EU would issue retaliatory measures and impose similar tariffs of their own.

Luckily the motorcycle tariff only applies to 500cc to 700cc motorcycles, which is kind of odd. That’s only a part of the market, and I would have expected more motorcycles to be targeted. Still, this could hurt many European bike makers as they do have bikes that fall into that category.

What’s more troubling than the motorcycle tariffs is the parts and accessories tariffs. These will have an effect on the entire motorcycling community no matter what size bike you ride. As RideApart points out, tariffs have a long history of collateral damage. While I don’t want to get into the politics of the situation, it just sucks that motorcycles have to be brought into the mix here.


  1. Roy Overcam
    April 23, 2019

    It’s interesting that this is aimed at only 500-700cc bikes. Is that because the US don’t make many in this range and don’t want to encourage foreign bikes coming in? Or, do they think reciprocation won’t have much impact on their exports if applied to the same CC class?

    • April 23, 2019

      I’m not sure, Roy. I would suspect it’s a combination of the reasons you list. I didn’t see any rationale as to why it was just those sizes.

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