Motorcycles are everywhere in Colombia. In Bogotá, they help cut through some of the constant traffic congestion. In Medellín, where the weather is typically perfect, riders don’t even have to suffer the elements. And throughout the developing nation, bikes of all models and sizes are a great transportation option on a budget.
There is, of course, also a high-end market for the connoisseurs of the open road who see price as no object. Harley-Davidsons and BMW bikes can already be seen in the upper-class neighborhoods, and Ducati has increasingly been trying to connect with top clientele in this nation of nearly 50 million people.
Since the company has only been operating in Colombia for about five years, as a part of the Colwagen group of vehicles, it is still working to raise brand awareness. But no matter where you are in the world, the name Ducati speaks for itself.
To learn more about Ducati’s sales and experience in the Colombian market, Finance Colombia Executive Editor Loren Moss recently sat down for a conversation with Sergio Cordoba, commercial advisor at Ducati.
Cordoba, who showed off some of Ducati’s motorcycles at the Feria de las 2 Ruedas bike fair in Medellín in May, says that — just like everywhere across the globe — the Ducati client in Colombia is the consumer who “wants something from the high end that other people don’t have.”
Loren Moss: How is the Colombian market for a high-end motorcycle like Ducati?
Sergio Cordoba: Well, just like with all the worldwide brands, it has its clientele. Here in Colombia what matters a lot is the legal representation that the brand has. Let me explain: I mean the subject of sales, spare parts, services, and guarantees. That’s what matters the most here.
We make up a part of the Colwagen group, which is one the biggest automotive groups, so we have full coverage, and this given clients more guarantees. They can be happier about the subject of guarantees, accessories, and coverage.
Loren Moss: That’s very important. I remember a friend of mine in the United States had a car from Europe — a French brand that didn’t have a great presence — and I made fun of him by telling him “you’re going to have to order every spare part from France.” So, it’s very important.
Sergio Cordoba: It’s just the same here. The most important thing is the legal representation that it has.
Loren Moss: What is a client who buys a Ducati motorcycle here in Colombia looking for?
Sergio Cordoba: The top of the range. There’s no more room to move up. It’s like if you have a Mercedes and you move out into a supercar, for example, directly to a Ferrari.
It’s almost always going to be ahead in design, performance, and the cycling-skills aspects. Because they’re motorcycles made by motorcyclists for motorcyclists — unlike other brands.
Loren Moss: They’re all high end, but Ducati has various styles. Which one is the most popular in Colombia, and why?
Sergio Cordoba: The scramblers, because of their convenience and the dimensions of the motorcycle for the purposes of urban transport. It’s a motorcycle that performs very well.
And the Multistrada because it’s a touring motorcycle — and this country is perfect for touring because of the roads, tight curves, dips, and off-roading. They’re all ideal for that.
In the end, the subject of sporty-ness will always be present most of all in Ducati. Because that is its main DNA.
Loren Moss: Right, right. I haven’t seen the super-big models — those that compete with the Harleys — like the Diavel here in Colombia. I actually don’t know if Ducati still makes Diavels.
Sergio Cordoba: Yes, of course. They still have them, but unfortunately there have been very good sales of motorcycles, and we didn’t have enough units to bring any here for the fair.
Loren Moss: Ducati is increasing its presence here. How does stagnation in the Colombian economy affect the aspect of sales at that high-end level?
Sergio Cordoba: That really doesn’t affect us so much, because the high end — the Ducati customer — are people with a different profile to other people. They are usually successful professionals — people with money — so that has really affected very little.
They can cost $300,000. That’s a top brand. In Colombia, Ducati hasn’t been affected so much as far as the clientele is concerned. But it does affect the price, because there’s a high variation in the exchange rate of the dollar. It is not very stable. One day it’s worth more and the next day it’s worth less.
That means there’s variation in the price, but the Ducati client wants something from the high end that other people don’t have. A Ducati offers you that: exclusiveness.
Loren Moss: Yes, fascinating. So, the sales points are typically within the main cities, I imagine?
Sergio Cordoba: Yes, in Bogotá, Cali and Medellín. For the moment, because we’ve only been in the country for four or five years as a Colwagen brand, people are just getting to know the brand. So for that reason it has had slightly slower growth.
Photo credit: Loren Moss