Raymundo Cavazos
Managing Director
Harley-Davidson Latin America
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View from the Top

Riding to Freedom

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 13:57

Q: What qualities have made Harley-Davidson’s units so coveted in the motorcycle market?

A: Harley-Davidson makes quality vehicles and we make sure customers have the best experience. We promote life experience and dreams of freedom, which means the driving experience must be perfect. Although we offer motorcycles, accessories and clothes, Harley-Davidson’s real focus is the person. But people have to feel connected beyond a mere romantic notion. When clients buy a motorbike, they need to feel comfortable and the vehicle needs to fit their body. When clients finds their perfect match, the driving experience intensifies.

We have a range of products for different market segments and solutions. In Monterrey and in Mexico City customers enquire about vehicles that would offer a mobility solution to escape the traffic. Many are looking for accessible prices and the option to buy with financing. The best-selling models in Mexico are currently the Sportster Iron 883™ and the HarleyDavidson Street® 750. The 750cc motorcycle moves with agility and smooth braking. Its torque allows riders to travel in a safe and practical way.

Q: How has the company innovated to maintain its technological edge?

A: It is remarkable how much technology a motorcycle has. Our Touring family, for example, has completely transformed since 2013. People need to be aware of our full range of products to choose a suitable model. Many think Harley has only similar models to the Touring bikes but we have a wide portfolio offering many technology and safety features. Our bikes have anti-lock brake system, strong suspensions for rough streets and renovated frames for a smooth drive. High-end models also include tire-pressure monitoring, infotainment systems, GPS, a touchscreen and even mobile connection to control smartphones and to talk with other bikers. Technology in bikes is close to onboard car technology but is mostly aimed at offering our drivers the safest ride possible.

Q: What led the company to develop the #TheStreetsBelongToEveryone (#LaCalleEsDeTodos) initiative and to what end?

A: The reason we created this mobility and safety-oriented program is simple: the street belongs to all of us, no matter what we drive or how we move on it. Everyone needs to respect each other to avoid accidents regardless of whether they are walking, driving a bus or on a bike. We must all follow the same urban rules.

We are participating in the creation of a road safety culture and collaborating with the Mexican government at a federal and local level to make this happen. It is a difficult change to achieve but not impossible. Our first goal was to promote the new road regulations implemented by the government and for people to behave with the same manners we see in other countries, where drivers respect confined lanes and priorities, so that each mobility option can coexist safely. Some companies have already noticed our campaign and want to participate, so we see a bright future for this initiative.

Q: Harley-Davidson entered Mexico in 2007. How has the market evolved?

A: In cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey and Queretaro, transportation needs are changing because of the number of cars. People are looking for other transportation alternatives and the motorcycle is being transformed from something recreational to a mobility option.

Brazil and Mexico represent 80 percent of our entire Latin American sales. Brazil is the biggest market for HarleyDavidson in Latin America. Mexico is the second, followed by Argentina. We are building a strong network within these countries. After that, we will open new branches in Chile, Colombia and Peru. In Mexico, we have seen doubledigit growth in sales since 2009. The year 2017 started more slowly because of general market conditions. In times like these we need to build results-oriented strategies that help us achieve better results.