Live chats – Jean-Luc Mars (Harley-Davidson France): my first passion is to develop motorcycles in France – Used HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Jean-Luc Mars (Harley-Davidson France): my primary passion is to develop motorcycles in France

Live chats - Jean-Luc Mars (Harley-Davidson France): my first passion is to develop motorcycles in France - Used HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Transcription of the chat which took place on September 29, 2007 at 11:00 am live from the Site stand at the Mondial du 2 Roues 2007. Business, new models, passion: Jean-Luc Mars, General Manager of Harley-Davidson France, answered your questions.

Question from the seagull: So you prefer the Sportster XL 1200N or the Fat Bob ?
Jean-Luc Mars – DG Harley-Davidson France:Good morning all ! Delighted to be with you this morning, I love them all but still love the Nightster – in orange and black, of course !

Question from friend: Hello. Why the falling dollar never affects your products ???
J.-L. M. : Hello, very good question! I am delighted to have the opportunity to answer it, as I often see this question on internet forums. Be careful, because the answer is multi-faceted :-).

  • First, we obviously have a long-term development vision. When distributing products from abroad, whatever the origin, it is not conceivable to follow the fluctuation of exchange rates from day to day! As a reminder, in 1985 with the dollar at 10 francs, Harley did not have the means to compensate the rates and he sold 32 Harley in France that year. !

  • Second, we amortize the exchange rates over time: when the dollar was at 0.82 per euro 5 years ago, we had not in the same way increased the price of machines because that would have been suicidal for the brand in France, for its distribution network and the 600 jobs it represents.

  • Thirdly, depreciation over time has resulted in the last four years on the one hand in perfect price stability for a number of models despite inflation and the increase in the cost of raw materials. And on the other hand by a decrease on certain models: VRod, Sportster 1200R, etc. For example, no increase over 5 years in an environment with inflation at 3% represents an effective drop in prices of around 15%.

  • Finally, pay attention to US prices because they are indicated excluding tax, transport, start-up, etc..

Question from Pilpil: Hello, my question concerns the pricing policy of HD France. What will happen next year when we see the current exchange rate?
J.-L. M. : I think I gave my elements of answer in the previous question. As for next year, 2008 prices are all indicated on the site .

Question from steph: Harley-Davidson built its legend with the "bad" boys of the 1% and the GI’s during the last world war. The charming Brigitte magnified it with Gainsbourg and the dedicated Easy Rider. Today, when I see the more very dashing and arrogant ailments disguised as carnivals on Christmas trees at 30,000 euros, it disgusts me … Shouldn’t we try to return to the authentic, even if the ridiculous pays more ?
J.-L. M. : My mission is not to choose my customers! My first passion is to develop motorcycles in France and of course to develop Harley-Davidson and Buell! Far from the cliches, today’s HD clientele is very diverse. Many Harley riders have come to Harley motorcycles and we will continue to appeal to as many bikers and non-riders as possible..

Question from Syruis: Hello, do you think that one day the Revolution engine will equip another motorbike – like a buell for example? ?
J.-L. M. : Other motorcycles, no doubt … But I can’t tell you which ones! Buell certainly not, since we have just presented the 1125R, the first of a new platform equipped with a Rotax engine developed in partnership with Buell.

Question from galoupian:Hello, what date of marketing in France and what price for the superb HD 1200 XR ?
J.-L. M. : The motorcycle should arrive in France during the month of April. We have just announced its price which will be € 11,395 in black and 11,595 for other colors.

Question from alexis2R: Hello Jean-Luc. Here is my question: why did you wait so long to produce a specific motorcycle for the European market (the XR1200!)? Thank you for answering me and thank you to Moto-Net for allowing us to discuss with you !
J.-L. M. : Better late than never Alexis! Clearly, we took the time to get it right … The XR 1200 has been in development for 5 years and I think you won’t be disappointed. !

Question from motolog1200: Hello, I’m coming to the Salon tomorrow to see the new Harley and I would like to know if we will see Buell compete in the SBK world now that the twins can cubize 1200cc ?
J.-L. M. : Of course the SBK is tempting, as well as the endurance. It is a good vector to show the qualities of reliability of a machine. It is true that the Superbike is much more followed around the world, in any case nothing has been decided today … But Erik Buell has good plans for the years to come. !

Question from Guiles: Can we install a duo seat on the Nightster?
J.-L. M. : Yes no problem, it is an accessory sold in our network.

Question from EL DIABLO: Many motorcyclists are seduced by Harley because it is one of the rare brands to favor mechanical sensations over soporific efficiency. Definitely, a motorcycle is not a scooter. The new roadster is a very good idea, but when will an evolution to take a passenger with weapons and luggage in a … European spirit? ?
J.-L. M. : I can assure you already, we have no scooter projects !!! 🙂 The European market is a priority. But we seek to reconcile European motorcycling culture and Harley-Davidson culture: XR1200 is the fruit of this work. If this machine meets the expected success (around 5000 motorcycles in Europe, or 500 to 700 in France), there is no doubt that other models will follow..

Question from tarmoparigo: Do ​​you know where the construction of the museum is in Milwaukee? And does HOG plan trips there ?
J.-L. M. : The museum is progressing well. Moreover, we can follow the construction on the site Harley-Davidson.Com thanks to a webcam. Opening scheduled for the end of August 2008, in line with the 105th anniversary celebrations. A little early to talk about HOG plans on this subject !

Question from razorback: Hello, Harley-Davidson has achieved a profound metamorphosis in recent years by offering competitive, reliable and aesthetically very successful machines! Don’t you think it’s time today for Harley to look into her network and implement sound policy, to stop mistaking her customers (who keep Harley alive) for GOGOS with full pockets? Price example: A VRod USDd 54 coin in the States, the same in France is worth more than 100 euros! And everything is to match at Harley! Yes all ! A control of the network and its practices is it not possible by the parent company ?
J.-L. M. : The price of spare parts and accessories is set by HD Motor Company worldwide. My answer given earlier on price stability remains valid, but we are now aware that the current exchange rate is a problem. Especially since nothing seems to indicate that the dollar will strengthen in the coming months. The Europe team is concerned about this issue and is in discussions with Milwaukee to find a solution. 2nd element for the question of Razorbak: considerable efforts have been made by the Harley-Davidson network over the past 5 years. We will continue to develop with a constant concern for quality and customer service.

Question from MattFly: I don’t know much about Harley. On which machine is it better to do your baptism ?
J.-L. M. : The Sportster range is undoubtedly the most accessible. I would like to remind you here that the Harley-Davidson range can be tested in all dealerships. Because nothing beats an afternoon of testing to choose your future machine !

Question from marianvarini:You say 500 Harley motorcycles in France out of 5000 in Europe, which is the European country where Harley sells the most? ?
J.-L. M. : HD will cross the 5000 registrations mark in France this year for the first time in its history. The Germans and Italians are still ahead, but we will take the asp and brake them in 2008 !

Question from jarod1200: Hello Jean-Luc! Have you personally tested the XR1200? If so, what is its behavior compared to Japanese and European roadsters? By the way, are you a biker?
J.-L. M. : Hello Jarod. Yes, I had the pleasure of participating in the development: a memorable session in Florida with Adrien Morillas! XR 1200 with him it goes very, very fast! I have always been a biker: first cyclo at 13 (50 Garelli Cyclone), then RDLC, then Tom4 1000 (among others) and currently 4 motorcycles in the garage.

Question from nico750: It’s cool to chat live with a manager of a big company like Harley, will you come to the show every day? You will be at the Harley booth?
J.-L. M. : Hi Nico, apart from the periods on the Site stand and on those of competing manufacturers to do espionage (I will not mention the names!), I will of course be on the Harley and Buell stand.

Question from PIECHA: Jean-Luc hello! Since a recent search on the web, I can now order Harley parts directly in the US and this with 50 to 70% savings compared to our French dealers, including transport. So obviously at the start of my history with Harley, I did not worry about this financial aspect because I was far from thinking that such a difference existed. Today I have the feeling of having been a pigeon since 2001. Unpleasant feeling! Needless to say, I’m not about to buy any accessory from my dealer. So now here is my question: isn’t the company afraid of breaking the goose that lays the golden eggs, because I must not be the only one to do so for the purchase of its accessories? Why not harmonize all tariffs at the US level to penetrate the market even more deeply in Europe and make the company even more popular? Otherwise, well done for the XR1200, I am thinking of making it my third Harley !! You see, despite everything, I remain a fan of the brand !
J.-L. M. : I have already partially answered this question. Clearly, we care about the satisfaction of our customers and feel that due to the current exchange rate, the price of accessories is an issue. The solution is not easy, but we work with Milwaukee.

Question from Gamellix: Hello Jean-Luc, what budget do you need today to open an HD dealership? And what are your requirements for premises and collaboration? Thank you.
J.-L. M. : Hello Gamellix, nice to chat with you! I am on Site 3 times a day and I enjoy reading your often interesting reader comments! Regarding concessions, it all depends on the sector and the potential. I invite you to visit the Harley-Davidson.Fr site where a page is reserved for candidate dealers, or even to come and visit us on the HD stand at the Show which is also made for that !

Question from jyvesnord: Are you going to do live discussions elsewhere than on the Site, I think it’s great !
J.-L. M. : No, not planned for the moment because to my knowledge they are the only ones to do it !

J.-L. M. : Thank you all for participating in this great premiere! And see you soon on the Harley and Buell booth !

Collected live by Site readers

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