A look through Jason Chinnock’s resume can leave your head spinning. Whether it is serving in the military, touring with a musical act or his current position as CEO Ducati North America, Jason has literally seen it all. With the recent unveiling of Ducati’s 2020 lineup, the timing couldn’t be better to pose five questions to Ducati’s top executive in North America. - Ed.
Inside Motorcycles: The journey to your current role has been, to say the least, very unique. Can you elaborate on your career path to date and how you draw upon these experiences in your role as the CEO of Ducati North America?
Jason Chinnock: After years of working with the goal of being a professional musician I came to the realization that my artistic style didn’t have the right commercial appeal, nor was I willing to compromise. Yet during those times I developed an entrepreneurial spirit that fuels me to this day. When I decided to formally get into the motorcycling business I believed that it was important that I learned from the ground up, so I started off as a parts counter guy that was the hub of the dealership. From working with customers to all the departments of the dealership I cut my teeth in the best place possible and to this day I have never forgotten that experience. Keeping connected to the customer and remembering that they are the first priority which causes us to strive to exceed their expectation with excellent service and an honest, trustworthy human connection.
IM: Ducati has produced some of the most iconic motorcycles in history. If you had to select just one model as an example of Ducati’s approach to design and performance, which one would it be and why?
JC: Without question this is Ducati 916. This motorcycle was an incredible milestone in terms of engineering, design and technology that dominated the circuit and was the poster on many an enthusiasts wall for years. It spawned a disruption in the sport motorcycling world which led many manufacturers attempt to replicate their version yet always without success. It also defined the future of Ducati and cemented it’s core values of style, sophistication and performance before those values were formalized.
IM: As Canadians head to the motorcycle shows starting in January, what can they expect to see new from the Ducati 2020 lineup?
JC: We will bring all of the new 2020 Ducati models that were launched as part of the World Premiere and EICMA. This includes the new Panigale V4 with the aerodynamics from the Panigale V4 R, revised chassis and updated electronics. The brand new Panigale V2, which replaces the Panigale 959 with increased HP, styling & electronics from the Panigale V4 and the iconic single-sided swingarm. The Multistrada 1260 S Gran Tour, which is the pinnacle of the Multistrada family equipped with the most practical accessory upgrades as standard and a striking color scheme that’s both bold and elegant. The Scrambler Dark allows for an entry point into the Scrambler family from a matter of price but also the understated look of the matte black aesthetic. Last but not least the Streetfighter V4, which blends the same engine of the Panigale V4 into an incredible ergonomic position that relies on aerodynamic intervention to reign in the fierce power creating the most anticipated sport naked motorcycle in years.
IM: Ducati has entered into the E market with the introduction of the MIG-RR and the Scramble e-Bike. Where do you see the future of electric vehicles in the motorcycle industry?
JC: These are exciting times as there are many brands venturing into the electric vehicle world. I’m greatly encouraged to see the investments the automotive industry is making with the ownership infrastructure of charging stations and battery factories will be a great future benefit to motorcyclists. There are some start-up brands that have done great work in pioneering the technologies and other established brands that seem to be capitalizing on the interest in this area. We are researching and watching the space closely to understand when the battery technology has developed to a level where it can deliver the experience of a Ducati from a matter of performance and range. Until then we are working with universities, monitoring the progress of battery development and developing our brand to welcome this opportunity when it comes.
IM: The Ducati brand is heavily focused on the experience of owning and riding a Ducati. How is this experience conveyed at the dealership level, and do you foresee any changes forthcoming in the Canadian dealer network to further enhance the overall Ducati experience?
JC: We’ve been working closely with our dealers to develop the relationship with our riders to go beyond the transaction. This means providing an environment that encourages and supports our owners to be part of our community and find like-minded riders to share these experiences with. Whether it be a ride around town, sharing your favourite twisties, a track day or a touring adventure. The dealership should be the hub of this activity and the expert resource to get the most out of owning your Ducati.