MB: What has surprised you most about how successful dealers have responded during this market downturn?
GB: The never-quit attitude. It’s like racing. You have to work harder than everyone else to win. Many dealers have re-applied their efforts, cut excess inventory and costs, applied proven business knowledge and have gone after the customers. They have changed the ‘business look’ of the shops and adapted their business to fit current buyers. There are still buyers, just less of them, so these dealers have attacked their local areas, and gone after new customers outside their area with creative marketing, alternative financing, stocking sellable inventory and creating exciting in-store sales to hook the consumer.
Mark Blackwell is VP of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries. He is an AMA Hall of Famer whose career stretches back to his AMA and world motocross championship days to his work at Arctic Cat, Husqvarna, Suzuki and now Polaris. A perfect day riding? “I had lots of great days riding motorcycles in the last year. A trip to Sturgis on my Vision and a ride through Wisconsin on a brand-new Cross Country were two of the best. But the highlight of the year was a day at the local MX track with my son Brett, my brother Greg and his wife Amy — all of us riding our KTMs!”
Greg Blackwell is the VP of sales at LeMans Corp. Previously he was the president of Metzeler Motorcycle Tire North America and responsible for the sales and marketing of Metzeler and Pirelli motorcycle tires in North America. He also served as advertising manager for Cycle World magazine. Greg grew up in Southern California riding and racing motocross and road racing, and now owns six street and dirt motorcycles. His perfect day riding? “Any day. Beats everything else. Sitting at the top of Engineer Pass in Colorado on my KTM 990 ranks at the top. You feel like you’re at the top of the world.”
This story originally appeared in the Dealernews May 2010 issue.