Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Harley eyes 80% Qatari market share

ASIF IQBAL

DOHA HARLEY-DAVIDSON (HD), one of the world’s leading luxury motorbike manufacturers, plans to increase its market share in Qatar to about 80 percent over time, a top company official has said.

“Though no official figures are available about the market size of motorbikes in Qatar, we estimate our present market share at 60 percent, and are looking to increase it to 80 percent in the years to come”, Dealer Principal of Harley-Davidson in Doha, Robert Andrew K told Qatar Tribune in an exclusive interview.

New models and more effective marketing are prongs of the company’s strategy to achieve this target, he added.

HD sells heavyweight (over 750 cc) motorcycles designed for cruising on highways. Harley-Davidson motorcycles (popularly known as “Harleys”) have a distinctive design and exhaust note. They are especially noted for the tradition of heavy customisation that gave rise to the chopper style of motorcycle According to Andrew, Qatar is witnessing an increased number of riders using Harley-Davidson motorcycles for commuting because of the explosion in the amount of traffic in Doha.

“With the economic growth in Qatar over the next few years and leading up to the 2022 World Cup, the potential for the bike market to grow is enormous”, he said when asked about Qatar’s potential as the bike market. Reiterating the uniqueness of the bike in response to a question on competition from other brands, he mentioned the name of Honda Goldwing but stressed the difference by pointing out that the Harley-Davidson motorcycle has a “heart and soul”.

“Our competitors do not have the history or heritage that Harley-Davidson has, not only do we sell the motorcycle we sell a lifestyle. Like no other brand, it changes people’s lives.

That’s why we have the biggest share of the market,” he said.

Replying to a question if bike can be an option in this region where temperatures are very high, Andrew said, “Our bikers ride all year round, in the hot summer months they tend to ride early morning and late evening, the rest of the year the weather is perfect for riding with like minded friends.

On the subject of HD recalling a big number of bikes in the last two years on account of defects, Andrew said, “I have been around Harley-Davidson for years and we are continually working on the improvements and reliability of our motorcycles.” Giving details about the launch of new models, Andrew said, “the 110th Anniversary models celebrate our past, strictly Limited Edition and very collectable.

The new Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) range is amazing, and also includes Limited Edition Anniversary models. These bikes typify factory custom art with the latest creation the “CVO Breakout”.

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