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Looking for arrows pointing up in 2014

January 6, 2014
Filed under Columns

The 2nd annual Powersports Business State of the Industry webinar featured an information-packed PowerPoint deck for the more than 250 industry members who attended the free, 75-minute long session.

Many of them, as we noticed, provide data points that showed our industry is certainly trending positively as we head into 2014. If you missed the commentary from industry experts on floorplan financing, F&I sales, pre-owned inventory and dealer concerns, be sure to be on the lookout for more webinars from PSB in coming year. They’re an easy, effective way to share intelligence with the industry, which, by the turnout, is always yearning for more.

The representation of dealers, OEMs, aftermarket companies, distributors and plenty of others was impressive, and appreciated. It’s not lost on any of us here at PSB that we ask you to take 60-75 minutes out of your day to find ways to make the industry better by joining us for the webinar.

In addition to dealers by the boatload, OEMs were intent on listening to some of the challenges and successes that the dealer network faces on a daily basis. It’s always good to see familiar names of dealerships on our webinars, along with an OEM list that included John Deere, BRP, Polaris, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Suzuki, Honda, KYMCO, EBR, Club Car and Hyosung.

For fun, I created a list of industry segments that were represented: aftermarket, consultant/trainer, dealer, distributor, DMS/digital, e-tailer, insurance, investment banker, OEM, OEM supplier, marketing, market research.

As always, the best way to stay abreast of our digital offerings is to sign up for our twice weekly e-newsletter on PowersportsBusiness.com.

Early Street look

Kate Ribar pulled off quite a feat by hosting an auction at her dealership. You can read about that and a host of other auction and pre-owned stories in the Focus section. Be sure to check out our feature on the NPA Black Market. It’s an easy way for your dealership to purchase noncurrent PG&A inventory and see how your customer base responds.

But back to Kate, the operations manager/GM of Renegade Harley-Davidson in Alexandria, La. When I asked her about her thoughts on the 2014 Street, she was all too familiar with it.

“I was part of the original protype forum when the Motor Company first polled about 10 of us. They asked us what we needed, and we were able to sit on two prototypes and start it. It’s been in the works a long time. I really do like it. I hate to label it a starter bike, but it’s a great starter bike. It’s like Rolex and how they have the Tudor line. It’s an entry-level Rolex. The Street is a great conduit to connecting to a younger rider. I knew when I was 8 that I wanted a motorcycle, and I had to wait two long years until I was 10 before I got it. It’s still a blast. I think the Street is the bomb. In my world, I would like to see Dad on an Ultra and Mom on a Street Glide and the the kids on Streets riding to the local pizza joint. I also wish they would come out with a motocross bike. That’s the next level down.”

You can see from one of the photos from Ribar’s auction that she has a way with dialing into the younger crowd. The photo of the guy holding the baby near the bikes says much about the potential future market.

Gart Rides — check it out

We all know that Gart Rides. Now Gart Sutton, president and owner of the Gart Sutton and Associates 20-groups, is letting the industry know about those rides on his Gart Rides blog. It’s a real tough URL: gartrides.com.

He called to check up on some plans we have for the 2014 Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo in Orlando, and is hoping to once again be able to share his insights with dealers like yourselves. He’s also anxious to get butts on seats, and rack up some daylong trips with members of the industry.

“You’ll hear my team talking to our dealers more about the experience. Sales staff should be telling the person who just bought the bike about all the different exciting rides that he’s opened himself up to now that he owns a new bike. We don’t say ‘Now you have to go on this ride. What’s your bucket list? Before you leave the store I want you to put down your bucket list ride.’ Our dealers are starting to help make those rides a reality for their customers. Where are you going to go? Every one of us got into the business because we got into riding. Now I’m looking at doing watercraft and snowmobile rides, too.”

A recent two-day trip launched out of Myers-Duren Harley-Davidson in Tulsa with 12-15 members of GSA 20 Groups. The local store hosted it, and allowed 20 Group members to use its bikes. Gear was shipped in prior to the ride. Power 50 dealer Curtis Sloan at Sloan’s Motorcycle & ATV in Tennessee organizes rides nearly every week. Gart’s comments certainly resonated: Where are you going to go?

Don’t miss it

Before you hop on your next snowmobile ride — snowmobile dealers are having a whale of December, according to many sled dealers — be sure to encourage your favorite aftermarket company or service provider to submit their products into the PSB Nifty 50 Contest. Managing editor Liz Keener does an exceptional job of spearheading that project for us every year, and we’re glad to see the program embark on Year 15 in 2014.

The program initially launched to tie into the Indy show, but has since become a stand-alone project that gets aftermarket and service providers jazzed up, Indy show or not. So we’ll be looking forward to the latest batch of innovative and can’t-miss parts for your dealership to be carrying. And as always, we will be considering profit margins when we make our determination of the final Nifty 50. It’s another way for us to provide you with tips for growing your business.

We do that elsewhere in this edition, too. Senior editor Tom Kaiser found that Küryakyn needed only the FaceTime app to make an impact on customer service. How many times have you wished you could just talk to someone from the inside about the product you just purchased, but are having trouble installing? I took a trip to Küryakyn to learn more about their company, and there’s no doubt that they’re setting trends when it comes to product offerings and customer service.

Dave McMahon is editor in chief of Powersports Business. Contact him at dmcmahon@powersportsbusiness.com

 

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