Meet The Expert: Lawson Dixon Of Harley

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Lawson Dixon is an amiable Australian who started with the News Ltd truyền thông media company in the 1980s but has spent more time out of nước Australia than in since. He has a background in automotive sầu advertising và has worked with Ford & Chrysler in the past. He started Ducati in Vietnam giới before finally getting the Harley-Davidson franchise off the ground in 2013. He beat 70 competitors lớn win the right lớn be the first Harley-Davidson dealer in the country. He has matched the hard graft with a golden touch; the very week that they opened for business the ban on big bike licenses was lifted in the country. Prior lớn this, the only way to get a license to ride a large machine was via a government sponsored motorcycle club.

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We met up with Lawson in their District 7 showroom, surrounded by some of the most beautiful motorbikes in Vietnam.

How long has Harley-Davidson been active in Vietnam giới và how many outlets are in the country?

We opened in November 2013 with very few pre-orders. It was worrying at first as we felt sure there would be much more. It seems that people had got their fingers burned in the grey market và were sceptical, until they saw our operation. We have two showrooms, one here & one in Hanoi.

How are sales, in general & in comparison khổng lồ targets?

We initially targeted 10 lớn 12 units per month but are pleased khổng lồ report that we are selling trăng tròn khổng lồ 25 here & about 15 in Hanoi.

Who is your direct competition and where does Harley-Davidson st& in the market?

We really have sầu no direct competitors, but I suppose the closest would be Ducati, Benelli, KTM, Suzuki, Kawasaki and BMW. As for our position, I’m not sure overall but for the over 1200cc market we are certainly number one.

Is there a Harley-Davidson owners group?

Yes, as an official dealer we have the rights to lớn sponsor Saigon H.O.G. & they are very well respected. When the Cau Giai freeway opened we rode through to lớn officially open it. Eighty members, it was really special. Harley Owners Group is worldwide; the biggest motorxe đạp club in the world with a million members. When someone buys a bike we register them automatically for the first year. They then have sầu the option of joining the local chapter. There are about three or four hundred members in the country.

How vị your customers report their treatment by police?

I have sầu lớn say all of my personal dealings have sầu been fantastic. I’ve sầu never heard of anyone being poorly treated because of riding a Harley-Davidson. We make sure we drive appropriately. Road safety is taken very seriously by the H.O.G. We actually trained some of the police riders. We were the first people to lớn bring in international riders as trainers. We have taught more than 300 riders to lớn ride safely. We teach low speed handling, how khổng lồ lift a xe đạp if you drop it. We ride round cones in oto parks, learning safe riding skills. We also train on how to lớn ride in a pack. If you have 45 bikes doing 80 kph there are important rules that you have sầu khổng lồ follow to enjoy the ride và stay safe.

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It seems unlikely that a Harley motorcycle would get stolen. Am I right in thinking that Harley-Davidson bikes suffer less thefts or damage than other bikes?

Yes. All machines have sầu immobilisers & alarms. We have not heard of any thefts. We have sầu heard of stolen bikes being smuggled into lớn the country, but not be taken whilst here. These are big machines, not many people can just jump on a Harley and ride of.

What vị you see as the opportunity or challenge for expansion of the big xe đạp market?

I think the opportunities are huge. Proportionately Vietphái nam is the biggest market in the world. The key challenge is to lớn reach out khổng lồ the younger guys. Traditionally we have sầu sold khổng lồ older, financially secure, mainly men. We have lớn take the challenge to a younger market và appeal lớn that market.

With that in mind Harley-Davidson have introduced “Dark Custom”. This is a concept where customers can personalise their bikes khổng lồ their own likings. It’s a lifestyle statement in which we are sale khổng lồ people a blank canvas on which they can imprint their own personality. This appeals very much to lớn Vietnamese people, who 3D 98% of our customers.

So are bikes getting customised here in Vietnam?

Absolutely, when you go lớn a function & see the bikes parked up, every xe đạp looks different, handle bars, exhausts, colours, etc. Harley motorcycle are highly customisable. Vietnamese people love originality và Harley-Davidson does this better than anyone.

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How vì you train your mechanics?

I can proudly say that we have sầu the best trained mechanics in Vietnam. They all use Snap-on brand tools and we have sầu the best equipped workshops. We had a guy who came out from the States và spent three months working on intensive sầu training. Before that, we spent time in Singapore. Harley-Davidson University is now in Bangkok, we sover technicians there to train extensively. We have eight fully trained mechanics.

Saigon traffic is notorious. What happens if an accident happens? What facilities vì you have for repairing damage?

It doesn’t happen as often as you think, in fact very rarely. In most cases a bike falls off a st&, not put up properly. Occasionally a rider drops a bike, but most of our customers are very experienced riders. If damage occurs we have the facilities khổng lồ repair it.

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Up khổng lồ what age have sầu people bought bikes from you?

The oldest guy we have sầu sold to was 77. Before unification he saw a xe đạp và always wanted one... he bought a Dyna Street Bob, 1690cc.