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Archive for May 28th, 2009

Bellemont Harley-Davidson

Bellemont Harley-Davidson

For years the heavyweight motorcycle market grew at double-digit rates, thanks to low interest rates, a solid economy, a rising stock market, rising home values and baby boomer enthusiasm.

With the exception of interest rates all other factors have changed and not for the positive. It was reported in JSOnline that Robert W. Baird & Company, surveyed 75 Harley-Davidson dealers and found that new bike sales were down between 20 – 25% from a year ago.  Used motorcycle sales fell between 5 – 10%.  In addition, 63% of the H-D dealers that Baird surveyed in late April and May 2009 were selling bikes below MSRP compared to 36% a year ago.  They also reported that dealers found promotions (Sportster promo which just ended) worked to help bring in foot traffic and to a degree helped stimulate sales.  Dealers want more H-D promotions.

Marketing 101 - Overcome Buyer Resistance

Marketing 101 - Overcome Buyer Resistance

In response the company launched the “Test Ride” promotion, but it has received mixed results from dealers.  The thinking is that historically H-D dealers didn’t provide test rides on motorcycles.  Some did, but many did not and the new promotion means each dealer will designate one motorcycle from each category of the product line up as it’s demo bike.  The test rides are supervised by a dealership staff person who tags along on another bike.

So what does this have to do with Arizona you ask?  Well — I spent the Memorial Day weekend driving the Sedona – Flagstaff – Grand Canyon loop and stopped in at the Bellemont H-D dealer for a quick scan.  Nice enough folks.  It’s an old rustic building and not one of those extra large overpriced mega-stores, but what caught my attention were these amateur bright yellow-green signs on every motorcycle seat in the show floor which read:  DO NOT SIT!  I found this amusing and obviously they never received the how to overcome buyer resistance memo!! 

I don’t know if this just local lunacy, but clearly if you want to attract people who have never ridden a Harley and plant the seed for a future purchase you would want to influence their mind set….especially anyone who ventured into the store.  So, my advice is toss out those bright yellow-green tags because this is a vicious circle in which no dealership wins.

Photo taken at Bellemont H-D.

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