S'pore: Launch pad for Italian marques
Glitzy motorcycle launches connect potential buyers with the brands' bigwigs and offer a lively atmosphere to find out more about the new rides
The glamour, the gastronomic goodies and the girls. Some of us attend motorcycle launches just for these reasons - though not necessarily in that order.
But launches are not only public relations exercises. They are about connecting potential buyers to the brands of great-looking motorcycles.
Last month, Biker Boy caught up with the bigwigs of MV Agusta and Aprilia motorcycles at their respective events, MV Agusta launch - unveiling of Stradale 800 and Dragster 800 RR at Sunrise Bistro & Bar (July 23)
Yew Heng Group officially took over Singapore's MV Agusta Motor distributorship early this year. Four dealers here will promote the brand and facilitate repairs.
We asked Mr Michael Ang, 31, Yew Heng Group's managing director:
How differently will the business be run?
"We have brought in almost all the general spare parts for the models available here so that the waiting time will be cut short greatly.
"With the help of the manufacturer, the requested parts are sent within two weeks compared to the months (it took with) previous distributors. This is a big improvement for the whole of MV Agusta."
There are 10 MV Agusta bike models available here. But six - among them the F4RR, Stradale 800 and Dragster 800 - have strong appeal with local riders. Demo rides and track day sessions are in the works, too.
What challenges will the local distributor face?
"It will be to educate riders that MV Agusta has evolved and is making a comeback with its warranty and spare parts support. This will be time consuming and that is why giving our customers the assurance and education about the brand direction is important. Of course, I would be lying if I tell you that brands such as Ducati, Aprilia and BMW do not pose serious threats."
We asked Mr Judah Sangaran, MV Agusta's Far East country manager:
What are your plans for Singapore?
"We want to work with an importer who is passionate and on the same wave length as us on marketing and networking. In Singapore, we will be opening our first exclusive showroom, which will be 100 per cent in line with our corporate identity, by year end."
What is the sales target and where is the largest market in Asia?
"We sold 3,650 units in 2010 and last year, we achieved 10,000. Our target this year is to break the 12,000 mark. The biggest market in Asia is Japan, and Australia is close to it."
Aprilia launch - Aprilia motorcycles distributor Mah introducing two new bikes for this year - the 1,100cc Tuono V4 and the championship-winning 1,000cc RSV4 - at 99 Beach Road (early July)
We asked Mr Eugene Mah, 31, managing director of Mah:
Why do distributors invest in bike launches?
"It's good as it (helps) boost the industry. A launch can cost roughly between $20,000 and $50,000. Bike launches tell everyone what the brand and bike is all about."
Surely, a launch is also a time when the cash register rings?
"Nope. So far I have never sold a bike during a launch and that is also not my intention. At a launch, people ask questions about the bike's specifications, price and also if there is a discount."
Mr Mah says that this is a special year for Aprilia. The 54-time world racing champions are on the leader boards in the World SuperBike championship.
Aprilia has returned to MotoGP. And in June, race legend Max "The Roman Emperor" Biaggi was back in the saddle riding for Aprilia.
Does winning at the races equal more sales of Aprilia race bikes?
"Not necessarily. But of course, the Aprilia race bikes are similar to those you can buy from the showroom. Both bikes showcase the Aprilia performance."