Despite adverse market conditions and a drying up of consumer credit, Ducati North America claims it is attracting a bigger share of the market than ever before.
Of course, since new owners took the company private as of Jan. 1, confirming the OEM's stated success is difficult.
Ducati's U.S. leadership claims the brand stands apart from its competitors in 20 of the country's most important metropolitan markets by maintaining more than 10 percent of the key Sport and Streetbike sales in each market. Nationwide, according to Ducati, the brand captures 5.8 percent of sales in its competing sectors.
What the company fails to mention is that many buyers of sportbikes from competing brands (like the Big Four brands from Japan) tend to be younger, and thus representative of a demographic that has recently had difficulty obtaining credit. However, buyers of traditionally more expensive brands, like Ducati and BMW, tend to have more financial stability and thus have continued to be able to afford desired product.
"Ducati has come a long way in the last couple of years," says Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America. "We have introduced business improvements, developed market leading bikes, dominated international road racing and are very focused on the needs of our growing customer base. All of these factors have greatly contributed to our growing sales and market share success across the U.S."
Ducati North America points to its dealer network achieving the top spot in the 2009 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Study as proof of its improved operations, and says unique promotional and event-based marketing by dealers have created a powerful presence for the brand.
Ducati last revealed its motorcycle sales in November 2008, when it said it shipped 36,979 bikes to distributors during the first nine months of the calendar year, up 19.1 percent from 31,036 units distributed during the same nine-month period in 2007. Ducati global registrations for the period — an unofficial measure of unit sales — grew 8.3 percent to 37,572 units.
Also last year, Ducati revealed some details concerning the company's business plan for the two-year period through 2010. Among the strategic objectives:
-strengthening its position in the premium sportbike segment;
-focusing on the development and management of a product's life cycle;
-focusing on pricing, margins and internal efficiencies to improve financial results;
-further developing the distribution network and expanding the customer base;
-exploiting the brand's potential to increase its accessories and apparel businesses and licensing revenues
—Submitted by Guido Ebert