IT WAS A PLAN that could never work: Start with an expensive location that had seen previous dealerships collapse, combine that with a terrible economic climate, and then mix in a low-volume brand. But like a certain fictional team leader, Ducati/ Triumph Newport Beach president Michael Guerin loves it when a plan comes together.
Guerin knew exactly what it would take to make his plan successful. He needed a strong brand, the right location and a strong staff that knew how to provide a truly premium customer experience. “It was all planned that way,” Guerin says. “When we opened this store in May 2009, we were in the heat of the recession. But if we could get the pieces to work, we were going to do it. Getting a Ducati franchise in here was key, as I really felt it was the brand to have in this market. It was the culmination of what we called the perfect storm: perfect location, great product, and obviously the best employees.”
While it might be easy to look to Ducati/Triumph Newport Beach’s location as the source of Guerin’s success, he asserts that there is more to a great store than a great location. Of course, he is quick to point out that it doesn’t hurt.
The dealership sits directly on Newport Boulevard, an arterial surface street that essentially connects affluent Newport Beach with the rest of central Orange County, Calif. It is close to the beach, close to major freeways, and sees plenty of passing traffic each day.
“It’s a combination of things that makes it a good destination dealership,” Guerin says. “It’s a great place to ride to. We’re half a mile from the ocean on the main artery into Newport Beach, so we get about 100,000 cars a day that drive by the dealership.
“When you have a location like this, you can spend a lot less on marketing. You may pay more in rent, but that is your marketing expense. It’s the right area, there’s no doubt,” he says.
There’s also something to be said for having the right brand for your market. Newport Beach boasts some of the highest property values in the country, and many areas around Orange County aren’t far off. Ducati’s premium market position doesn’t deter many buyers in these areas, and Ducati has been on a tear over the last few years.