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  February 27th, 2015 | Written by

Harley-Davidson Set To Go Its Own Way In Canada

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Shifting away from its dependence on a single distributor in one of its largest global markets, iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson says it will transition to direct distribution to its network of independently-owned dealers in Canada by the middle of 2017.

The move will end the Wisconsin-based company’s relationship with its current exclusive distributor, Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, which has operated Harley distribution centers in Richmond, British Columbia, and Concord, Ontario, for the past 42 years. The two companies are reportedly in discussions about moving up the transition to as early as the third quarter of this year.

Under direct distribution, the company manages sales to dealers, marketing, dealer recruitment and retail capabilities, consumer events and other aspects of its in-market activities often through wholly-owned subsidiaries. Canada remains among the only markets operating through a third-party distributor arrangement.

In Canada and globally, Harley motorcycles and branded products are retailed through a network of more than 1,460 independently owned dealerships.

“We made this decision to transition to direct distribution in Canada after long and careful consideration, and solely growing out of our global business strategy,” said Harley-Davidson North America Vice President and Managing Director Mike Kennedy.

As part of that “global business strategy,” the company has largely migrated to a globally consistent model of direct distribution to independently owned dealers and, in recent years, has established direct distribution operations in a number of its major markets including Brazil, Australia, Italy and Scandinavia.

In addition to its operations in the U.S., Harley-Davidson also maintains 24 facilities in 20 countries including Singapore, South Africa, Mexico, Austria, Russia, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Japan, the UK, India, and Greece.