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Harley Davidson

Interview with Elsa Abinader, Marketing Manager of Harley-Davidson Middle East and North Africa

Question: When did Harley-Davidson start in the Middle East and how has been the generic growth of riders over the years in percentage, as well as the total numbers of HD bikes sold in the Middle East last year?

Answer: The region has been steadily growing ever since our first dealership in region opened back in 1989 already. It was Dubai who took the first step, followed by Kuwait in 1999, and up till date, we’ve been expanding into various countries in the Middle East and North Africa. We are present in 11 countries and have 15 dealerships under our umbrella. (Cannot comment on the last part)

What were the Model Year 2013 HD models introduced in the Middle East this year, and what models are expected for 2014?

Answer: MY14 was just launched in Denver on August 19. Big news are numerous.
1. We’ve announced Project Rushmore, and have revealed a transformed touring platform. We’ve improved our 2014 Touring and Trike models in every aspect of the riding experience and mainly on 4 levels:
- Control
- Feel
- Style
- Infotainment
2. We’ve also introduced a refreshed Fat Bob Styling
3. We’ve got a brand new CVO Softail Deluxe
4. Last but not least, all Sportsers now come with standard ABS, except Iron 883 where it could be optional.

Question: What are the Harley-Davidson’s expansion plans for the gulf region, Levant, and North Africa?

Answer: As previously mentioned, region is steadily growing, and the potential available in MENA drove the Motor Company to have a subsidiary office in Dubai to be closer to the customers, the dealers, understand the market needs better and be able consequently to grow the brand even further.

Our most recent dealership opened in Algiers in October 2012, first showroom and level of service of its kind in Algeria; our next new addition will be in Fujairah in the U.A.E, possibly in Q4 of 2013.

Abu-Dhabi, Doha and Algeria have each, one of the biggest showrooms in EMEA, which shows the level of commitment and belief our partners have in the success of the brand going forward.

Question: What is the highlight of the 110th anniversary celebration, and why are the customers and audience not aware of the importance and significance of such a celebration?

Answer: 2013 was a year full of festive points for Harley-Davidson as it has celebrated 110 years of existence on the market. That by itself was the highlight of 110 great years of an iconic brand being able to sustain a great image and such passion coming from people across the Globe.

It all started in 2012 already in China, with an epic ride across the Tibetan plateau. Many events followed across in the US Europe, and Asia, namely in Goa India, Faaker See Austria, the famous Daytona Bike Week, South Africa, the un-preceded event in Rome with the Vatican participation.

Our customers in region have had the chance to participate in many competitions allowing them to mark their stamp with the 110th graphic maker and have a chance to win trips to the events of Rome and Milwaukee.

Question: What drives women to ride bikes and why is there an obvious increase in women riding bikes these days all over the Middle East region?

Answer: A woman is no different than a man when it comes to Harley, as all customers share the same passion and love of the open road first and mostly. A woman might enjoy it even further because of the respect she earns for riding one; many men’s fantasy is to see a woman on a bike, and thumbs even higher if it’s a Harley.

The main driver could be different for every woman. Adventurer? thrill seeker? rebellious? One thing is for sure, when they’re on the road, it’s the rumble of the engine they enjoy, it’s being in the company of good friends, and it goes from there to become many other things. We’re seeing more and more women being inspired to ride in the region, and with the availability of more information and means to get proper training and help on which bike to choose by our trained dealers and their staff, it’s now easier and more reachable to get your own Harley.

Question: What is the percentage of Harley Women Riders in MENA Region?

Answer: We have about 100+ women riders in the region scattered across Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar and UAE.

Question: How do they balance their career as a woman and as a Harley rider?

Answer: Being a Harley rider is proper and personal to every individual. You can be whatever you want to be and make of riding an activity that you can enjoy your way, and on your own terms.
If you like long weekend rides, short night rides to de-stress, whether you enjoy it by yourself, with you partner, close friends or H.O.G. it’s really up to you!
Whether you’re a man or a woman, it doesn’t really matter.

Question: How do women go for training to ride a Harley Bike?

Answer: There are various schools spread across the U.A.E, the driving schools that offer as well bike training.
It’s called Light Motor Vehicle course and it includes lectures on Road User Safety and traffic signs, along with practical riding sessions (between 20-30). It can cost around 4000aed for training and license.

Question: Can women drive any HD model or do you recommend certain HD models for women?

Answer: A woman can ride any Harley when she has had proper training and enough confidence to do so. It’s always easier to start on the Sportsters as they’re lighter and easier to handle. But you will soon find when you ride a lot, especially long distances, that will look for either a second bigger bike or an upgrade to your current one.

Question: Why should a woman buy a Harley instead of a BMW, or Ducati or any other Japanese cruising bike?

Answer: You cannot compare the experience you get out of riding each of these bikes. It all depends what you want from the bike, and from your riding. And this is proper to every individual. We always say, stop waiting for someday and start living today. Learn how to ride first if it’s within you, we can help you locate some useful information, then test-ride the bikes you have as choice. Then you’ll know what you really are looking for.. only then.

Dubai - Cairo - Berlin

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