Harley suspends business, bike shipments to Russia

March 1 (Reuters) - Harley-Davidson Inc said on Tuesday it had suspended its business and shipments of its bikes to Russia following that country's invasion of Ukraine last week.

The attack marked the biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two. Many Western firms, including General Motors Co (GM.N) and Germany's Daimler Truck Holding AG (DTGGe.DE), have idled operations in Russia. read more

Shares for the motorcycle giant fell 3% in afternoon trading, in line with Wall Street's main indexes as the crisis in Ukraine escalates.

Harley did not respond to a request for additional details on the suspension or the size of its operations in Russia.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has been photographed riding Harley-Davidson bikes, and joined a gathering of bikers in Ukraine in 2010.

Europe is Milwaukee-based Harley's second-largest market for retail sales of bikes after the United States.

Russia's Harley-Davidson dealerships make up only a sliver of its broader dealer network, with roughly 10 in Russia, said Chris Hodson, senior analyst and partner at Edgewater Research.

Harley's website says it has 369 dealerships in the European Union, its second-largest market after the United States.

Bikes that were originally scheduled to be delivered to Russia are likely to be rerouted as the company sees strong demand, Hodson said.

"Russia is not that significant of a market to begin with," Hodson said. "Any units that have been earmarked for Russia can be diverted elsewhere."

Canadian auto-parts maker Magna International (MG.TO) which houses six manufacturing facilities and has roughly 2,500 employees in Russia, said its operations were currently running and it would continue to monitor the situation.

Reporting by Aishwarya Nair and Shivansh Tiwary in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Jonathan Oatis

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Bianca Flowers is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Chicago where she reports on the backbone of the U.S. labor market. She covers agriculture and construction equipment manufacturing. She also writes about supply chains, food production, union strikes, and how the future of farming coincides with technological innovation. Prior to joining Reuters, she was a senior video journalist at Dow Jones. Contact: 917-631-5645