After having to cover our ears for the third time during an outdoor lunch recently, a question dawned on us: What is up with all the Harley Davidsons in Mexico City all of a sudden? Whether we are at work in Condesa or at home in Roma, the ear-splitting roar of Harleys is everywhere these days, and it sure seems like a new trend to us. In the 1980s and ‘90s, a Harley Davidson motorcycle was a rare sight around the neighborhood, in our recollection. But our recollection can be fuzzy; we also remember Toros Neza as a footie powerhouse, and we should probably double check that. In any case, with the Harleys rattling the windows, we decided to see if we could find any evidence for our trend theory.
As it turns out, Harley sales in Mexico are roaring. A 2013 intervew with Harley Davidson Managing Director for Latin America Mark Van Genderen on the Miami business web site WorldCity provides some enlightening comments. Van Genderen states that the company decided to revamp and expand its distributor network in Mexico in 2007, and that since that time sales have risen about “three-fold.” OK so let’s see so that’s three-fold, or 200%, over five years (mumble mumble…carry the one…), that would be average annual sales growth of approximately 40% through 2012. Data for 2013 are incomplete of course, but we found a recent item in El Economista in which the head of the Harley distributorship in the city of Querétaro projects sales growth of 30% for this year at his location. So according to this and additional circumstantial evidence we compiled through five minutes of rigorous Googling, we concur that Harley Davidson motorcycle sales in Mexico are on fire. Transitively, we now suspect that earplug sales are up as well, but we’ll save that for another exercise in voodoo data analysis.
Surmising what makes the Harley brand attractive in Mexico, Van Genderen posits the appeal of Americana, in the form of concepts such as Route 66, the wild west, and freedom and individuality. Be that as it may, Harley now operates 17 sales locations around Mexico and is shifting SKUs like there’s no tomorrow. As it happens, the Mexican motorcycle market in general has posted robust growth since 2009, with overall sales up over 10% in 2012 and sales of brands associated with the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) surging 37% in 2012 and 25% through the first four months of 2013, according to the AMIA. The largest selling brand in the market, Chinese-Mexican made Italika, reportedly holds a market share of approximately 60%. Italika specializes in low cost bikes in the 90cc to 250cc range. In addition to Harley Davidson, brands associated with the AMIA include BMW, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Keeway, Carabela and Can-Am.