When asked to list the top issues for the year ahead, dealers highlighted a variety of topics, but three issues were mentioned repeatedly: 36 percent of the surveyed dealers noted customer spending and powersports participation, 25 percent listed the government’s effects on the economy and regulations, and 19 percent said they were concerned with profitability in regard to margins and Internet competition.
- “Government regulation — they killed the watercraft industry, they killed the dirtbike industry, and they are going the same to scooters (by making people register them) and motorcycles (California exhaust laws). I am glad I am old enough not to care.”
- “Economy — with another four years of Obama it doesn’t look good.”
- “Margin erosion is a major concern.”
- “Everyone I have talked to is running very lean on inventory due to the current administration’s views on small business. We are constantly understaffed but are just trying to survive.”
- “Dealers giving away product at almost cost to people outside their area hurts the dealer network. One dealer in particular sells snowmobiles so low it makes it hard to justify being a snowmobile dealer. The OEMs do nothing about it but expect you to order more sleds the following year even though we couldn’t make money on the ones we sold.”
- “Aging rider demographic — as a kid growing up in the ’60s my pals and I were gearheads and everyone wanted a bike! Bikes are not perceived as cool to the younger generations as they once were. We need to develop new riders. We also need to focus on value models.”
- “Wholesale pressure needs to stop until retail at least gets back to 2009-2010 levels.”
- “Our customers, like all others, view motorcycle purchases as luxury or recreational items. Without knowledge of their future financial position, it is difficult for them to justify these discretionary purchases.”
- “Weak dealers will go out; strong dealers will get bigger to pick up the slack. Qualified techs will be a problem.”
- “We desperately need lenders willing to stretch for customers that will allow us to finance add-on accessories and backend products.”
- “The lack of younger generations becoming involved or even being interested in motorcycles, ATVs, etc. — I killed to be able to go with my dad and see what was new each year and possibly even bring one home. Now it’s all about electronics or kids just sitting around gaming. They have no idea or even urge to try riding.”
- “Manufacturers need to be more proactive with their inventory move-around efforts and create programs that will encourage other dealers to dealer-locate product and make a sale rather than telling customers that ‘everything’ is ‘sold out’ until next year.”
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 Arlo Redwine