CHANGING THE GAME FOR THE DEALER
I talk to some great people, above you can Steve from the Scooter Scoop http://www.thescooterscoop.com who always has some great ideas on how to keep stores making money, and I've been putting it out there that dealers need to Adapt or Die. It's the first law of business, Arrakis, or whatever place you're from. Darwin didn't exactly explain the scooter world which is a world of passion and insanity, but he did give us that little line which makes you realize you always have to be on top of the game.
DON'T HATE THE PLAYER
The industry is getting smaller, but I was thinking this morning that just means that dealers that are in it for the long run need to be smart about who they pick as their suppliers.
MRP is bigger than ever so despite all the doom and gloom you have someone who will help you get the parts for all the brands you offer: No other distributor has Korean parts, Italian parts, Japanese parts, and Chinese parts in one place.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:
I also ask that the dealers think outside the box. Read some of our MPN magazine articles on how to stay profitable all year long. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HRUokVfsDk
On our site you will find lots of great advice on how to build a better store as well.
BRANDS AND FORECAST
So as a dealer you need to support the distributors that support you. I also think this applies the other way around.
Suppliers need to be smarter as to who they pick to represent them. Talking to companies like Kymco and Honda I get the sense they aren't as desperate to set up any fly by night operation as other companies. Piaggio at one point was setting up ever car dealer that came knocking and in retrospect I think that was a mistake. MRP made some mistakes as well, we lowered our dealer buy in and all it did was bring small repair shops that can't buy more than a hundred dollars a year in parts. Sadly that's not representing a company with 12,000 items and it really does damage to the end user because they want to go to a store that can represent the brands they carry.
If you want to understand the real numbers behind this then support Guidos blog - check out his post today http://blog.guidoebert.com/2010/07/01/japans-powersports-vehicle-shipments-to-us-drop-50.aspx
SHIPMENTS TO THE U.S.
The four manufacturers shipped 4,582 units to the United States from Japan in May, down 49.7 percent compared to 9,116 units shipped in May 2009.
Shipments to the U.S. during the first five months of the 2010 totaled 34,186 units, down 71.1 percent compared to 118,623 units shipped stateside during the same five-month period in 2009.
Exports to the U.S., January-May
50cc & Under … --- 8,236
When I read his report I look at it from the Scooter perspective and it says to me "Honda and Yamaha didn't make any new Zoomers for the USA" that means the dealers are still full of 2009 and 2008 inventory. That inventory is going to sit on shelves until 2011.
Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki have the power to change Scootering in the US, but have always decided to ignore this market. The last ten years they always push after the rush and are the first to stop marketing scooters. It's a real shame because they are the only brands with the marketing power to make urban transportation a reality in the USA. In reality because of their lack of efforts it opened the market to Kymco, SYM, Genuine (LML - PGO), to do such great jobs. It also allowed brands like United Motors, Roketa, TNG, Lance, Tank, Daelim, CPI, Eton, Vento, to grow and take advantage of the boom and bust period the last few years.
This leads us to the midpoint of 2010. I still think some distributors will be leaving the market. I would beware of any scooter brand as a dealer that is still full of 2008 and 2009 models. Some companies are skipping 2010 models altogether and just jumping to 2011. That's a smart move on their part. I would also beware of any company dropping prices below what dealers paid last year in order to move units because it kills the dealer network.
My advice is for dealers to pick the top brands they support and support them well. So if you are going to be a Kymco dealer. Do it the best way you can. Stock the brand, stock the upgrades, stop trying to carry twenty brands of scooters that aren't in it for the long run only to have a cheap Chinese bike.
I've always promoted the media in the industry as the main source of information for dealers, but now I feel its the internet. I write for Motorcycle Product News and I send as many copies of the magazine as I can out to dealers. Everytime we get a new dealer its a new client that has never heard of Scoot Magazine or MPN. So I send them a free copy. You have to give it to Josh Rogers the publisher of Scoot. Every issue is a work of love and he doesn't write articles that are basically free ads or as we call them "advertorials." If he thinks your scooter stinks he will say so, which is one of the reasons I think the magazine has grown beyond Barry's legacy and expanded so well into the modern Twist N Go market we are now in.
This month Motorcycle Industry Magazine (MI Mag) closed. The magazine was one of the first to publish a blurb on the Scooter Maven back in 2001 when we entered the market importing Malaguti scooters with our old company Malaguti USA. Rick Campbell the editor and publisher was a hard worker and I admire his persistence. Any publisher or owner of a magazine good or bad is in a hard spot with the Iphone, Ipad, and the smaller market share of actual print every day. Recently we saw MPN get sold to BabCox media, current issues of Dealer News look as thin as a comic book. I just heard Scooter World magazine closed and that one hurts because I had just seen Bev out at the Kymco ride in North Carolina. I have to say she is a fantastic person and loves scooter as much as anyone else in this scooter world. Her support of the Denver scene including Sportique scooters is legendary. One can only guess how many new scooter owners started riding thanks to her and the Idiot's Guide to Scootering she published.
So as a dealer your job is to support Scoot Magazine. Buy an ad, subscribe, buy a freaking sweater off the Scoot website http://www.Scootmagazine.com
What to carry?
Carry tested and proven brands. Listen to some top dealers talk about what makes them profitable.
Raise the bar and stock some MRP upgrades for the top brands you carry. REPAIRS = MONEY and now we have more Parts than any company in the USA.
NO OTHER DISTRIBUTOR is going to have Daelim, Malaguti, TNG parts. You can find cheap Chinese parts anywhere but someone that isn't selling direct and gives you the opportunity to support 10 brands that have left the market?
So we are raising our standards. I'm done with the $100 clients, yes that is a fact, but that means that the dealers that support us will get more support. We don't want to retail, we want you the dealer to make money. So support us and we will support you.
Listen to some of the top UK dealers on how they sell apparel in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLX1Uz1OEPE
For more ideas or comments contact me on Facebook or by email,
The Scooter Maven
Starting late July 2010 MRP will be offering select support for Daelim Scooters. We just acquired the parts this past week so they will not be on our system for another 6 to 8 weeks, but dealers and consumers can finally expect some support for the brand. Since Daelim Motors USA closed in early 2009 there has been little support on the brand as the brand negotiated with potential importers. Dealers and owners had to buy parts from the factory in
Stocking Dealer locator
MRP distributes OEM parts for TNG (CMSI), select models of CF Moto, Daelim Motors Korea ( parts should appear on website by mid July) Malaguti of Italy (www.Malaguti.com) Keeway Southeast (Keeway, Vento, QJ, Andretti, Yamati models), CPI Taiwan, Powersports Factory Brands PSF, Diamo, Cubik (matches OEM Vento part numbers), as well as QJ and ZNEN (who manufacture bikes for a variety of scooter importers) such as FlyScooters, Lance, BMS, Qlink models that were ZNEN corresponding to matching TNG parts.