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Harley-Davidson’s global reach expanding – November 13, 2006

November 13, 2006
Filed under Features

Harley-Davidson’s international growth appears to be gaining steam and likely to further expand in 2007.
The Milwaukee, Wis., manufacturer reported retail sales of its bikes in international markets climbed nearly 19 percent in the third quarter compared to the year-ago quarter. And that’s on top of the impressive sales increases H-D reported in 2005.
“We have dealers in more than 60 countries,” said Bill Dannehl, Harley-Davidson’s vice president of North American sales and dealer services.
H-D does not break out its sales performance in each market, but it does chart Europe, Japan and Canada. Each of those markets showed strong third-quarter gains this year. The other international market sales also were up sharply in the third quarter, increasing 35.4 percent versus the same year-ago period.
“Besides Europe, Japan and Canada, other markets where we have dealers include Latin America, Australia, the South Pacific, Asia, the Middle East and Africa,” Dannehl said.
“Our international growth is evidence that the strategies we’ve been implementing are starting to take hold, including improvements in the dealer network, new products, enhanced marketing programs and a more effective and efficient distribution model.”
Harley-Davidson has been active in another international market that seems ready to explode: China.
The American OEM opened up its first Chinese dealership in April with the unveiling of Beijing Harley-Davidson. The OEM, which maintains an office in Shanghai, has not said what its next move in China will be or if it expects to open more dealerships there in 2007.
“We’ve said all along that we expect market entry in China to be a gradual process,” Dannehl said. “We’re still very early in that process.”
Closer to home, Dannehl said he expects moderate growth in the company’s U.S. dealer base.
“We currently have about 670 U.S. dealers and expect that number to continue to remain at about that level, with very moderate growth over the next few years,” he said. PSB

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