Sergi Canovas was appointed the Managing Director of Ducati India last year. Ducati is a super-premium motorcycle brand with a worldwide presence and legacy of 92 years. Hailing from Spain, Canovas has spent more than a decade in the automotive sector, and is currently developing Ducati’s market presence in the Indian motorcycle industry.
Q. What do you think of India’s luxury motorcycle market and the consumer demand on the whole?
A. I think that a lot of Indians can afford premium bikes. But to enjoy this kind of bike, one needs to provide the right environment. People need to have a reason to use the bike. Infrastructure is very important, and even though it’s improving, it still has a long way to go. Safety on the roads is very important. So there are a lot of people who could buy the bike, but they don’t because they consider two-wheelers dangerous. So now, we as a brand are trying to popularise the reasons to ride a bike.
If you compare the consumption of bikes in India with countries where we have been present for a long time, you will notice that someone who owns a Ducati there will go and ride it alone. But the culture here is different. You need to create a group in which more people go together and enjoy themselves. More people discover things in India because riding bikes is not just about going fast. If you want to go fast, you are welcome to go to a racing track. But for most people, biking is all about getting to enjoy the landscape and the roads. If you can create these groups and tours for the customers, then more people start to join and enjoy the product. I think this is the way in which we can grow the biking community in India.
Q. What sort of challenges have you faced in establishing the brand in the Indian market?
A. The market in India for us is still very young. The customers know the brand and they know that the market is new. Therefore, they are expecting that when they visit our showroom, once this brand is established in India, they should have exactly the same experience. Since the beginning we knew that we had to push a lot on forming the network. It was not because this is India or the fact that the market was new, it was because we had to train the staff thoroughly. Especially the sales staff—they have to have an understanding of not only the product, but the brand, the values. When you have a bike, you want to ensure that it is serviced properly. So mechanics and service advisors also had a specific training for India, because they are in a position to gain the confidence of the customers.
Q. What’s your understanding of the way Indians perceive luxury?
A. One very important thing in India is that luxury products must serve a more rational purpose than what’s expected in other parts of the world. So you need to create a kind of awareness, you need to convince people about the benefits of the products. You can’t just think that, “Oh, it’s this amazing brand” and expect people to buy it blindly. You need to explain a little more about what the brand is delivering. They need to know what it’s doing in terms of tangible things and only then can they experience the brand.
Q. How are you planning to expand Ducati’s reach in India?
A. Right now we have eight dealers in India and we are going to open a ninth one. For the kind of product that we are selling, we need to stay in the big cities because service and customer care are very important for us. So this is where we want to stay now.
Q. Can you share your experience of attending the Luxury Symposium 2018?
A. I am very happy to have been invited here for the very first time. There are very high quality people here who know about luxury. I think this is a great platform to give a boost to luxury manufacturing in India.