Lawson Dixon is an amiable Australian who started with the News Ltd truyền thông company in the 1980s but has spent more time out of nước Australia than in since. He has a background in automotive advertising và has worked with Ford & Chrysler in the past. He started Ducati in Vietphái nam before finally getting the Harley-Davidson franchise off the ground in 2013. He beat 70 competitors to lớn win the right khổng lồ 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 xe đạp licenses was lifted in the country. Prior to lớn this, the only way to lớn get a license to lớn 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 Vietphái nam.

How long has Harley-Davidson been active sầu in Vietphái nam and 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 and in comparison to lớn targets?

We initially targeted 10 to 12 units per month but are pleased khổng lồ report that we are selling đôi mươi to lớn 25 here and about 15 in Hanoi.

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

We really have no direct competitors, but I suppose the closest would be Ducati, Benelli, KTM, Suzuki, Kawasaki & 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 sponsor Saigon H.O.G. and they are very well respected. When the Cau Giai freeway opened we rode through to 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 xe đạp 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 vì your customers report their treatment by police?

I have to lớn say all of my personal dealings have 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 bring in international riders as trainers. We have taught more than 300 riders lớn ride safely. We teach low tốc độ handling, how to lớn lift a xe đạp if you drop it. We ride round cones in oto parks, learning safe riding skills. We also train on how lớn ride in a paông xã. If you have 45 bikes doing 80 kph there are important rules that you have sầu to follow lớn enjoy the ride & 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 immobilisers & alarms. We have not heard of any thefts. We have sầu heard of stolen bikes being smuggled into the country, but not be taken whilst here. These are big machines, not many people can just jump on a Harley và ride of.

What vì you see as the opportunity or challenge for expansion of the big bike market?

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

With that in mind Harley-Davidson have introduced “Dark Custom”. This is a concept where customers can personalise their bikes lớn 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 Vietnamese people, who biến hóa 98% of our customers.

So are bikes getting customised here in Vietnam?

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


How bởi you train your mechanics?

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

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

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

Up to lớn what age have people bought bikes from you?

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