Harley-Davidson has always been an icon of pure muscle and freedom. It’s a brand that evokes sentiments of liberty, fun, and a certain toughness that transcends time, as seen in the 1969 film Easy Rider, or with Arnold Schwarzenegger tearing up the streets on a Softail Fat Boy in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Managing Director of Harley-Davidson Australia Peter Nochar reflects on his journey to the motorcycle company’s top office and the changes he has implemented within the organisation that have helped the Harley remain on top of the market.

The CEO Magazine: Can you give our readers an overview of your professional background leading up to and including your current position?

Peter: My background is in the car industry. I had many years with BMW in the UK as national sales manager. I left them in 1990 to buy a small BMW dealership in Winchester, England, which grew well. I had a good team of people there. Five years later, due to some reorganisation, my market and the neighbouring market were going to be merged. As a consequence, I couldn’t afford to buy the other people out. They were able to buy me out, so I sold my dealership and was working with BMW on buying a different one when the opportunity arose to rejoin BMW in an overseas market.

I then got offered the position of operations director for BMW in Japan. I went to Japan and felt instantly fascinated with the place; I thought it was so interesting. I did two and a half years with them, and then the opportunity arose to become the head of Volkswagen group in Japan. I think it’s unusual for people in Japan to jump ship from one company to another, but I got the number-one job with the Volkswagen group there. I had three good years with them, and then Australia was opened as a new market.