The rich have a great appetite for risk and for novel experiences. This bodes well for Bombardier Recreational Products of Canada. The company designs watercraft, outboard engines, snowmobiles, and ATVs and distributes to more than 100 countries. Now, it’s setting its sights on the Chinese luxury industry, and has just recently opened an office in downtown Shanghai.
It seems as though BRP has found a great niche market for its products. “I was told that a group of 15 all-terrain vehicles and side-by-side vehicles left on July 11 for a safari that would take them as far as Inner Mongolia. This is a very exciting thing in such a vast country as China,” said Jose Boisjoli, president and CEO of the company. However, at least some of BRP’s strategy will be traditional at first. “In Canada, we know what this means: This is how we built the snowmobile industry 55 years ago,” he said.
The Chinese outdoor sporting goods market has grown more than 100 percent, with sales burgeoning from 40 million yuan at the end of 2001 to 2.6 billion yuan by 2006. The market in China has boomed during strange times, as it did during the times of the global and the European debt crises.
“The economy in China is aggressive. Meanwhile, we see a combination of a great economy and a very interesting consumer desire, that is, going and trying for new experiences. We think the good combination provides a good reason for us to have more presence. So for certain we see growth in the next five years to 10 years,” said Chris Dawson, vice-president and general manager of the international division of BRP.
Dawson said, “For us it is very interesting to watch. There was no market 10 years ago. But now, people are really coming in, asking for the products and giving us ideas for how to make improvement in our products.”
The group’s Can-Am Spyder motorcycle is having a similar appeal to Chinese men that the Harley-Davidson has to U.S. men. Most vehicles are quite pricy, and inaccessible to the average consumer.
“We see a mixture of different consumers, business people and professionals. We also have enthusiasts who have a real passion for this sport. They want to join and spend on this, no matter whether they have a lot of money or not,” said Dawson.
photo credit: brp