We caught up with Mr John Gaw, the new managing director of Ducati Singapore (Ducatisti SG) during their Media night to clarify the speculation about Ducati in Singapore over the last few months once and for all.
There’s been a lot of speculation from the bike industry and communities that Ducati Singapore (Minerva Motor) has been taken over by Ducati Thailand. Can you clarify about the new management once and for all?
Ducatisti SG Pte Ltd is an independent importer and dealer. We are not owned by Ducati Thailand, but we do enjoy a strong working relationship with the Thailand importer. This is the unique value proposition we have for the Singapore Ducatisti community – more training and touring opportunities in Thailand etc. The news that you have heard could have arose because I was previously working with Ducati Motor Holdings (DMH) at their Asia office in Thailand. Some may also have thought that I am still working for DMH, but the fact is I am now an entrepreneur running the Ducati franchise in Singapore as its managing director.
Is this a brand new company or just a facelift of the old company?
This is a brand new company. My business partners and I decided to take over the franchise as we all have automotive background and a strong passion for Ducati. Staff wise, we have retained all the employees from the previous importer as they are experienced and have good relations with Ducati customers. Of course, there will be regular training to up our ante to serve our customers well.
The main concern of Ducati owners is whether their warranties and aftersales support will be affected. Will there be any changes?
This is a serious misconception that I want to address – all Ducati bikes, regardless of who the importer is, enjoy a two-year worldwide unlimited mileage warranty. Hence, Ducatisti SG will honour all the existing bike warranties as well as the new bikes we are selling.
Will there be Ducati bikes from the Thailand factory (Malaysia sells CKD Panigales) imported to Singapore?
There will be no changes and Ducatisti SG will continue to ONLY take our import from Italy. I understand that many will be concerned about this so I will like to take this opportunity to explain – the Ducati plant in Thailand supplies countries where there are mutual free trade or tax agreements. As Singapore does not have such an agreement with Thailand, there are no benefits in terms of cost so we still import our bikes from Italy.
I would also like to clarify that all Ducati bikes, whether manufactured in Italy or assembled in Thailand, meet the stringent quality standards and assembly processes of Ducati.
Can you tell us your vision for the Ducati brand in Singapore under your management in the next 5 years?
Definitely! Our vision is to create an unparalleled and exclusive Ducati ownership experience for the Ducatisti (Italian word for Ducati fans) in Singapore, while growing the community. Being an avid biker myself, I am fully aware of the high expectations that come with owning an iconic bike like the Ducati. Hence, customer service and ownership experience are on the top of my list.
Do you feel the current COE woes will go away anytime soon?
In my opinion, the COE premiums are likely to remain at the current levels for the next two years, propped up by the continued strong demand for available COEs. This hits the entry and mid-range bike segments harder since COE makes up a bigger component of the bike price, and higher-end premium brands like Ducati are less affected.
We understand the showroom underwent a little revamp, can you tell us what’s new around here?
First of all, I would like to thank all my customers who had to bear with us the last two months. We have refreshed the showroom to give it a more open and warm feeling so we can host the Ducatisti in a welcome environment. The workshop also saw a full-fledged renovation, from ceiling to floor, to make sure that it is in line with Ducati’s standards. Our staff get to enjoy a fresh work environment too.
Can you tell us a little background story on yourself?
I have been in the automotive industry for 15 years now. I started my career in the luxury car segment. Midway through, I was assigned to run the luxury bikes unit alongside my other portfolios, as bosses then could sense my passion in motorcycles, and I have been dealing with luxury bikes since. Just prior to this, I was working with Ducati Motor Holdings (DMH) as the sales director at their Asia office in Thailand. I was fortunate to be able to gain valuable experience and business insights from the various Asian markets, and what that stood out the most for me is the strong passion for Ducati regardless of which country or region one is in. The Ducatisti, both customers and staff alike, have the same love for the brand and the Italian spirit. This inspires and refreshes me every day, and gives me the drive to want to run the Singapore Ducati importership and dealership well to serve our Ducatisti community.
What’s the hardest decision you’ve made so far for Ducatisti SG?
The hardest decision I have had to make is which Ducati model to ride. At this moment, my eyes are set on the new Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak edition.