Motorcycle legend Harley-Davidson is planning to lift European sales to more than double their current value.

The company, which enjoys a near 50% share of the ‘heavy bike’ market in the US, wants to raise its presence in Europe from the current 6.3% to 13%–14%.

With $347.7 million of net profit last year, Harley-Davidson is one of the most profitable automotive firms in the world, despite a near brush with bankruptcy in the mid-1980s. However, less than 25% of its bikes are exported, and the bulk of these go to Asia.

The European sales drive will focus on new products, such as the V-Rod, and an increase in the number of dealers. “We have 375 Harley-Davidson dealers in Europe, but long-term we think we need 450-500 dealers – most of whom would be dedicated to our brands,” said John Russell, managing director of Harley-Davidson Europe.

Despite a 5% drop in the heavy bike sector this year, Russell is confident Harley can defy the trend, as have BMW and Suzuki: “For us to double our business in Europe to the sort of share enjoyed by BMW is not an unreasonable objective.”

News source: Financial Times