Triumph North America has been on a tear lately, releasing new models and expanding its lineup. An integral part of the push to grow the Triumph brand is reaching out to customers and potential buyers to create brand awareness. To that end, Triumph has launched several major promotions as a multi-pronged plan to increase traffic.
The first promotion continues until May 31st and includes extensive accessory packages on select 2010 machines (up to $2,110 MSRP value on the Tiger 1050). The second program (also ending May 31st) is a trade-in value guaranty equal to the original purchase price on 2010 Speedmasters and Americas. Finally, Triumph is also targeting new riders by offering up to $225 for the completion of approved rider training courses until December 31st. We talked with CEO Greg Heichelbech for his candid take on the aim behind each program.
Dealernews: Under the “You Buy the Bike, We Buy the Accessories” promotion, Triumph is offering complete accessory packages for a variety of models. What drove the creation of this promo?
Greg Heichelbech: We have two major goals with this. First, how do we build awareness, to get people looking at Triumph, and to do it without saying that there’s money on the table, which is really not a brand building promotion? Quite frankly, it upsets your past customers by essentially devaluing their bike. We didn’t want to do that, so the best way was through the use of accessories. Second, we had a commitment to our dealers. We made a commitment last year to our dealers. ‘Look, we want to grow this business, and if you help us do that, we going to deliver promotions in the spring.’ They stepped up, they ordered product in the winter months, and we are returning our obligations to create awareness and traffic for those dealers to move those products that they bought.
DN: The next big promotion you are currently offering is nearly unique in this industry. How did you make the decision to offer guaranteed trade-in values for bikes in your lineup?
GH: With the Value Assurance Program, we wanted to make this huge statement about our brand, about the quality, and that when you buy a Triumph, you can buy it with confidence, because it’s a high-quality premium brand. So much so, that we’re the only manufacturer besides Harley that is willing to put money where our mouth is and guaranty to return the purchase price of the motorcycle after you’ve ridden it for a year. This was as much a statement and an awareness-building piece for us as anything else we’ve done. These are typically first time entrants into the Triumph family, and we want them to have the very highest impression they can possibly have with owning a Triumph. When buying a motorcycle for the first time, they may not be sure exactly what size or type of motorcycle they want, so we want to also make sure that they ride with confidence. If it’s the right bike, great, but if it’s not, trade it in on bike that you think is right for you after you’ve had a year’s worth of riding experience. You can rest assured that you’ll get your full purchase price, and that Triumph is the right brand that will hold its value.
DN: Finally, what led to the creation of the Triumph New Rider Training promotion?
GH: The rider incentive training, in particular, is quite frankly just about reaching new customers and having the opportunity to introduce them to the Triumph brand. Those people are just getting into motorcycling, and they’re looking for a home. The most important thing is that they find the right home and the right motorcycle for them, and if we can get them to consider Triumph and help them find the right motorcycle through the rider incentive program, then great! It hopefully allows us to establish a much longer-term relationship with those customers. And we also wanted to reach out to women riders, because a lot of new riders coming in to the sport are women, and this is a great way to do it.
DN: On a side note, your Scrambler was recently featured on the March 2011 cover of Men’s Journal magazine . What sort of response did you see from dealers and consumers?
GH: I got several calls from dealers asking me specifically, ‘Hey, can I get more scramblers? I’ve sold all my scramblers and I have customers coming in, asking for the green scrambler from the cover of Men’s Journal.’ We saw a dramatic increase in floor traffic, and a dramatic increase in demand for that motorcycle. So much so that our regional managers have the ability to rearrange inventory at dealerships to transfer from one store to another as needed. We want to make sure that customer who saw that bike on the cover could get one if they so desired. In fact, we’ve actually oversold that model, with more bikes in demand than we could fulfill right now. It’s a great place to be in, but I wish we could fill all the orders, obviously! We’re well on our way for the spring with everything in motion, and I think our dealers are very happy with everything we’ve put in place.
DN: Basically you have a combination of programs aimed at new riders, increasing brand awareness and moving product without devaluing specific models. What is the overall goal for Triumph North America overall?
GH: With any promotion, we’re are looking for general brand awareness for Triumph not only in the motorcycle community, but as broad a sweep of community as we can reach. The whole thing with these programs is to position us solidly in the U.S. market as a solid and well-established premium brand. Now when I say premium, I’m not saying high-end because everything’s a hundred dollars when you walk in the store. It means premium from a high-quality, high-standard, great performance standpoint. We need to set that mark, and we need to make sure that customers know that they can count on us to live up to that.
And we also have our message to dealers: we’re not like other OEMs. We know how hard it is to run a dealership under ideal conditions, let alone in an economy like ours. So we’ll continue to support our dealers just as they support us.
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