Posts Tagged ‘financial’

Powersports: The Lost Decade? Not Really

February 1, 2010

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews February 2010 issue.

I have yet to see the final MIC numbers for 2009, but dealers likely retailed about 500,000 new motorcycles and scooters made by the major brands. This is roughly the same number they retailed in the late 1990s. For all you industry veterans, wouldn’t it be great if you could just downsize to your 1999 staffing and advertising levels, and call it good? The OEMs and aftermarket could do the same. With all the recent layoffs, maybe that’s what they’ve had in mind.

If only it were that easy. For one thing, technology and the Internet have changed how business is done. Today there are dealership duties that didn’t exist a decade ago. Even our favorite V-twin hippie, Rick Fairless, has computer people on staff. Turn to page 18 for some insight into how he’s built one of the smartest websites I’ve visited. It’s plain fun.

Technology doesn’t necessarily mean more overhead: It can save money in man-hours and advertising. Fairless, for example, explains how he’s stopped spending money on the Yellow Pages. Another columnist, Eric Anderson (page 28), talks this month about digital signage that acts as a silent salesperson on steroids. (more…)