SURVEY RESULTS: Used Bikes A Hot Commodity

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Dealernews invited dealers to participate in a survey about used bike sales. Here's what the survey revealed:

In most markets, demand for used bikes is high. A whopping 58.3 percent of dealers who responded to our survey stated that used bikes sit on average for one to three months before being sold. Even better, 20.8 percent said that it takes less than one month to sell a used bike. A small percentage of dealers (16.7 percent) said it takes 4 to 6 months, while 4.2 percent say it takes around 7 to 10 months to sell a used bike, the longest lot time dealers reported.

Most dealers report brisk sales. For the average number of used bikes sold in a year, 29.2 percent of dealers report selling between 101 and 150 units. Supporting that average, 25 percent of dealers sell 31-50 units, and 25 percent report selling more than 200 used units a year. 8.3 percent of dealers sell less than 30 units, and 8.3 percent sell between 151-200 bikes. 4.2 percent of dealers who responded state they sell between 51-100 used bikes per year.

Does certification matter? 45.8 percent of dealers choose not to certify their used bikes, and the same number chooses to certify. 8.3 percent said that the factory certifies the used bikes. When comparing this data to sales data, it may mean that customers who are looking to buy a used unit aren't too concerned with buying a certified unit as opposed to buying a non-certified unit.

More than half of used bikes sold have a warranty. 41.7 percent of dealers say their used units have a factory or OEM warranty. 33.3 percent of dealers offer their own warranty, while 37.5 percent say there is no warranty offered at all.

One third of dealers report a dealer margin on used units of 16 to 20 percent. 29.2 percent of dealers say their average is 11 to 15 percent, and 25 percent of dealers report their margins are more than 20 percent (we want to know their secret). 4.2 and 8.3 of dealers report 5 to 7 percent and 8 to 10 percent, respectively.

When inspecting, correcting and prepping used units, most dealers conduct their own inspections through their service departments, and most have a checklist they use to make sure the bike is safe and saleable. "Every bike goes through a safety inspection, with major safety needs corrected," says one dealer. Another dealer says, "all vehicles are dealer-prepped and inspected for flaws or irregularities."

When determining a trade-in value, most survey responses indicate that dealers take into consideration a number of factors, including NADA trade-in value, the general market conditions and condition of the bike itself. "All trades are inspected on a repair order," says one dealer. "They are ridden by a tech and an inspection report is generated along with a repair estimate."

Survey results are based on 24 dealer responses.