Why Motorcycle Shops Don’t Sell Motorcycles

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J.D. Power and Associates has just released a report that details some of the major reasons why motorcycle buyers purchase one bike over another. After talking to over 3000 customers in September and October, the report outlines four major factors for purchasing desiions, namely: why a buyer bought from one brand rather than another. The short answer is: The Dealer, the long answer is after the jump.


While almost all buyers cited price as being a factor, drilling down further finds that buyers often passed up on one motorcycle to buy another that costs virtually the same. So J.D. Power and Associates investigated further to see what the real reason was. In one sentence, it can be described as dealer experience. Their report lists some interesting numbers, but also makes the argument that a sale is won and lost on the dealership floor. 

51 % of new motorcycle shoppers said dealer-related issues as a reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand. Read in a different light, that means that a motorcycle company could DOUBLE its sales if they improved their dealer experience for the customer to the customer’s satisfaction.

The frustration with dealers is further broken down into specific issues. 25% of customers said that the inability to test ride a bike was a major issue with buying a bike (this shouldn’t be a surprised since Americans are accustomed to test-driving cars before purchasing). To top this off 7% of motorcycle buyers indicated that the inability to test ride a bike was the most influential reason for not purchasing a particular motorcycle brand.

In addition, 18% of buyers rejected a motorcycle because it was not available at the dealership (its not clear if this means the particular model, or if a variation of the model is not available). 15% of buyers cited service being an issue, and that the perception of another dealer, who sold a different brand of motorcycle, having better service was enough of a reason for the buyer to choose that brand instead.

Motorcycle manufacturers should take note of this article and evaluate how their brand is percieved and shaped by their dealers. I’d be willing to bet if any of these companies hired a rabid brand manager, we’d see some dealers’ heads rolling.

Source: J.D. Power and Associates