Harley-Davidson announced it would not renew its agreement with distributor Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, deciding to directly distribute its products to independently-owned Canadian dealers. Deeley has been Harley-Davidson’s exclusive Canadian distributor since 1973 but their partnership will end at the deal’s conclusion on July 31, 2017. Both sides are currently negotiating a shorter transition period, and the change may happen as early as the third quarter this year.
The decision follows similar changes Harley-Davidson made in recent years in other markets such as Brazil, Australia, Italy and the Scandinavian nations. By adopting a direct distribution model, Harley-Davidson will control its dealer recruitment, sales to dealerships, marketing, retail capabilities, consumer events and other activities in Canada. Harley-Davidson sold 9,871 motorcycles in Canada in 2014, but has averaged annual sales of about 10,682 motorcycles over the last five years.
“The contributions of the Deeley organization to Harley-Davidson’s customers and the business in Canada have been tremendous, and we have the highest regard for the entire Deeley team,” says Mike Kennedy, Harley-Davidson North America vice president and managing director. “Deeley has achieved a level of success that has made Canada one of the largest international Harley-Davidson markets over time. We have made this decision to transition to direct distribution in Canada after long and careful consideration, and solely growing out of our global business strategy. We will work closely with the Deeley organization as we finalize a roadmap for the future and look forward to leveraging the many opportunities to fulfill dreams of personal freedom for customers.”
While Deeley will not be running Harley-Davidson’s Canadian operations for much longer, the relationship between the two companies continues. Deeley’s co-founder and majority owner Don James is currently on Harley-Davidson’s board of directors.
“It has been a true honor to be part of this business we have all built together. We have accomplished so much and are proud of Deeley’s legacy and our enduring contribution to motorcycling in Canada,” says Malcolm Hunter, Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada president and chief operating officer. “The entire Deeley organization will work closely with Harley-Davidson to ensure a seamless transition and ensure that Canadian customers continue to enjoy an outstanding Harley-Davidson product, service and support experience.”