Culture – On the professional side … – Used DUCATI


On the professional side…

Meeting with three professionals from the Ducati sphere: Laurence Ghidini from Ducati Paris, Marco Raymondin from Ducati Brooklands and Rory Simpson, former boss of Simpson Mécanique, as part of our Special Ducati File.

Meeting with three professionals from the Ducati sphere: Laurence Ghidini from Ducati Paris, Marco Raymondin from Ducati Brooklands and Rory Simpson, former boss of Simpson Mécanique


Laurence Ghidini, business is business
22, avenue de la Grande Armée, in Paris, is a bit like the temple of Ducati consumption. This "store" is the first in France, with 330 motorcycles sold in 2004. After 15 years of Honda dealership in Poissy, its manager, Laurence Ghidini, opened it in September 2000 on behalf of the Vilaseca group. And she is quite proud of her business: "here, we have the 16th and 17th arrondissements. I have customers who want the Ducati object. I have one that has a Ferrari and a 999 just to put it next to it. Red and red, Italy … He’s doing the circuit that one. There is also a second clientele, young, who want to afford a motorcycle and who equip themselves. We also see an opening on the woman with a line of textiles that corresponds to the fashion of today. We can go out at night dressed in Ducati !"

The loyalty program is no small feat. "Ducati is the only brand with Harley that, when it sends a questionnaire for its activities, receives so many responses", explains the boss."I have 80 to 90 each time. If I take them to Magny-Cours, I find them a nice hotel. We manage to transport the machines. They are happy like everything !"

And the show bizz? "I sold two motorcycles to Bigard", says Laurence:"a Multistrada and an S4R. Johnny came in 2002 and got me an S4. I also rent for movie releases: Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves asked for S4Rs".

Going through the accessories department, Tony, his manager, says he has already done "a ticket for € 6,000"(accessories and textiles included). The average, he adds, for a guy who takes a motorcycle here, it will be"600 or 700 € of accessories". He shows a jacket:"this one, without reinforcements but with its vintage badges, it goes like hot cakes at 300 €".

Marco Raymondin, a love story
Marco Raymondin, almost all Ducatists know him. Ducati Brooklands is an institution that the brand can only congratulate itself on: 2nd French dealership with more than 200 annual sales, two employees who try out the track and above all an encyclopedic knowledge of Bologna motorcycles. At home, we worship the Desmo. "Next year, I will celebrate my 20th anniversary of the Ducat dealership", modestly says Marco."I started in 1974 with English restaurants, then we went into sales, but with our spirit. At the beginning, if the guy came with a jap ‘, we would tell him go and park further away, it distorts the landscape! I took Ducati when it had just been bought by Cagiva. At the French level, it was Marcel Seurat with SIMA in Beaune who was the exclusive importer. We would help ourselves there when we needed parts. It was another time, with Marcel … We had food and sometimes we would stay sleeping there because it was going down dry! It worked quite well. The Castiglione too, they were characters. I remember the launch of the 916 at the Milan Motor Show: the star was not the bike, it was Claudio Castiglione, a true Italian undermined like a prince! Now there is the French subsidiary and we are directly connected to the factory for parts. That’s it, but we don’t have a blind"

Rory Simpson, the divorce
Rory Simpson is English and his passion dates back to 1978. According to one of his good friends, it is "an original with a damn character, but it has long had the best spare parts catalog". The beautiful story of Simpson Mécanique, a Ducat ‘dealership since 1985, came to an end in 2002. On his now dormant website, Rory says:"after 20 years as a Ducati dealer, including an aborted attempt to bow to the shackles of the Store in January 2002, we voluntarily asked Ducati France to find another conduit to distribute their products in Montpellier"

Currently retired (from the motorcycle) in Hérault, the man is taking precautions with regard to journalists and it takes several attempts before getting … a rather confused email. Then another contact and some amazing sentences: "TPG offered me in 1997 to move Simpson from Montpellier to Paris. They wanted to install us on avenue de la Grande Armée … and I had to take the head of Ducati France"… A few days later, another message. According to him, the concessions would serve as bankers for the brand."In 2001, at one point, French dealers had not had refunds of their warranty claims for over six months, as they advanced the cash to purchase the parts, let alone the hand of artwork. For us, I think it was 15,000 € that were outside".


Interview by Pierre SYLVESTRE – Photos DR

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