BREA, Calif. - American Suzuki Motor Corp. is charging into 2013 with new products, extensive marketing plans and aggressive new efforts in parts and accessories sales. So said Suzuki executives during its recent dealer meeting in Las Vegas.
The new emphasis on P&A sales, along with new models and marketing strategies, are intended to help increase profitability at dealerships still working to get out of a slump caused by the worldwide recession and the subsequent decision by Suzuki back in 2010 to scale back its powersports product lineup to just 10 units.
Now coming off of a year of increased sales — up 10 percent year-to-date for 2012, according to the company, with plans to hit 15 percent growth in 2013 — Suzuki is building on the momentum by more than quadrupling its motorcycle, ATV and scooter product offerings and beefing up profit centers for OEM and dealer alike.
One of those areas, parts and accessories sales, has undergone a complete operational and philosophical transformation, a change that stretches all the way to the parent company in Japan, which had to green-light the new approach, according to Mark Eastman, ASMC senior director of operations.
The goal, said Eastman, is to show that OE parts and accessories can not only compete with aftermarket products and bring dealers better margins, but exceed the quality and fitment of other popular name-brand products. With DIY customers an integral part of the market, Eastman said that there are advantages to using original equipment items; the products are factory-tested and are developed alongside the motorcycle, scooter or ATV for which they’re made.
“The idea was, how can we be competitive with the aftermarket and the OEMs?” Eastman explained.
To help with this Suzuki rearranged its P&A initiative into three divisions; operations, inventory control, and sales and marketing.
PHOTO: New branded POP displays and fixtures were shown at the OEM's recent dealer meeting in Las Vegas.(Dealernews photo)
The OEM also hired a dedicated parts sales manager, built branded POP displays and fixtures, and created branded, sales-friendly, merchandisable packaging for items most commonly stuck on a dusty back shelf. The first products to get the new packaging are consumables.
The OEM also completely revamped its shipping, ordering and returns policies with an eye toward making the P&A business easier, less costly and more dealer-friendly. “We’re not just order-takers and order suppliers,” Eastman noted, "we’re also promoters and salespeople.”
The idea for the change started a little more than a year when American Suzuki officials started looking at the various profit centers in the company and found that they were doing a poor job of promoting OE parts for its vehicles. This, Eastman said, put a drain on the dealers and on the company. (continued)