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Top executives of Irbit Motorcycle Works speak on EICMA 2012 and upcoming changes in Ural bikes | 4 comment(s)

Top executives of Irbit Motorcycle Works speak on EICMA 2012 and upcoming changes in Ural bikes

In an exclusive interview, General Director of Irbit Motorcycle Works (IMZ) Ilya Khait shares his impressions from the International Motorcycle Exhibition EICMA 2012 with Motonews.ru, and IMZ Executive Director Vladimir Kurmachev fills us in on what lies ahead for Russian Ural motorcycles in 2013.

Ilya, could you share your impressions from the International Motorcycle Exhibition EICMA 2012? Did it meet your expectations? What did you like most about it, or what actually came as the biggest surprise?
I was really impressed by the BMW stand. The uncontested leader in the industry, BMW once again reaffirmed its dominant position in Milan.
Also, I really like what Honda is doing in the segment of bikes with small and medium cubic capacity. And the Ducati stand was quite exciting, too.
As far as most other producers go, their lack of imagination was a very unpleasant surprise for me. For instance, almost everyone now has Dual Sport models. Although it really seems to be almost the only motorcycle segment that is still showing signs of life, that is to say, the only segment that has still been expanding, there is clearly not enough room there for a dozen producers. Similarly, the Classic bike niche is on the rise again, and so everyone rushed to fill it. Generally speaking, I got a very strong impression that our industry can do without two or three producers: They have become so alike that the market would never even notice if they’d dropped out.

Ilya Hait: Ural bikes yet to reach sales potential | 4 comment(s)

Ilya Hait: Ural bikes yet to reach sales potential

General Director of Irbit Motorcycle Works (IMZ) Ilya Hait filled Motonews.ru in on where the producer of Russian Ural motorcycles currently stands.

Irbit Motorcycle Works has reported strong sales of Ural motorcycles in the United States. So, for the record, just how many motorcycles did you sell in the United States in 2011? And how many did you produce in 2011 in total?
In 2011, we sold 496 bikes in the States. In total, the plant produced 900 motorcycles in 2011, the bulk of them being sidecar motorcycles.
I expect to hear comments about the numbers being fairly modest, so I’d like to point out a few things right from the outset.
First, very few producers, even well-known brands, have so far managed to sell such a number of bikes in the U.S. Ural, for one, has outsold such famous motorcycles as Moto Guzzi and Aprilia.
Second, not only is the U.S. motorcycle market very competitive, it is also going through some rough times. Compared with peak sales, the market almost halved, and it has been at its low for the past two years. Against this gloomy backdrop, Ural sales climbed back almost to their pre-crisis levels, which didn’t pan out for many other producers.
Third, it’s also very important to bear in mind that Ural operates in a very narrow niche of sidecar motorcycles. The culture of sidecar motorcycles has been virtually extinct in western countries for decades now, and what Ural is doing is essentially restoring a whole segment of the motorcycle market. The task is extremely difficult, but we are dealing with it gradually, one step at a time.

Revaz Magalashvili: We’re seeing significant growth in the sales of MotoGP watches

Revaz Magalashvili: We’re seeing significant growth in the sales of MotoGP watches

Tissot brand manager in Russia Revaz Magalashvili kindly agreed to answer some questions for Motonews.ru, and he filled us in on how things are going for the Swiss brand in Russia.

How long has the Tissot brand been represented in Russia?
The history of Tissot in Russia started all the way back in 1866! Charles-Emile Tissot made his first trip to Russia that year. The purpose of the trip was to establish trade relations with the Russian Empire, and after just a few years, Russia became the main market for Tissot watches. It remained that way until 1917. By 1875, the Tissot trading house had produced a dozen pocket watches with a picture of Czar Alexander II and his son Alexander III.
In 1904, the company created special edition watches for officers of the Russian Imperial Guard. The dial featured a monogram of the guards with the inscription: “In the name of the officers of the Imperial Guard 1891-1904.” On the reverse side, the dial was engraved with the words of the Star Order, “Devoted to Faith.” The revolution of 1917 halted the sales of Tissot in Russia, and the Swiss brand was forced to leave the Russian market.
Then, in 1993, the doors to the Russian market swung open again for Tissot, and the company decided to return to the country that played such a significant role in its formation. Soon enough, in 2000, sales reached record levels, and Tissot became one of the major Swiss brands manufacturing watches in Russia.

Alexander Mitin: Sales up 4-fold from pre-crisis 2007

Alexander Mitin: Sales up 4-fold from pre-crisis 2007

Alexander Mitin, Commercial Director at Rusmotoimport, the official distributor of Italy’s Ducati, fills in the Motonews.ru correspondent on motorcycle sales in Russia, and the prospects for the brand’s expansion into Russia's regions.

How many Ducati motorcycles are sold across Russia?
This year, we expect sales to reach some 200 vehicles. The segment we operate in has been hit the hardest by the economic shocks of the recent years. Obviously, many potential buyers have pushed back – some even far back – into the background the cherished idea of buying this expensive Italian toy, while others have decided to have a closer look at the used motorcycle market. Some even resorted to “belt-tightening.” As a further complication, the range of Ducati motorcycles does not cover all classes that are in high demand, with the cross, cruiser and scooter models missing. I am nevertheless pleased to announce that retail sales quadrupled compared to the pre-crisis 2007 level driven by a few factors:
-the brand’s sustained popularity worldwide. It is difficult to find a modern Hollywood blockbuster where the hero would not be carried away from his hardships on a motorbike, it is even more difficult to find movies with any motorcycles other than Ducati. Meanwhile, Ducati is positioned as purely Italian: “Made in Italy” has remained the main slogan as far as design, promotion, and even the choice of riders for the Ducati MotoGP team are concerned.
- ongoing expansion of the model range. For four years now, Ducati has been presenting one or more models each fall – and here I mean only brand new and not just upgraded models…
- the ever improving quality of the products. Ducati motorbikes currently boast the longest service intervals on the market – 12,000 kilometers, with the maintenance interval for adjusting the desmodromic valve gear extended to 24,000 kilometers for the latest models. Additionally, Ducati provides a two-year unlimited mileage warranty on all new motorcycles.

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