Nov. 8, 2010 – A Ducati dealer update

LAS VEGAS — For the second time this year, Ducati met with its U.S. dealer network.

In early spring, Ducati brought a message of company stability after a turbulent year in the sport bike market. This fall, Ducati officials preached their commitment to the North American market and laid out what new models consumers would see in the weeks to come at the two big international motorcycle shows.

“We’re making sure North American needs and ideas are heard in the decision-making process,” Cristiano Silei, vice president of sales for Ducati Motor Holding and CEO of Ducati North America, told Powersports Business at the Las Vegas dealer show in late September. “This is very important.”

It’s important for a number of reasons, but particularly as Ducati North America (DNA) is experiencing a change in leadership. Silei is now leading its North American operation. Silei joined Ducati in 1996 and has been its vice president of sales for the past six years.

“We’re bringing the factory to North America and North America to the factory, which means we’re making sure North America has full access to all the resources we have,” Silei said.

The resources that Ducati’s U.S. subsidiary has will increase as Silei said Ducati is committed to adding up to 10 percent more staff to its North American headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The company’s apparel department will see some of that additional staffing. The apparel department is seeing additional business over the past year as dealers have further committed to the apparel and accessories program.

That program and others will see changes Ducati is installing to help simplify business processes for its North American dealer network. “We are committed to come up with — and we did come up with — programs that are simple to execute,” Silei said.

One of those program changes will now see the brand’s regional business managers working with dealers on stocking apparel and accessories, in addition to the company’s motorcycles. Ducati believes the regional manager’s knowledge of the store allows them to make better stocking recommendations than a separate DNA staff member who might not be as familiar with a particular dealership.

Ducati also announced other notable changes in its apparel and accessory area, including:

  • A new exchange program allows dealers to exchange 5 percent of their accessory orders at two times during the year. The hope is that dealers will be able to stock accessories of new models rather than have their accessory funding tied up in slower-moving parts;
  • It has teamed with ADP Lightspeed to provide a “Dealer Parts Locator” for dealers to find parts at other dealers’ parts departments.
  • The company will launch its spring-summer apparel collection, featuring three new lines, in November.

    Ducati also is making some program changes to its vehicle ordering system. The company is returning to an annual ordering process, although the system will allow dealers to review and change their model and color mix in future quarters.

    Silei also said Ducati is providing more margin on motorcycle sales as well as longer flooring terms to help dealers cope with the challenging retail environment.

    “We are not counting on a market recovery or the economy booming or anything like that,” Silei said. “It can get better; I think it might. But we’re not counting on it. We’re counting on very, very strong and effective sales programs, focusing on dealer profitability and massive marketing activity to support the new programs.”

    And support a brand that received quite a lift from the worldwide launch of its new Multistrada.

    “It’s a game-changer for us,” Silei said of the Multistrada, noting the new model that just hit U.S. showrooms in early summer is already the top seller in the entire Ducati lineup. “And we’re just beginning.

    “The brand is phenomenal. It has never been better. It shows in the market share. In the past four years, we’ve doubled our market share.” PSB

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