Dealer optimism? Depends on the brand they sell, says Baird/Dealernews study

Publish Date: 
Aug 16, 2012

A Yamaha dealer said that “we need new designs to compete with Polaris.” And a Polaris dealer mentioned that the OEM “has been busy providing new and innovating products, keeping us leading our sales targets.”

Parts and Service sales remain healthy. “Parts are much better than last year, and Service is the same,” said another dealer.

MIXED OUTLOOK. Dealers remain somewhat pessimistic about current economic conditions, citing a sputtering economy and an uncertain political climate. Only 19 percent of respondents indicated they were satisfied with current economic conditions; yet 55 percent were neutral on the subject, with 26 percent saying they were unsatisfied. Harley-Davidson dealers were the most satisfied, followed by Polaris retailers.

Dealers are slightly more optimistic about the long-term picture: 28 percent said they were satisfied with the economic forecast for the next three to five years; 23 percent said they were unsatisfied, and 48 percent were neutral.

Dealer comments included the following:

  • “Too much unknown in Washington on both sides of the table.”
  • “Some OEMs are too cautious with introduction of new/updated products.”
  • “Manufacturers have to be more aware of consumer interest and consumer confidence.”
  • “Profit margins have slipped over the last 20 years, and risks are greater than potential rewards.”
  • “Manufacturers have decreased our margins to where it is impossible to profitably run a dealership. Also, manufacturers are requesting store updates that cannot be afforded.”

The Baird/Dealernews Powersports Dealer Survey provides a quarterly snapshot of overall dealer health in North America. It is a joint research venture between Dealernews and Robert W. Baird & Co. Dealers in the U.S. and Canada are surveyed to provide insight into traffic, retail, inventory, credit and sentiment, providing hard data and field commentary behind current business trends. “Our goal is to provide the powersports industry with honest views from the people that make it happen every day – the dealers,” Baird stated.

Posted by Mary Slepicka