The first authorised showroom and service centre for premium Italian motorcycle brand Ducati will open in Phnom Penh on Saturday, providing Cambodians with a range of high-end motorcycles, as well as after-sale and lifestyle services. The Post’s Ananth Baliga sat down with Cristina Tsan, general manager of Ducati Cambodia, to discuss the brand’s potential clientele, competition with grey market importers and potential competitors in the Cambodian market.
Do you feel that the Cambodian market is ready for high-end, luxury motorcycles?
Absolutely, the Cambodian market has excellent growth potential, especially in the premium and superbike categories. As you can see, there are quite a number of Ducati superbikes on the road and we expect our market entry will heat up the local superbike market. We welcome avid bikers and admirers of Ducati to visit the showroom, indulge their curiosity, check out the bikes, feel them and touch them. Some [Cambodians] have heard about the brand but never experienced the bikes, and can get an understanding of these high-performance masterpieces produced by Ducati.
Who will your target customer be in Cambodia?
As the Ducati’s range of motorcycles varies from lifestyle-based products, such as the Ducati Scrambler 800 Icon, to high-performance machines, like the Ducati 1299 S Panigale, it will appeal to a wide spectrum of customers. So we are not limiting ourselves, but customers who love and can afford the bikes will want to have Ducati bikes.
As an authorised dealership, how will you compete with grey market importers and will this be a challenge for you?
One of the reasons why we are entering the market is our goal to ensure that our customers’ riding experiences are well taken care of. So their bikes are well looked after by qualified and trained technicians in order to maintain the optimum performance and most importantly safety of their bikes. This will help to create premium ownership for our customers, higher resale value and be part of the exclusive Ducati community.
What are your views on the high tariffs imposed on automotive imports, and does this eat into your price competitiveness?
Surprisingly, no. Every country has their own tariffs and we are able to price our products similar to Thailand and Vietnam. So we are competitive.
Given their relative cost advantage, will it be easy to lure customers away from grey market dealers and convince them of the services you provide?
We’re interested in educating customers because if they buy a second-hand bike and they do not know the background of the bike or its prior condition, they will have a higher ownership cost that they have to incur. If they buy a new bike they will have a two-year warranty and unlimited mileage, and your cost of ownership goes down. Initial purchase may be higher, but in the long run your bike will be as good as a brand new bike if you maintain it with Ducati.
Who will be your direct competitors in the Cambodian market?
Ducati is a premium brand, so we do not have a direct competitor in Cambodia because our motorcycle range is of higher capacity than what is available in the market. In terms of investment for Ducati, we are very strict on compliance, so we need to import special tools that are only available if you’re an authorised dealer. Also, our staff are sent overseas for training, so they have the experience to repair and service the bikes. So this is not available in Cambodia. I have not seen anyone who provides such services. To summarise, Ducati Cambodia is able to offer full and identical, high standards of sales and after-sales services that is well-known globally.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.