Go east, young man

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Will motorcycle manufacturing giant Harley-Davidson be able to carve out a bigger piece of the Asian market with their new HQ?
Will motorcycle manufacturing giant Harley-Davidson be able to carve out a bigger piece of the Asian market with their new HQ?

Harley-Davidson continues to expand into the Asian market. First we had reports that they’d be building bikes in India for that market, and now they’ve established an Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

According to Powersports Business,  the new headquarters will look after marketing, sales, and dealer development for the region. Matt Letavich, Harley’s president and chief operating officer, says the facility is “brick and mortar proof of Harley-Davidson’s commitment to the Asia Pacific region.”

And you can’t blame them. The Powersports Business article states that the Asia Pacific region took up 9.4 per cent of Harley-Davidson’s total retail volume in 2010. That’s a lot of business. Anybody with an Internet connection can quickly find out for themselves that the Asian motorcycle market is booming at the same time that the North American market is barely holding its head above water. Harley-Davidson is smart enough to go where the money is.

It’s not as if this is a huge break in tradition for Harley-Davidson, either. Company records say they sold motorcycles in Japan as far back as 1912, so really, it’s almost as if they’re simply trying to regain a long-lost market share.

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