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    1 of 10
    5 years ago
    I recently called a friend,who owns and operates a motorcycle shop. He sells both Suzuki and Triumph, he used to sell both brands.
    He is getting out of the business, when I asked why he said "you can't make any money"
    He went on to explain how the manufactures really beat up on their dealers, with so many requirements, minimum inventory, show room floor space and design, etc. .... after listening to him I have to agree.
    In the past 2 years Triumph has lost 5 dealers in my area, all for the same reason.
    When I asked what's next he told me he would be an independent mechanic selling mostly used cars and some motorcycles.
    I quote, " If Triumph want's to rent out some floor space that's fine they can sell bikes on consignment and pay me to work on them"
    Is that where we are heading? As it is many brands only have a few dealers, and the some brands are just vacant all together.
    The manufactures can't sell bikes with out the dealers, they should be treating them like gold.
    2 of 10
    5 years ago
    It seems to me the dealers are the customer facing side of the industry, at least where the motorcycles themselves are concerned. I tend to choose my vehicles primarily based on my relationships with dealers. Especially with modern machines, ownership sucks if you don't have access to a good dealer network. 

    Have you taken a look at Roberts Give A Shift initiative? 

    rpandya, this seems like a conversation in your domain. 
    3 of 10
    5 years ago
    Bummer to hear that dealers are feeling the pinch!  A friend of mine is a Triumph/Ducati dealer here in British Columbia and although he seems to be doing well enough, it looks to me like a hard business to be in. The dealers will have to find a balance one way or the other.
    4 of 10
    5 years ago
    It's happening here in Chicagoland, too. Honda House in Elmhurst and Willy World, who carried all of the "big four" Japanese makes, in Joliet closed last year. I do not know the circumstances in each case, but both had been long-standing dealerships with decades of history. I'm no expert in these matters, but I'll say this: My favorite dealerships do not have huge, impressive properties, nor are they the closest to my home. What they are is enthusiastic, dedicated, and fair. 
    5 of 10
    5 years ago
    I have a couple of examples of how the rules put in place by the manufactures and their distributers hurt them more then help them.

    A guy I ride with wanted to buy an MV, like mine; he called the local and only MV dealer in New England, they didn't have one. Okay he said just order me one, no can do, if I buy one I have to buy seven and we don't want seven, we won't sell that many in a year.
    Result MV doesn't sell any bikes, my friend buys a Ducati, the dealership doesn't sell any MVs or service and most likely will drop the brand. If MV allowed the few dealers to buy or order any amount of any model they wanted the outcome would have benefitted everyone, other than Ducati. 
    I know another dealer who owned his own building, he carried Ducati, Triumph, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Royal Enfield,  He wanted to renovate his shop, the city said no, we don't want any more motorcycle or automotive shops in that area... so they wouldn't issue  him a permit. Rather than get into a pissing contest, he decided to sell his building.  He bought a closed car dealership off a major highway a couple miles away. He now had twice the showroom floor space and tripled his service area as well as a large paring lot. Then Ducati told him they would live with Triumph but the other brands had to go, Triumph said the same they would live with Ducati. Yamaha wanted him to have a separate building with only Yamaha, and to carry all their products. I don't know what Kawasaki wanted or Royal Enfield but in the end he dropped Yamaha, Kawasaki and Royal Enfield. Which was a big disappointment the owners of those brands. They Both Ducati and Triumph demanded he follow a strict showroom layout  new floor tiles paint signage..., costing him a lot of money, after already shelling out a bundle to move. They required him to stock a minimum  amount of clothing, accessories and parts and to have at least one of every model on the showroom floor. 
    After a year he went belly up, 5 brands gone from the area.
    At what point will the manufactures realize their practices are a race to the bottom not the top?
    6 of 10
    5 years ago
    Allworld, I had no idea that this was happening behind the scenes. It
     sounds like a very risky and horribly difficult way to make money. If they can suddenly change the terms on you essentially pulling your business out from under you, why would anyone risk the capital to start a dealership?  
    7 of 10
    5 years ago
    I don't know if they can suddenly make change to the terms, but when it comes time for renewal they certainly can. In the case where the dealer when belly up, he was grandfathered in at his original location and then when he moved he was forced to comply with all the new requirements.
    Sadly this is really based on greed by the manufactures and distributers they squeeze the dealer in everyway.
    How can  a small dealer compete with clothing and accessories with all the online sales outlets. I bought a pair of Triumph riding gloves....... over priced and poor quality. I was going to buy a tee shirt, $30.00, that's ridicules they should give them away, there nothing more than free advertisements.
    What needs to happen is for the dealers to unionize and make changes to the way the industry is set up.  Maybe my friend is right, let them rent floor space in his shop and pay him to work on the bikes. Let the manufactures sell their clothing and accessories online and see how they can compete.... 
    8 of 10
    5 years ago
    Years ago we used to have an motorcycle accessories shop across the street that went by both the names "The Motorcycle Shop" and "The Dirt Shop". Great guys over there. If memory serves, they got squeezed out by online sales. They just couldn't compete on price. 

    And with the advent of electric and soon autonomous vehicles, I wonder if the whole concept of the independent service shop is in danger of going extinct. 
    9 of 10
    5 years ago
    Sounds like the dealers really need to aggressively get word of this corporate pressure out to the riding public.  Not sure if grassroots pushback would help but obviously these policies aren't sustainable.  Not sure if this played a part in my new bike experience last year...went to a larger, well established multi-brand dealer looking to buy a current year Honda.  Wanted the current year for available options and particularly paint color.  Was told they had one in the crate in the warehouse but they would not uncrate and assemble it unless I committed to buy it unseen while also putting money down!  My take was they were trying to force me to help clear prior year inventory and/or just jerks.  I bought my bike - year, model, color, options I wanted - from a dealer in a neighboring state. 
    10 of 10
    5 years ago
    Unless all new dealerships open up in my area there are brands that will mostly never be available or be able to expand their dealernetwork. Since a lot of the established dealers have either reach capacity in their line up of brands or don't want to carry a brand and others dealers have closed they will never be able to set up shop.
    Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Vespa,  Royal Enfield, MV Agusta, Hyosung, I'm sure there are others.  
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