Interview: Ducati models at EICMA 2009

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Sgorbati marketing director Ducati

The economic crisis is weighing heavily on the motorcycle industry, and tellingly, Honda and Yamaha have absented themselves from the EICMA show this year. The Milan show, however, is going ahead and is shaping up to be an important and interesting event.

For Milan the endorsement of Ducati’s presence at its home country show is not be understated and Diego Sgorbati, marketing director, has discussed the importance of the 2009 EICMA for Ducati and the measures that need to be taken in the current economic climate.

He says: “We believe that as an Italian company on one hand, and as witness to Made in Italy on the other, while it’s not an easy year for anyone, it’s fundamental to maintain activity at the most important event of the year for the motorcycle world. We are happily obliged to participate.”

Sgorbati says however, that it is very costly to be present at an event such as EICMA, and that for fans it’s important to be present, not to mention for more mercenary purposes. “We shouldn’t forget that at an event such as EICMA, the trade show is one where you do business: you make deals, you meet dealers and there is a real intensity to the B2B relationships.”

For Italian fans, the fact that Ducati is present is virtually essential, but the effect of Honda’s and Yamaha’s absence may still be felt. “In the short term,” Sgorbati says, “we shouldn’t feel too much the absence of the big Japanese companies, but in the long term this could be quite damaging if it’s protracted to 2011 and beyond.”

While Ducati is doing better in most markets across the board, the global financial crisis is making itself felt. “Market quotas, however, don’t pay salaries because they’re paid by motorcycles sold.”

Sgorbati can confirm the models to be present at the EICMA show, with more than one model on display. “The much talked about Custom Cruiser, however, won’t be there,” he says, “while the so-called ‘road enduro’, seen in your spy shots, will be there. But we have to say that to us it doesn’t really seem a ‘road enduro’.”

Sgorbati confirms that for the moment the Ducati Custom Cruiser is excluded from product development plans, though they’re keeping an eye on the market to see if custom models would be attractive enough to lure Ducati into segments not typically theirs. Apart from the technological and logistical challenges associated with new models and new segments, Sgorbati says: “We need to understand the spirit of the product, how much it’s in sync with the brand.”

Sgorbati has revealed that Ducati works on life cycles of six to seven years with its products, developing restylings or tunings to keep things fresh. And with the new focus on low emission motoring, Ducati has the technology to meet this, without resorting to hybrid or electric technology in the future.

Sgorabti says: “We’re extremely interested in these technologies, but the question is: does the two wheel user feel realistically responsible for city pollution and is looking for a way to pollute less?” Apparently not, with Ducati sticking to refining current technology and using the desmodromico system to control combustion.

And on product defects and improvement, Sgorbati has this to say: “We hear motorcyclists comments and we don’t live in an ivory tower. We are aware that there is a barrier between purchasing a Ducati bike linked to perceptions of quality and trustworthiness. The perception that people have is tied to some lacking in quality in the past which the company is combating daily.

“We monitor the quality of our products with attention and, as far as possible, we measure the level of quality of competitors. The current quality of a Ducati product is definitely not inferior to other European products. The image of a brand, however, can move more slowly than the reality of things and Ducati is working every day with seriousness to try to provide a product of extremely high quality.”

Source | Motoblog

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