We sit down with Ducati Australia’s new boss Sergi Canovas, to discuss how he plans to bolster the Italian brand’s presence Down Under.
Following a long partnership with NF Importers, Ducati this year decided to set up its first fully owned corporate subsidiary to manage the Australia and New Zealand markets, appointing industry veteran Sergi Canovas as managing director.
“It’s important that we are closer to the customer,” Mr Canovas told INFO MOTO.
“Opening a subsidiary here means that the brand is here. It means that we shorten the channel of communication between customers and brands, and the brand for sure is going to have a positive impact on customer satisfaction.”
Mr Canovas spent the last few years heading the team at Ducati India.
“Honestly I have to tell you something, the country is different, but wherever you go, the Ducatisti is the same,” he said.
“Despite that India is a smaller market, I have been fortunate enough to be very close to the customers and build a community and a relationship with them. I can’t wait to start to do this in Australia.”
The onset of this year’s coronavirus pandemic posed unexpected challenges for the motorcycle industry, however, Ducati Australia says that sales have since picked up.
“I’ve been discussing this with my colleagues all over the world and we have different reactions, but in general we are lucky in Australia that the coronavirus did not hit very hard.
“We saw that in March and April the market went down due to uncertainty, but May and June it picked up very quickly, so difficult to predict, but the signs seem to be positive.”
Ducati Australia will take on the booming naked sportsbike segment this year, as it readies to launch the Streetfighter and Streetfighter S, priced from $29,500 and $33,900 plus on-road costs, respectively.
“We are here to increase our presence in the market, and this year is going to be an important year for us to gain weight in Australia and New Zealand,” said Mr Canovas.
“We have the arrival of the Streefighter, which has generated a lot of interest and orders, and I think this is going to give us an opportunity to increase our presence in the big major [naked sportsbike] segment, which is an important one.
“We have new products and new models coming, that shows us that we can be very confident in increasing our profit share in Australia and New Zealand.
Mr Canovas believes that it is important for Ducati to expand its product offerings in Australia.
“The important thing is to make sure we are in all the segments, this way we can offer any kind of Ducati to any kind of customer profile,” he said.
“Our DNA has always been in racing, but in the last years we have been entering new segments, we are currently in seven different segments.
“In each of these segments we enter with the identity of Ducati, we never lose the feeling and the reason why customers buy Ducati.
“You can go from a racing bike to a cruiser bike, with the XDiavel for example, or to our Multistrada, and you will find bikes adapted for this kind of usage, but with the core body of Ducati.”
Asked about electrified motorcycles, Mr Canovas said that the market will likely head in that direction, and when it does, Ducati should be there.
“I see that the car industry is going through this path [to electrification], and I can assume that this market will start to play on this new kind of bikes.
“As a key player for us, I don’t see that we should not be there [in EV market].
“What I can tell you, is that you will see in the next models coming next year is that we have increased the technology on our bikes.”
The new Ducati Australia and New Zealand subsidiary will also mean increased support for local racing.
“If I look at the history of Ducati and Australia there is only success,”
“We have a nice partnership with [ASBK team] DesmoSport and Troy [Bayliss], and we are supporting the team, and of course it is very important to be on the ASBK championship and to renew the number one position we achieved last year.”
Spencer has a keen eye for hard news, and does some of his best living on deadline day. He loves more than anything to travel on his motorcycle, and is adamant that Melbourne Bitter is a world-class lager. He also knows how to operate the big computery thing in the office. By night, Spencer plays guitar with Melbourne punk outfit LOUTS.