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Davidoff's No. 1

Cigar Aficionado interviews Davidoff's director general Ernst Schneider.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

(continued from page 5)

C.A.: I think that position has less resistance in America than it does in Europe and particularly in the United Kingdom.
Schneider: You want to know why? The U.S. business is being killed by discounters.

C.A.: I haven't seen that.
Schneider: But some retailers in the United States explain that a premium cigar shouldn't cost more than $2.

C.A.: Let's go back. When you looked at your pricing strategy in Europe, what did you do?
Schneider: It's 25 percent less than the Havana Davidoff price.

C.A.: Is it?
Schneider: Yes.

C.A.: If it's 25 percent less, then it's a moot point. I thought that you basically took the Havanas off the shelves and replaced them with your new cigars without lowering the prices.
Schneider: No, not at all.

C.A.: Then why are prices so high and about the same as the average Havana? Is this a question of the tax structure?
Schneider: No. There are other reasons.

C.A.: What is the total production of Davidoff cigars in the Dominican Republic today?
Schneider: We are now at about 5 million, and our goal is 10 million in the next three years.

C.A.: And of the 5 million, what percentage goes to the United States?
Schneider: About 25 percent.

C.A.: So about a million, a million and a quarter, and the balance to the rest of the world?
Schneider: Yes.

C.A.: I assume the business in America is growing rapidly?
Schneider: It's growing rapidly.

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