The job cuts, which account for more than 10 percent of the Milwaukee-based company's work force, will take place over a period of two years. The company will also close some facilities and consolidate others.
Harley said its fourth-quarter profit fell 58 percent to $77.8 million, compared its $186.1-million profit announced last year, as the economic downturn has led to a sharp drop in motorcycle demand. Harley Davidson revenues for 2008 dropped 6.8 percent to $1.29 billion.
The company's worldwide retail sales fell 13.1 percent in the fourth quarter with sales in the US -- its biggest market - falling about 20 percent. In 2008, worldwide Harley sales fell 7.1 percent.
Harley said it was slashing motorcycle shipments in 2009 to between 264,000 and 273,000 to cope with reduced demand, showing a drop of 13 percent from the previous year.
The global financial crisis has affected all major motorcycle makers in recent months.