Harley-Davidson Statement – Harley-Davidson Cologne / Bonn
Official statement from Harley-Davidson
In the last few days there have been various reports in the media about the termination of the dealer contracts of Harley-Davidson Cologne and Harley-Davidson Bonn. From Harley-Davidson's perspective, the press portrayal of this incident is not entirely accurate, which is why it is now responding to press inquiries.
Harley-Davidson responded to the questions from the Kölner Stadtanzeiger as follows:
On what grounds were the two contractual partners terminated? On what date were they terminated and when was the decision communicated to the two dealers?
In principle, we do not comment on such details in relation to our former and existing authorized dealers. But when they approach the press proactively – as they did here – we feel compelled to react.
After obtaining the opinion of the managing directors and considering all the circumstances, the dealers were informed on December 14, 2021 that the contractual relationships would not be continued with immediate effect.
Does the termination have anything to do with the racist abuse of a former managing director that became public a few weeks ago?
Yes and no. The failure towards Dr. Ocak, lawyer at Ver.di, to whom you are obviously referring, and the subsequent events were the basis of our decision.
The racist statements did not come from a managing director of the two dealerships or a simple employee, but from their owner. He holds 95% of the shares through a holding company and is therefore the sole final decision-maker in both companies. Following his first statement, the owner once again behaved absolutely inappropriately towards Dr. Ocak behaved by threatening him. For this reason it was not just a “one-off” derailment and unfortunately not an isolated case either.
The significant negative response in the press and on social networks hit us with full force and caused significant damage to the Harley-Davidson brand.
If so, why were both authorized dealers and thus also the employees and employees terminated after the responsible managing director was dismissed. Did the consequences drawn by Harley Davidson Cologne not go far enough?
Why was the contractual partner in Bonn also terminated?
As already explained, the representation is unfortunately not correct, as the person responsible is still the owner of both companies (dealers in Cologne and Bonn), so further cooperation for Harley-Davidson does not appear possible . The owner's behavior has repeatedly contradicted the brand's values to such an extent that we were only able to terminate the contractual relationship with his company. We would like to reiterate that there can be no place for racism, hate or intolerance in the Harley-Davidson community or anywhere else.
We deeply regret that the employees are now also affected by the owner's repeated misconduct, which is why we did not make this decision easy for ourselves. We are now working hard to find a successor solution that is satisfactory for both employees and customers and are optimistic that we will achieve this.
At this point we would also like to point out that in the course of these incidents there was completely inappropriate hostility towards the completely uninvolved employees of the companies from third parties. Such behavior also contradicts our values and is completely unacceptable.
Text: Harley-Davidson January 9, 2022