Arizona dealership supports rental business

Publish Date: 
Jan 15, 2014
By Holly J. Wagner

Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson in Bellemont, Ariz., works on bikes for the EagleRider franchise in Flagstaff. “They do bring their bikes for service when they are under warranty,” said Terry Lawson, the dealership’s rentals manager. “We are the warranty dealer.”

Grand Canyon H-D’s Bellemont store is on Interstate 40 where it parallels old Route 66, so it’s a popular route for touring riders. The dealership services a sizeable number of EagleRider rental bikes as well as bikes for other tour operators. “We probably get a dozen or more tour groups through here during the year. We get everything from tires to bikes blowing up to accidents, breakdowns,” Lawson said.

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The dealership also gets calls to fix bikes for other Harley dealers whose rental customers have problems when they are in the area. Take, for example, the time when a group of 20 motorcycles originating from a Harley dealership in Chandler, Ariz., came through.

“One of the guys was having a mechanical problem near Flagstaff,” Lawson recalled. “I took Chandler’s bike, left our bike with the customer, brought the bike back here and fixed it for Chandler. [The customer] took my bike for the rest of the week. Afterward, Chandler brought my bike home and took theirs home.”

The Bellemont store is the only one in a four-dealership Harley group that offers authorized Harley-Davidson rentals to supplement its core sales and service business. Its rental fleet comprises about 10 or 12 bikes a year, relatively small but mainly for tourists visiting the Grand Canyon and other local sites. The rentals also provide backup rides for service customers. “Out of about 250 contracts a season, 40 to 50 are service-related,” Lawson said.

Rental fleets also help sell more motorcycles, he said. “People can come out and try different bikes,” Lawson said. “We don’t let them test-ride a brand new bike. With a rental, they can take it for the day. If someone is undecided on what model, I’ll line them up with two or three models and charge for a one-day rental.”

This year the store will offer the new Rushmore models. “I’ve already got people calling about it. I have reservations,” Lawson said.