“Arctic Cat has great products [but] pricing could be a little lower,” said a multiline dealer. “[It seems that] everything that is under 449cc is made by KYMCO.”
Harley-Davidson dealers responding to the survey said they were starved for new bikes, while Kawasaki and Polaris dealers indicated they were comfortable with current levels. “There is a glut of used Harleys on the market, but owners think their H-D is worth more than they paid for it or all they have invested in it with add-ons,” said one dealership.
MOOD IMPROVES, LONG TERM.
Slightly more dealers said they are dissatisfied with current business conditions, with many blaming the struggling economy and the political environment in Washington. They are somewhat hopeful for the longer term.
|Harley dealers, Polaris dealers and BRP/Can-Am dealers all indicated more optimism than other dealers, with Harley dealers noting the highest satisfaction levels.|
Of the respondents, 28 percent said they were “unsatisfied,” 25 percent said they were “satisfied” and 48 percent remained neutral. Looking ahead three to five years, the “unsatisfied” group dropped to 21 percent, “satisfied” rose to 33 percent and “neutral” stayed about the same at 46 percent.
“Despite overall sentiment trends, dealers of certain brands reported they are significantly more satisfied than others,” Baird researchers noted. “Based on comments and other survey results, this is likely due to the combination of better retail trends, more balanced inventory, fresh products and good relationships between the OEM and dealers. Harley dealers, Polaris dealers and BRP/Can-Am dealers all indicated more optimism than other dealers, with Harley dealers noting the highest satisfaction levels.”
Dealer sentiment mostly varied according to brand. Some comments:
- “The key to business conditions going forward is the products provided by the OEMs and the support/relationship from/with the OEMs. The problem is, no dealer or OEM rep established after [January 1990] has ever seen a downturn in the motorcycle industry, and there remains uncertainty how to navigate the future business dealings.”
- “The big cruiser market has gone to Harley-Davidson since the pricing is too close.”
- “Honda has written off the baby-boomer generation and is focusing now on smaller-displacement… product it can market to generations X, Y and Z. I agree with this strategy, although it will take a few years of adjusting to get used to selling lower priced units as these new generations mature.”
- “While it’s been a great run for the past five years, I don’t have a sense of where the [Ducati] product is going to go as high-performance hybrids and alternative transport becomes a reality. We still wait for a competitor to the lower priced, urban-cool bikes offered by Triumph and, recently, Moto Guzzi.”
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.