Who Has the Best Dealer Network in the USA? Ducati

05/05/2014 @ 12:17 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS


The Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) has become the motorcycle industry’s gold standard on dealer assessment, especially between brands. Scoring on the PSI is done by a combination of industry sales, as well as mystery shopper experiences, which Pied Piper itself conducts.

Tallying scores for their 2014 report now, Pied Piper has announced that Ducati has come out on top in the Prospect Satisfaction Index rankings, followed by Harley-Davidson (2nd) and Can-Am (3rd). Overall though, motorcycles dealers across all brands improved on their scores from 2012, with 12 of the 17 measured brands getting higher scores than last year.

The following are some examples of the insights Pied Piper gained from its Prospect Satisfaction Index:

  • Offering test rides: Recognition of the importance of test rides has driven many—but not all—motorcycle dealerships to figure out ways to overcome the challenges of offering test rides. The 2014 study showed that dealerships on average mentioned either immediate or future test rides 52% of the time, compared to only 36% of the time three years ago. However, there is much variation from brand to brand. Dealers selling five brands—Ducati, Can-Am, Harley-Davidson and BMW—mentioned test rides to more than 60% of their customers, while dealers selling Moto Guzzi, KTM, Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda mentioned test rides to less than 30% of their customers.
  • Suggesting writing up a deal: Dealers selling Can-Am, Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Ducati and Triumph were most likely to suggest going through the numbers and writing up a deal, while dealers selling KTM, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Victory and BMW were least likely. Industry-wide, salespeople attempted to write-up a deal 39% of the time, compared to 30% of the time three years ago.
  • Asking for customer contact information: Dealers selling Harley-Davidson, Ducati, Can-Am, Victory and Triumph were most likely to ask for customer contact information, while dealers selling Moto Guzzi, KTM, Suzuki, Aprilia and Yamaha were least likely. Industry-wide, salespeople asked for customer contact information 52% of the time, compared to 46% of the time three years ago.

Pied Piper is a company that makes money off providing research information to dealers and OEMs, so it has an obvious stake in its results. However, it is interesting to see that in 2014, there are still OEMs and dealers that don’t offer a test ride on what is essentially a five-figure purchasing decision.

You would be hard-pressed to find a car dealer that didn’t offer a test drive to a potential customer, yet the same cannot be said in the motorcycle industry — perhaps an extension of how American purchasers (and dealers) perceive motorcycles as recreation and not transportation.

With the US motorcycle market still not recovering with haste, you would think that motorcycle OEMs would be changing their stance on this issue, and for the most part they are improving, yet clearly there are holdouts in the industry.

A factor not mentioned in the Pied Piper press release is the loss of dealers during the Great Recession, as many OEMs were able to use the economy to drop low-performing and low-quality dealerships during the economic downturn.

This culling of the herd could have more to do with the PSI score trends, than actual improvements within OEM dealer networks, which is something to consider when weighing these results.

Source: Pied Piper

  • Dave

    Well looks like KTM has some work to do! I am waiting for my 1290 Superduke R to arrive too. I think KTM has some decisions to make about whether they want to try and sell more road bikes in the USA or not. I wonder if KTM USA is going to do anything or just ignore those results.

  • It’s funny, I’ve lived a lot of places in the United States, West Coast, East Coast, South, Midwest, and I’ve never seen a Ducati dealership.

  • Xan

    When discussing the low test ride numbers. It is probably worth mentioning that motorcycles require vastly more skill to operate, and the vast majority of riders have a small fraction of the time they’ve spent behind the wheel on a motorcycle.

    It depends on how often you purchase motorcycles, but I know that since buying my Honda, the local dealership is more than willing to send me off on my next potential purchase.

  • Xan

    Another factor is that they have to send you off alone. I’d be willing to bet that if car dealers couldn’t ride along, they would give far fewer tests as well.

  • Rantz1199

    @Aaron B….. you don’t know where to look or you have lived in caves in those states!

  • pmoosh

    here is my experience.

    In my area all BMW, Triumph and Aprilia dealerships let me test ride whatever was available (actually one was a BMW/Aprilia dealership the other one was a BMW/Triumph dealership)…

    I requested a test ride through the Ducati website, but the dealership never accommodated a test ride, when I asked they didn’t really what to do and made it very difficult. However, after that I got calls from the 039 country code at odd times so it took a while until I actually answered the call. And it was a customer rep from Italy calling me to ask if I was able to do the test ride. I said I was not and that I am not going to buy a bike without a test ride and she said of course I should have a test ride – it’s not like I am going to buy some ice cream …

    Ultimately, I ended up doing a test ride further away from where I live…

  • I’m actually kind of impressed that someone from Italy called you. I didn’t know they had phones there. Hey-oh!

  • Campisi

    Not trying to push me into the financing office or badgering me for my personal info were both big reasons why I bought my Moto Guzzi over the Yamaha, KTM, and Zero I was also considering.

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m unusual. Nah.

  • Lewis Dawson

    Collectively, a poor showing by Japan, Inc. From the customer’s point of view, a dealer has only one opportunity to make a good first impression. Seeming to be more in the ATV business than the bike business is not a way to make a good first impression with me. And Japan, Inc. does poorly on this parameter.

  • zootcadillac

    @pmoosh. That is an interesting experience. It’s one which surprises me if I’m honest. I’m not totally au fait with the North American market however.
    Ducati dealerships are private enterprises, a franchise if you will. Ducati will not sell you a bike. They provide dealerships with product to sell to customers. Your purchase and any contract would be with the dealership rather than Ducati.
    If you want to set up a test ride there are means to do this via Ducati websites but they simply refer you to a dealership. Unless you go to a Ducati roadshow specifically set up to promote and offer bikes for testing then any test ride would be with a dealership.
    It’s perplexing to me why somebody from Italy would feel the need to call a customer. The only instances of this that I’m aware of recently are for customers purchasing a superleggera where you could expect a call from the lovely Francesca. Ducati Italy would have no involvement in a dealership transaction with you.
    Even if it were the case that the dealership was unable to provide a test bike and Ducati Motor Holding might try to contact you to arrange something at another dealership then it would be down to the local Ducati North America office to set that up.
    Just all seems a bit odd to me. One of the problems in NA is that the dealerships, although there are many, they are far apart. The fact that the continent is large means that if one dealer is unable to provide a timely test ride for a bike not in stock then you would be expected to travel to find that bike. The stock holding is a matter for the Dealer, not Ducati.

    My point of all this is that Ducati often get the short end of the stick over many issues which are simply nothing to do with them. You buy your bike from an independent dealer who has a license to sell Ducati products. Poor dealerships exist.

  • Clint K

    I have never had a problem test riding any bike.

    I bought a Ducati, and never had a problem demoing one at dealers on the east or west coast.

    My friend bought a Diavel because the HD dealer thought they were too good to let him demo a V-Rod.

  • Bob


    KTM USA is well aware of the issue they had back in 07 and 08 with dirt dealers flat-out refusing to work with the street models. For the latest machines, the outlook is much better, as pure street KTM dealers are popping up, and KTM not only is pushing for stronger dealers, but they have the advantage of having two of the hottest bikes in the industry, too (the 1190 and 1290), which will make dealers wake up and smell the potential customers at their doors.

  • Kevin

    I went to my local Ducati dealer and they offered a test ride even though I hadn’t ridden in 28 years and only had my permit. Yes, I did disclose that info. They do a ride along also.

  • Ross York

    My local Ducati of Detroit dealership is an excellent example of a great dealership. They take care of thier customers well and offer demo rides readily. I purchased my awesome ktm eating multistrada used from a private owner, yet they still treat me like I purchased it there. Courtesy and respect go a long way.
    no Japanese dealership has ever offered a test ride to me before.

  • Ross York

    The Japanese dealerships have the numbers on thier side.
    the Europeans are at a clear disadvantage as far as dealership volume, in all of Michigan we have exactly two ducati dealerships, two ktm, two moto guzzi and maybe three triumph dealerships.

  • Goat

    What a joke!!! Ducati, Can Am really!

  • Smitchell

    We used to have to do this Pied Piper crap in my dealer days. It seemed very high pressure, but wrapped in the tinsel of being “good customer service”. It was just a way to pressure sales staff into being pushy with the customers and making them log their “progress” with anyone who came in the door.
    So it doesn’t necessarily mean Ducati has the best network, it just means their dealers have been pushing the Pied Piper sales program.

  • Belga

    Actually, it is Yamaha that wins. Note that Star motorcycles got a 102. Of course, Star is Yamaha and Yamaha is Star. They only call ’em Stars to fool the HD crowd. Looks like they fooled Pied Piper too. Add Yamaha’s score (92) to Star’s score (102) and you get 194. Which blows everyone else away.

  • ross

    Belga, really? If they are one and the same, how can you add them together?
    More like average them….93, at best, tied with Honda.