Posts Tagged ‘Importer’

EmpireOnce upon a time, a century or so ago, there was actually a shortage of information.  In small towns, people would even interrogate strangers passing through just to find out what was going on in the world.  Those days are long gone and today we have the reverse problem.  There is too much information.

Which brings up Mr. Bogdan Bucurescu, managing director of Harley-Davidson Bucharest, who put out a press release announcing the dealer sold sixteen (16) motorcycles year to date!  Is this what it’s come too?  Motorcycle sales so pitiful that you need to tell the world you’ve garnered a 20% market segment share in a market which dropped 75% — and then explain it as a good result!  Talk about spin.  In 2008, Automotive Trading Services (ATS), the importer of H-D and Buell motorcycles announced that Romania sold 80 motorcycles.  Clearly sales are off this year and using a press release to show “upside” is nothing but a distraction from the bigger picture.

This trend reminds me of a parallel in the music industry where we’ve got aging superstars, overcharging to fewer and fewer people.  And at the other end of the spectrum we’ve got the Top Forty wonders, making ever more boring records for a shrinking market.  At the current Bucharest dealer sales pace will it be long before we read a press release stating 100% market segment share from ZERO sales?   There must be some new type of business model in Romania which enables a dealer to make money with NO sales?!

Back to sixteen… Huh?  A city with 1.9 million people!  Doesn’t that seem low?  Just four months ago the sales manager, Marcel Chiva made projections of selling one motorcycle a week with plans to remain in the top 3 motorcycle manufactures in the above 650cc segment.

With little effort it’s easy to learn that Romania, a communist country until 1989, has the 7th largest population (with 21.5 million people) among the European Union (EU) member states.  Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, the 6th largest city in the EU.  Bucharest is also the center of the Romanian economy, accounting for around 14% of the country’s GDP and about one-quarter of its industrial production. Almost one third of national taxes is paid by Bucharest’s citizens and companies.  Add this to the fact that Romania has a large, upper-middle-income economy, the 15th largest in Europe based on purchasing power parity and the center of Romanian media (read advertising), since it is the headquarters of all the national television networks as well as national newspapers and radio stations… it seems the country’s economic growth is out of sync with motorcycle consumption and no matter how many times I punch in the data on my trusty Tandy desk calculator, it just doesn’t add up.

Despite my bit of Romania/Bucharest boosterism, H-D’s use of fringe markets to project trivial news is a distraction and contributes to information overload.  And yes I’m guilty of finding unusual angles on stories that everyone else is missing.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

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