Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson is planning to boost its dealerships in the Middle East, with Abu Dhabi and Algeria showrooms set to open next month and Tunisia, Libya, Iraq and Pakistan also on its radar, the head of the company’s Middle East operations told Arabian Business.
Founded in 1903, the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker entered the Middle East market in 1988 with its first dealership in Dubai and in the last 24 years has expended its presence to 14 different countries.
“The new showroom in Doha opened its doors just over a month ago, and the new Abu Dhabi and Algeria showrooms will open in October,” said Paul De Jongh, country manager for Harley Davidson Middle East and North Africa.
“We are busy investigating three more countries to add to the family… We are hoping markets like Tunisia, Libya, Iraq and Pakistan will be future markets that we could have presence in. We know we have got customers in those countries. We see them during rallies. We hear from them often, asking us [when we will be in their countries],” he added.
For the first six months of the year, Harley Davidson sold 132,991 motorcycles worldwide, of which 70 percent came from North America region (US and Canada).
“The rest came from outside the US, the region that we belong to, which is Europe, Middle East and Africa, contributing the most significant sales outside the US, with 27,977 motorcycles,” De Jongh said.
“So, 70 percent is from the US, and 90 percent of the remaining 30 percent is from Europe, Middle East and Africa,” he added.
During the 2008 and 2009 downturn, the US manufacturer was forced to undergo restructuring. Having ridden the worst of the downturn, second quarter sales this year were up 14.6 percent year-on-year to US$1.73bn, according to the Wall Street Journal. Overall, sales rose 2.8 percent, with sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa declining 6.4 percent.