Posts Tagged ‘Dealer’

My House Wine: CorsaVino

June 30, 2009

A couple of months ago I reported on CorsaVino – a wine brand of limited availability launched by Arun Sharma, the general manager of MotoCorsa in Portland.

t4Well, today I received my shipment of Sharma’s 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Mostro Rosso, limited to a production of 98 cases and retailing for $314 by the case or $29 by the bottle; and 2005 Syrah, limited to a production of 217 cases and retailing for $292 by the case or $27 by the bottle.

Mmmm, now to deal with the most difficult decision. After all, being a wine enthusiast is a bit like being a collector of motorcycles: Do you drink/ride the product or do you not drink/ride the product?

Pre-Owned Products Prove Popular

May 23, 2009

Anyone who frequents franchise powersports dealerships has likely noticed an expansion in the pre-owned inventory on display, but another recent retail trend is the increasing number of businesses popping up all over the country that specialize only in pre-owned motorcycles.

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Dealing in pre-owned bikes is an especially compelling business venture at the moment, as the sour economy has dried up consumer credit opportunities for customers who have the desire to ride but are having a tough time obtaining credit on higher priced new models retailed by franchise dealerships. This bodes especially true in the sportbike marketplace, as many buyers of sportbikes tend to be younger, and thus representative of the main demographic suffering from the credit crisis.

Here in Minneapolis, there’s a new pre-owned shop called Simply Sport Bikes (SLXi). The endeavor, run by fellas named Brian Cox and Matt Johnson, grew out of a pre-owned luxury automobile business Cox has with his father.

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Pics by momentumphoto.net

I recently stopped at SLXi to take a look at the operation. Cox, a long-time cycle enthusiast, told me he felt adding sportbikes as a sister venture to the luxury auto business could be an equally profitable and exciting opportunity. So, he hooked up with friend and long-time cycle technician Johnson and opened shop.

Johnson served as a franchise dealer tech and is the former of Full Power Cycle in Hopkins, Minn., a service-only operation.

Advertising the business is done two ways: through sponsorship of the Minnesota Sportbike Riders online forum (MNSBR.com) and, more recently, via 30-second ads run on local television. For SLXi, while the TV ads have managed to attract a larger audience, the MNSBR.com forum – a direct link to local sportbike enthusiasts – has proved to be a particular boon. For example, two weeks ago, the two entities teamed up to sponsor a group ride that resulted in an estimated 400 riders meeting at the store. Imagine the sales opportunities inherent in 400 sportbike “customers” in one location at one time.
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SLXi currently has 109 bikes in stock and markets itself as among the largest sportbike-only retailers in the Midwest. Cox says obtaining stock isn’t an issue as advances in motorcycle development allow bikes to run longer with fewer problems, sportbike enthusiasts tend to buy and sell their rides much more often than other cyclists, and a decade of growth in motorcycle sales has brought more bikes into the pre-owned marketplace.

SLXi customers in need of financing are turned on to local banks and credit unions.

Like most sport bike dealers, SLXi does not offer a test drive on motorcycles. However they do offer a test drive “after the fact” – if you want to purchase a bike, you can fill out the documents for purchasing and pay for the vehicle. Once you’ve finalized the documents you can take the bike on a 10-15 minute test drive to ensure that you are comfortable with the machine. If there is anything you don’t like, you can bring the bike back and get a full refund, provided the bike is in the same condition as when it left.

Another SLXi benefit: The store offers “while-u-wait” service on things like accessory Installation, brake services, carb cleaning, chain/sprocket service, fork seal service, inspections, oil change, and tire mounting and balancing. “It’s kind of like the Jiffy Lube business model,” Cox says. “The customer brings the bike in and Matt takes care of it for them so they can be on the road again as quickly as possible.”

Parts, garments and accessories are procured from distributors Tucker Rocky and Western Power Sports.

I recently wrote a lengthy article about another successful pre-owned-only retailer, All Pro Motorsports in Wisconsin. Check out All Pro’s story HERE.

Suzuki’s Mueller Moves to Glenn Roller

May 19, 2009

Hey, Suzuki dealers, been waiting to hear from Bob Mueller? Mueller was – until recently – sales development manager for American Suzuki Motor Corp. The key word here is “was,” as Mueller was caught up in Suzuki’s recent employee downsizing scheme.

But Mueller isn’t finished with the motorcycle industry. In fact, you can now find him working with Glenn Roller at the Glenn Roller Institute. You may recall The Educational Program, Roller’s comprehensive sales training program, offered through Suzuki, that promises to take any salesperson – if they are willing to study and learn – from a basic to a highly advanced level of sales competency.

The Educational Program takes the salesperson to a higher level of understanding of the sales process and teaches a sales system that raises sales efficiency (average amount of time and effort it takes to close sales). This system is so efficient that within seven minutes one can establish customer trust, discover what is most important to them and determine their financial parameters. These levels of understanding are incredibly successful because they are simple and can be applied with any personality style. This program includes a 400 page sales book, a 12 CD audio book, 190 que cards for practicing your lines, on-line exercises, and on-line results reporting to management.

I’m currently taking The Educational Program training course, a process taking four to six weeks to complete at 30 minutes a day. I’ll let you know when I’m done.

SBA Details New Alternative Loan Criteria

May 4, 2009

Average  After Tax Income Less Than $3 Million? You May Qualify

Two Methods To Figure Eligibility Now Available

The Small Business Administration today clarified its new guidelines for loan guarantees as they apply to small business such as powersports dealers and manufacturers. The alternate company size standards announced May 1, 2009, apply to motorcycle, ATV, and personal watercraft firms. This updates an earlier post  here with additional information.

The SBA has created a second, more liberal, alternate standard for small businesses that couldn’t qualify for an SBA-backed loan under the original standard.

These are not NEW standards, an SBA spokesman told me, they’re alternative standards designed to expand the program to smaller businesses that have been seriously affected by the current economic downturn.

(more…)

ABA, NRF Expect Economic Rebound Late in 2009

January 27, 2009

The economy fell at the sharpest rate in nearly three decades in the fourth quarter of last year, and the Economic Advisory Committee (EAC) of the American Bankers Association says it believes the economic downturn will continue through the first half of 2009 before rebounding in the second half. It’s a perspective the National Retail Federation (NRF) apparently shares.

Bruce Kasman, EAC chair and chief economist for JP Morgan Chase, New York, says the committee believes the first half of ’09 will be marked by consumers continuing to retrench, saving more, spending less, and further weakening demand for goods and services.

The NRF, in its 2009 economic forecast released today, says it sees more challenges ahead as consumers continue to shift their spending priorities.

Read a full report here.

Obama’s Black-And-Whites

December 27, 2008

While President-elect Barack Obama recently was escorted through Hawaii tucked safely within a convoyobamacyclecops of BMW police motorcycles, his next date with two-wheelers will include more than a dozen “Made in the USA” Harley-Davidson police motors.

Harley-Davidson of Frederick Maryland was the dealership tapped to supply bikes to the District of Columbia police for Obama’s inauguration parade.

Dealer principle Michael Vantucci delivered 12 Harley-Davidsons to the police department on Dec. 26. The 2009 FLHTP Electra Glides will be used for escort and security duty.
Vantucci’s supplied bikes have led an inaugural procession five times before. His dealership this year beat out at least seven other motorcycle dealers who bid on the $360,000 inauguration contract.

The District of Columbia police replaces 10 to 12 motorcycles a year and sells the retired bikes, with 40,000 to 50,000 miles on them, online.
BMW and Harley-Davidson are fierce competitors in the police bike market. I wrote an article about police motors earlier this year. Read it here

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Now For Some Dealer News

November 26, 2008

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Wilwert’s, Inc., a Harley-Davidson, Buell, KTM and Suzuki dealership in Dubuque, Iowa, is preparing to close its doors due to foreclosure. A sign on the dealership’s showroom window informed customers of the closing.
The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department says the building will be made available for public auction on Jan. 15, 2009. A sale notice says the Dubuque-based American Trust and Savings Bank, the Wilwert’s lender, recently was awarded a judgment of $1.6 million. The 53,000 sq. ft. Dubuque location was opened in April 2003.
Owned by Clay and Janelle Wilwert, the dealership is a family-run business, opened by Clay’s parents in September 1960 as a Harley-Davidson retailer. Since then, the store has relocated five times and added KTM and Suzuki brands.
Wilwert’s, Inc. had 40 employees at one time, but is now down to 16 in an effort to cut costs and remain open.
The Dubuque County Assessor’s Office this year valued the building at $2,011,200 and the parcel’s 6.78 acres of land at $335,800. Records show Wilwert was current on his property taxes, last paying $40,315 on Sept. 6. His next payment of the same amount would be due March 2009.
In 1999, Wilwert’s opened a second location 15 miles away from Dubuque in Galena, Ill. The 6,000 sq. ft. Galena store carries only Harley-Davidson and Buell. The Galena store also will close because Harley-Davidson considers it an extension of the main store and Motor Co. by-laws prohibit branch stores from remaining open if the main dealership is closed.
Wilwert’s is only one of multiple long-time H-D dealerships to close in November. Santa Cruz Harley-Davidson owner Mike James closed his dealership earlier this month, ending Harley-Davidson’s 80-year run in the city.
Citing poor motorcycle sales due to a struggling economy, James shut his dealership and museum Nov. 11. The dealership’s satellite shop in Watsonville closed earlier this year.
“The simple answer is we’re a victim of what’s happened to consumer confidence,” James told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Though other areas of the dealership were doing fine, bike sales at the Santa Cruz dealership had fallen from an average of 50 per month to 15 in October, James said.
In Wisconsin, River Falls Harley-Davidson closed its doors on Nov. 1.