From yesterday's press release:
For years, iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc. (ticker: HDI) has pushed hard to find ways to sell its motorcycles in China. Now, the Milwaukee-based company says it plans to announce before summer that it will open its first retail outlet in the country since at least World War II.
The company says there are still major hurdles -- some 170 Chinese cities limit or ban motorcycle use or ownership, largely because they are viewed as underpowered, cheap, polluting machines that clog traffic and endanger others.
....BMW, which entered the Chinese motorcycle market in April 2003, said it sold only 70 bikes on the mainland last year.
The main barriers the German company has faced are riding bans in big cities and motorways, high customs duties, poor insurance coverage and the huge gap between legally sold and illegally imported motorcycles....
From today's Harley-Davidson Q4 2005 earnings conference call:
Yesterday you had that article on the China dealership. Just wondering if you're seeing anything in these international market where you're expecting easing of motorcycle regulations that might make it easier for you guys to move into India and China in the near future.
Any of the international mark is always a challenge. Just because, you know, you've got to build a relationship and get into a market that they're not familiar with you, you're not familiar with them. China is going to be the same way. The article did point out there's a lot of barriers. That's going to be long, long process. In fact, we signed up a dealer that we will announce sometime early in 2006, but right now it's working on each market one at a time. Right now we're truly concentrating on the existing market as well as trying to open up the new markets, but the new mark will be slow.
(Quotes are from the CCBN StreetEvents transcript.)