Dealer meeting: Kawasaki claims top position in Japanese motorcycle sales

Publish Date: 
Oct 9, 2010
By Arlo Redwine

KAWASAKI MOTORS CORP.  praised its dealers this past Tuesday for helping it become, year to date, the market share leader in motorcycle unit retail sales among the Japanese OEMs in segments in which it competes.

Dealers, the company said, have made good use of factory incentives that have resulted from a fresh corporate mind-set engendered by a relatively new company president and executive team — whom many retailers saw for the first time at the Kawasaki national dealer meeting Oct. 5-6 in Las Vegas.

The theme of the meeting, the executives said, summed up their new attitude: “Commitment. In it together.”

“It’s really great to see you all again,” national sales director Bill Jenkins said while opening the executive presentation in the Hilton auditorium. “Last time we got together it was two years ago in Texas [Kawasaki canceled last year’s meeting]. Wow, how times have changed.”

Jenkins wasted no time in revealing the market share success. “Starting in January, we introduced our factory-to-dealer incentives coupled with dynamic dealer cash award programs and product availability,” he said. “In turn, you leveraged these assets. … We made an upward move starting in February, and we never looked back.”

Jenkins supported his claims with statistics. Comparing year-over-year changes in Kawasaki motorcycle unit retail sales with those of the entire U.S. motorcycle industry, he presented the following data (Kawasaki’s changes versus the industry’s changes):

  • January: 38.62 percent drop versus a 34.97 percent drop
  • February: 33.65 percent drop versus a 35.66 percent drop
  • March: 0.18 percent rise versus a 20.76 percent drop
  • April: 1.47 percent rise versus a 13.68 percent drop
  • May: 4.75 percent drop versus a 13.67 percent drop
  • June: 3.22 percent drop versus a 14.88 percent drop
  • July: 6.79 percent drop versus a 15.6 percent drop
  • August: 4.1 percent drop versus a 15.39 percent drop

These monthly sales performances, Jenkins added, led to market share changes in the following categories, all of which the company claims to hold the No. 1 position among the Japanese importers:

  • Sportbike: YTD share: 35.10 percent. Previous YTD share: 30.00 percent. Change: 5.10 percent
  • Dual-purpose: YTD share: 38.00 percent. Previous YTD share: 28.69 percent. Change: 9.31 percent
  • Traditional/standard: YTD share: 18.40 percent. Previous YTD share: 6.43 percent. Change: 11.97 percent
  • Touring: YTD share: 7.40 percent. Previous YTD share: 6.56 percent. Change: 0.84 percent

The large jump in the traditional/standard category, Jenkins said, was due to the redesigned Z1000. In the dual-sport category, Kawasaki claims its market-leading KLR650 leads all competitive brands by a 3-to-1 margin. (continued)