Kawasaki to Update K-Dealer

Kawasaki dealers have long used the K-Dealer Web site to locate vehicles being offered by other dealers. Beginning in October, they will also be able to see the vehicles available from Kawasaki itself. Once dealers find an open order they like, they can fax or call it in during the next monthly ordering period. Eventually they'll be able to order online.

Kawasaki told Dealernews about the new inventory locator at the OEM's dealer meeting this past weekend in Dallas. It also gave us information on a new electronic leads management (ELM) system with which Kawasaki is replacing all paper sales leads.

Dealers will receive leads daily and will manage them within K-Dealer. They will be able to track the progress of each lead and add comments, feedback and updates.

Paper leads will end Nov. 3, 2008. Dealers must designate an e-mail address to receive the electronic leads by Oct. 24.

In October Kawasaki will also be changing the vendor handling its salesperson awards program. Dealership staff will no longer have access to employees' Social Security numbers in a drop-down window. Instead dealers will enter personal information only at setup, when they can assign each employee an arbitrary number.

Another benefit of the new system: Dealers will have online access to salesperson performance reports. Right now, dealers must call Kawasaki to get these reports.

The old awards program will run concurrently with the new one until Jan. 1.

Finally, coming soon on K-Dealer is a new online training program to help dealership staff sell the Good Times Protection Plan.

Other Business Briefs
In addition to the K-Dealer updates, Dealernews picked up the following at Dallas: HSBC Finance was telling dealers about its new organization of field staff. In July, HSBC assigned dedicated sales regions to its three powersports account executives. Beforehand, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Polaris dealers did not have a particular contact person. Now even dealers who carry all three lines need only to contact one person. (Yamaha dealers, HSBC said, should refer to the Yamaha dealer Web site for their HSBC contact information.)

These account executives will be visiting dealerships and offering F&I training, especially on installment loans. An HSBC rep told Dealernews that about four times more customers opt for revolving credit than for an installment loan. HSBC would like to see a shift toward installment loans, which often are more customer-friendly in the long run.

UPS was at the show promoting a new program in which Kawasaki dealers can receive discounts of up to 20 percent on commercial ground shipping, and up to 40 percent on next-day air shipping. UPS was also educating dealers about four of its services: UPS Internet Shopping (allowing all departments the ability to prepare shipments), UPS WorldShip (for high-volume parts departments), UPS Customer Technology Program (affordably priced shipping technology) and UPS Quantum View (Web-based visibility of all your inbound and outbound UPS packages).

Office Max had a new program in which dealers can choose from 500 "deeply" discounted items. For 10 years Office Max has given Kawasaki executives similar discounts. Now the company expands the program to dealers, who can order their supplies online or at a store.

Jet Ski Watercraft Booking Program: Under this new program for Jet Ski parts, gear, apparel and accessories, dealers can choose their shipment dates between December 2008 and March 2009. If they order by Oct. 15, they receive the following volume discounts: 1 percent (for a $5,000 order), 2 percent ($7,500) and 3 percent ($10,000). In lieu of discounts, $5,000/$7,500/$10,000 orders automatically qualify for March/April/May billing.

Kawasaki created the program, it says, to encourage dealers to order early. In the past, because lead times for PWC items such as vests are so long, dealers trying to restock during the season often haven't received what they want.