H-D Continues Global Expansion

Harley-Davidson, continuing its search for greater revenues outside of the United States, has announced the opening of its first dealership in Taiwan.

While H-D appointed Taikoo Motorcycle Ltd. as its designated Taiwan dealer in June 2007, motorcycles displacing more than 550cc first became legal on highways throughout Taiwan Nov. 1, 2007.

Taiwanese government estimates suggest the island's 22 million inhabitants own and operate about 11 million motorized two-wheelers. Although Taiwan's cycle manufacturers have the capability to produce large displacement two-wheelers, the law prohibiting heavy motorcycles from the island nation?s highway system was deemed responsible for keeping the market there dealing in units typically sized between 50cc and 150cc. Rarely seen, large displacement motorcycles such as cruisers and sport bikes were heavily taxed and confined to slow-moving traffic on congested surface streets.

Harley-Davidson has been seeking increased international sales to make up for a slowdown in the domestic market. The OEM is pressing for entry to India, opened its first dealership in East China last Nov. 3, launched the Taipei dealership in April, and created a subsidiary office in South Africa in May.

First quarter retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the U.S. decreased 12.8 percent compared to the same three months in 2007. In international markets, H-D retail sales increased 16.8 percent during the period.

"The Taipei dealership is another important step in expanding our sales worldwide," says Rod Copes, H-D VP and managing director, Asia Pacific.

Nearly 2,000 people assembled for a concert to celebrate the opening of H-D's first dealership in Taiwan.