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Author Topic: Why have a dealer network at all ?  (Read 5030 times)

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1 Thump

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on: January 07, 2016, 06:39:54 pm
Tesla has demonstrated that a direct to customer model can work for automobiles.

Perhaps it can work for motorcycles. Is there a distinct advantage with having a dealer network?



Richard230

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Reply #1 on: January 07, 2016, 07:25:59 pm
Some startup electric motorcycle companies (such as Electric Motorsport in Oakland, CA) have tried that business model and it never works very long. You need brick and mortar retail dealers to keep the business running for very long.
2011 Royal Enfield B5 500, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph Bonneville T-100, 2002 Yamaha FZ1


1 Thump

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Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 09:39:52 pm
Some startup electric motorcycle companies (such as Electric Motorsport in Oakland, CA) have tried that business model and it never works very long. You need brick and mortar retail dealers to keep the business running for very long.

Company owned brick and mortar showrooms and workshops can do that. Dealers are middlemen. There has got to be more than that....


REpozer

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Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 10:01:09 pm
Yes, it's called finance .
   Some might call it marketing.
Many people are only worried about one question.
  "  How low can you get monthly payment ?'
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Ice

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Reply #4 on: January 08, 2016, 12:35:31 am
 Demo models.
Most people want to see a bike in person before buying and some people like to pick the one they would be buying.

 And the dealership experience.
A lot of people enjoy going back to and being at the dealership of their favorite brand(s) after the sale.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 12:38:06 am by Ice »
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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Richard230

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Reply #5 on: January 08, 2016, 08:56:09 am
Company owned brick and mortar showrooms and workshops can do that. Dealers are middlemen. There has got to be more than that....

You may recall from Tesla's experience that more than one U.S. state has laws prohibiting direct sales from a manufacturer to the customer in order to force them to set up independent franchised retail dealers so as to boost employment and perhaps other political reasons.  Those laws have prevented and hindered the construction of Tesla showrooms and sales in certain northeastern states as I recall.
 
2011 Royal Enfield B5 500, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph Bonneville T-100, 2002 Yamaha FZ1


Richard230

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Reply #6 on: January 08, 2016, 05:10:02 pm
So I just returned from a visit to my "local" RE dealer (where my bike was not originally purchased).  I asked about the cost of changing the fork oil in my B5.  I became a little nervous when I was asked what a B5 was by the service manager. So I pointed to the model on their showroom floor. He then told me that they had never changed the fork oil of a Royal Enfield and had no idea how it was accomplished, much less what it would cost to perform the work. I was asked what oil weight the forks might use. I said that some people have used ATF and then he said that they usually use 10wt oil in all of the Japanese brand forks that they work on. He then told me that they no longer had any way to contact RE to order parts or request information.   He mentioned that their franchise had expired (even though they are still listed on the official RE website the last time I looked). So I decided that my fork oil didn't really need its fork oil change right now and decided to tackle the job myself some day this year.
2011 Royal Enfield B5 500, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph Bonneville T-100, 2002 Yamaha FZ1


Ice

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Reply #7 on: January 08, 2016, 07:51:18 pm
You may recall from Tesla's experience that more than one U.S. state has laws prohibiting direct sales from a manufacturer to the customer in order to force them to set up independent franchised retail dealers so as to boost employment and perhaps other political reasons.  Those laws have prevented and hindered the construction of Tesla showrooms and sales in certain northeastern states as I recall.

 IDK about other States but in WA. that sort of thing is consumer protection measure.
Gives the consumer a convenient means of legal recourse under the consumers State laws should the need arise vs trying to settle a matter 3,000 miles away and by laws unfamiliar.
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

REA #136

"TIMEX", the '06 Iron Barrel Military that takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.


Kevin Mahoney

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Reply #8 on: January 08, 2016, 10:41:14 pm
I would never buy a motorcycle especially one like the Royal Enfield from anyone that wasn't a committed dealer who was known for good customer service. NEVER

You are going to need that dealer sooner or later and without a good one your experience in the RE or any other bike for that matter will not be good.

Buying and owning a motorcycle is a far different world from buying a car. Cars are a commodity and even today many motorcycles are not.

That is not to say that a company owned dealership would not deliver good service. They may have to deliver better service than most to survive as a one brand store. It is not a model that has worked in the US before but RE has been very successful with it in India.
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mc35803

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Reply #9 on: January 24, 2016, 08:48:26 pm
+1 Kevin.  I drove from Alabama to Ohio to buy my 2015 C5 Classic because of the Ohio dealer's reputation as a Ural dealer and their customer service.  So far, no regrets.   I am disappointed with RENA's web presence right now however and hope it gets better.  They don't have an accessories page and were it not for CMW I wouldn't know what cool parts were available.  I know it takes time, but it is as if overnight, RENA has lost the soul of what you brought to life here.
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pmanaz1973

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Reply #10 on: January 29, 2016, 10:26:35 am
So I just returned from a visit to my "local" RE dealer (where my bike was not originally purchased).  I asked about the cost of changing the fork oil in my B5.  I became a little nervous when I was asked what a B5 was by the service manager. So I pointed to the model on their showroom floor. He then told me that they had never changed the fork oil of a Royal Enfield and had no idea how it was accomplished, much less what it would cost to perform the work. I was asked what oil weight the forks might use. I said that some people have used ATF and then he said that they usually use 10wt oil in all of the Japanese brand forks that they work on. He then told me that they no longer had any way to contact RE to order parts or request information.   He mentioned that their franchise had expired (even though they are still listed on the official RE website the last time I looked). So I decided that my fork oil didn't really need its fork oil change right now and decided to tackle the job myself some day this year.

That is a huge red flag. - Just search for fork oil change and you will see plenty of information to do the job.  It's actually fairly straight forward and makes a big difference on how the bike rides and to some extent improves the handling of the bike.  These bikes truly are easy to work on.

The only dealer I trusted was 8 hours away and I'm glad I did.  A local dealer had a RE dealership for a while and I've not heard anything positive about them.  They are now a Triumph and Moto Guzzi dealer...I never see anyone there, so who know how long that will last.
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krusty

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Reply #11 on: January 29, 2016, 04:03:48 pm
I'm in the UK so maybe things are a little different here, but I would never part with my hard earned without a test ride at the very least.
It does help that I have a trusted dealer 20 minutes from home that I have now bought 3 new bikes from.
If I had to travel far from home or arrange a stay away to do a test ride I'd factor that in to the cost of the purchase.
Buying off spec and a few glossy pictures doesn't fly for me.
I've ridden a lot of bikes that the journos have heaped praise on, then been so underwhelmed on a test ride, that I wouldn't have it any other way.
Krusty


 
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DanKearney

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Reply #12 on: January 29, 2016, 06:31:55 pm
California Scooter Company (CSC) has been selling the RX3 (And now the TT250) using a "mail order" paradigm.


It is a leap of faith (I own one) but I did some research on CSC, the bike's manufacturer (Zongshen) along with reading what actual owners thought of the bike before I took the plunge.


They're very up-front that their bikes are aimed at the demographic that likes to do their own work (Warranty or otherwise).  They claim that if an owner has maintenance or warranty work that the owner does not want to do that CSC will will contract with a shop local to the owner to do the work.  So far I have not read of any owner taking them up on this.


CSC provides each owner with a full service manual and keeps an on-line service tutorial on their web site.  So far, they have a stellar reputation for providing service to the few owners who've had warranty covered issues.  They claim to stock every part for the bikes in their California warehouse, and while I can't say if that is true or not, the spare parts and accessories that I ordered from them were all in stock when I called and arrived at my door within two days of ordering.


Cheers,


Dan K.


mattsz

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Reply #13 on: January 29, 2016, 06:53:51 pm
California Scooter Company (CSC) has been selling the RX3 (And now the TT250) using a "mail order" paradigm.


It is a leap of faith (I own one) but I did some research on CSC, the bike's manufacturer (Zongshen) along with reading what actual owners thought of the bike before I took the plunge.

I saw on their website that they actually have a Google map showing geographical locations of owners willing to communicate with prospective buyers.  A creative, smart idea to help overcome the lack of dealer network...


ROVERMAN

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Reply #14 on: February 09, 2016, 08:18:07 am
I too like many others here like the dealer experience. CSC does seem to have a compelling case for doing it a different way though. I am more and more interested in their bikes and if the Himalayan doesn't make it's way over here i might take the plunge.
Roverman.


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Reply #15 on: February 09, 2016, 08:43:22 am
Remember - I don't have a dog in this fight. If you are considering a direct import of an Indian bike, DON'T DO IT. You will find several threads here explaining why in great detail. It is a great way to lose your money. For years I have gotten calls from those that have tried and then had the bike sent to the crusher by Customs. Customs is making a big push in cooperation with DOT and EPA to find them and stop them.
Best Regards,
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Reply #16 on: February 10, 2016, 07:41:12 am
CSC are Chinese imports and from what i can see they are legit. But i will cool my heels and watch for any fall out. I take the point you are making Kevin, thanks.
Roverman.


mevocgt

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Reply #17 on: February 17, 2016, 09:31:33 am
So I just returned from a visit to my "local" RE dealer (where my bike was not originally purchased).  I asked about the cost of changing the fork oil in my B5.  I became a little nervous when I was asked what a B5 was by the service manager. So I pointed to the model on their showroom floor. He then told me that they had never changed the fork oil of a Royal Enfield and had no idea how it was accomplished, much less what it would cost to perform the work. I was asked what oil weight the forks might use. I said that some people have used ATF and then he said that they usually use 10wt oil in all of the Japanese brand forks that they work on. He then told me that they no longer had any way to contact RE to order parts or request information.   He mentioned that their franchise had expired (even though they are still listed on the official RE website the last time I looked). So I decided that my fork oil didn't really need its fork oil change right now and decided to tackle the job myself some day this year.

With the change of importers, many dealers are loosing their franchise rights.  RE came to my local dealer, which is in the top 20% in unit sales for RE last year, and told them they may not be retaining their franchise.  They left my guys dangling for a couple of months.  They just found out last week that they are still a dealer.  So it sounds like your dealer may be one of the ones not renewed.  I'm hoping with the announcement that my dealer is still a dealer, that a lot of this ambiguity and just not knowing what's going on will stop. 

When you do change the fork oil, I would suggest new seals and dust covers, regardless.  I use to run a parts counter at a (non RE) dealer back in the day, and would make that suggestion for any bike.  Might as well do it while the bike is apart.  The guys who would say, they didn't want to bother, usually were back a week or so later with leaking seals.  Good luck!


crock

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Reply #18 on: May 28, 2016, 11:52:32 am
The answer to this is always the same. it costs a fixed amount of money to run a service department and stock parts. To do that you need a minimum volume of bikes to work on. RE can't open one brand stand alone stores unless they are going to sell enough bikes to keep that dealer service department open and that is almost impossible to do until you have enough bikes sold in the dealer's area to generate service and repairs. Stand alone RE stores are not going to happen in the near future.
Rocket


Ice

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Reply #19 on: May 28, 2016, 08:32:40 pm
 Correct !

 Dealers that can't or won't stock floor models and sufficient spare parts don't achieve by design or default enough sales to establish the customer base needed for sustainability.

 Years ago one former RE dealer in WA kept everything RE tucked away out of sight in one poorly lit back room with nothing to indicate RE was on premises while the rest of the store was festooned with the European brand they carried.

 Sitting on the franchise rights for a brand is an effective way to stifle or slow the competition.

 The good news nowadays is Triumph/KTM/Zero of Seattle has picked up the RE line and has begun selling them and the RE show room they are building isn't finished yet !

 FWIW the Triumph dealer in Tacoma would have LOVED to have RE in house and badly wanted to but their dealer agreement with Triumph had a Triumph only clause. They were good people and the service was superb.

 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2016, 08:53:59 pm by Ice »
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

REA #136

"TIMEX", the '06 Iron Barrel Military that takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.


Bilgemaster

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Reply #20 on: February 21, 2018, 02:41:17 pm
Not sure how it works in Kansas, but here in Virginia I got the contact info for the former owner of my Com-Pac 16/III "Foundling" from the state agency that does boat registrations, based on her expired registration number--just in case your old boat club isn't forthcoming with an address for that Mac 26M owner or unwilling to forward a message.

If you can also get your hands on whatever engine was once on that 26M, and it was manufactured more or less at the same time (and not just some old banger they thought might work), then you might do well to try and get that as well if the price is "speculative" (read: "parts donor cheap" or free).  After all, a year is more than enough time for the Devil Ethanol left untreated and unchecked to do its evil "snots and clots" routine, knocking out even a new engine in a matter of months.  If it's a nice otherwise pretty bulletproof Honda BF50 (probably the commonest power plants found on Macs) it might not be too difficult or expensive to get her back in the pink.  In fact, a pint or so cocktail of equal parts SeaFoam and Marvel Mystery Oil bulb-fed right through the fuel line into the carbs and allowed to marinate for a week or more might help ease out enough fossilized snots to get her kicking again without needing to tear the carbs down for a proper cleaning. You might also do well to pull the sparkplugs and squirt a health shot of Marvel into those cyclinders. 

Anyhow, something to consider if you're gong that route, since a newish Honda 50 or comparable will run you easily 5 "boat bucks" on a good day...in winter...with a Nor'easter bearing down...and coyotes roaming the aisles of the abandoned Walmart as you and your rag-tag band of survivors of the Corporate AI Wars arrive, fierce and resplendent in your Beadazzled leather battle hotpants, on a Pop-Tarts and Twinkies foraging run. Just sayin'...
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Reply #21 on: March 02, 2018, 11:48:09 am
When I was shopping for a Bullet, I sat on one while the dealer listed its shortcomings. I did some homework online. I now ride an Iron Barrel that no shops service, but I'm an experienced mechanic.
Currently I'm a bit interested in a new CSC/Benelli TnT 300, also a near-orphan as far as dealers go. As long as I can get parts, I'm a potential buyer.
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