Steve Menneto, general manager of Victory Motorcycles, on what he gleaned in 2010.
Dealernews:How did 2010 affect you the most?
Menneto: Victory Motorcycles was faced with the same industry headwind as everyone else given the difficult financial climate. However, the strength of our newest products in the Cross Country and Cross Roads, as well as meeting key sales goals and reducing inventory levels helped. The most difficult part of the business for us has been getting dealers to understand the change that has taken place at Victory. We have a new team, we’re investing in new products, we’re approaching retail in a way that Victory hasn’t done in the past. We’re being aggressive and that is being somewhat muted by the industry. Dealers are cautious, and I understand why. But as leader of the division, we trying to send a message that this isn’t just a reaction to tough economic times, this instead is a whole new approach to dealer relationships.
DN: In hindsight, what would you have done differently in 2010?
Menneto: It’s tough to predict what will happen when times are changing so much – however looking back, we could have pushed harder into our accessory division and created more success there for ourselves and our dealers. As the Victory line has shifted in volumes towards touring products, the demands on associated accessories and lifestyle gear will be higher, and we have some opportunities that were left on the table. PG&A is a profit center for our dealers and promotes brand recognition with our customers.
DN: How are you going to do things differently in 2011, especially in light of what you learned over the last year?
Menneto: Working with our dealers to get laser-focused on the customer will be critical in the coming year. We know we have great products that are desired in the market place – and there is more to come – sooner than you realize! That said, the dealers are forced to run thin staffing, and manage their businesses smartly – so I know that if our company, along with our dealers, continue to listen and react to what customers want and need, it will only pay dividends in the long run. We’re not looking to ‘turtle’ and we have a good dealer base that does great with their customers. 2011 is about being focused on the customer and growing our collective Motorcycle business, we’re ready to rock.