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I guess corporate take-overs of motorcycle dealerships have been going on for some time. I just wasn't aware of it.

A few months ago, my favorite family owned, multi-brand dealership was bought by a corporation call RideNow Powersports. According to their website, they own 42 motorcycle dealerships in 11 states.

I stopped by yesterday to see what changes they had made and ...wow!...what a change. The first thing I noticed was that there were literally hundreds of ATV's parked outside. There must have been at least 500. Less motorcycles and more ATV's.

I wandered around inside for 15 minutes when a salesman introduced himself.

The very first thing out of his mouth was that this was only a temporary job for him and he doesn't even have a motorcycle license.

Actually, he seemed like a nice enough fellow, but I just don't understand why he thought that telling me that was a good idea...or why he was even hired to sell motorcycles.

There were a few familiar faces there, but it was mostly new people. Everyone seemed unhappy being there. Much different vibe than what I had come to know over the last fifteen years.

Seems like locally owned, owner-operated businesses of all kinds are going away.
 

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They're really pushing the ATVs. 4-wheels, doesn't require licensing and can be ridden in the back yard and woods.

Greg
2004 GL1800
Rider 123, 2019 Tour of Honor
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They're really pushing the ATVs. 4-wheels, doesn't require licensing and can be ridden in the back yard and woods.

Greg
2004 GL1800
Rider 123, 2019 Tour of Honor
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In regards to licensing, it all depends on what state you live in. In my neck of the woods, ATV’s are required to be registered and you need a valid DL to operate them in the road right of way.

:doorag:
 

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I think most of the power sport dealers around here is still locally owned, but they have been trending that way for at least a half dozen years. Although more people here die on atv's than motorcycles..they are precieved to be a safer choice. People also use them to work on large parcels of land and farms, so the market is broader.

Several major trails run through the state. I personally know a lot more people with atv's than i do with motorcycles. Honda counts atv's as motorcycles and is one reason they're poised to over take Harley as the #1 supplier of motorcycles in the USA in just a few years. Two wheeled motorcycle sales have been flat in the us for a few years.

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My guess is Haley Davidson will soon start building ATV’s and Side by Sides. If they don’t they will be missing out on some major sales opportunities !
 

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Seems like locally owned, owner-operated businesses of all kinds are going away.

You are correct Sir......I work in one of those local Mom & Pop motorcycle shops and while some folks appreciate the "local" aspect and the customer service that goes with it, most are price or availability shoppers. Sorry, but we can't compete with the guy working out of his parents basement selling stuff on Amazon for $5 over our cost. We also can't compete with the huge internet retailers who are able to stock every size and every color of a particular item. What we can offer is a friendly smile and some "face-to-face" customer service....you'll actually get to speak to a person, not some "press 1 for English" phone menu. People want to sit home in the comfort of their home and pay the cheapest price possible......so when the Mom & Pop store goes bye-bye, you'll know why.
 

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not o get me started but I have seen the trend toward corporate dealerships over the last 20 years in my area. gone are the mom and pop dealers with 40 years of motorcycle knowledge. today they are low wage workers interested in sales commissions or service writers who go to the flat rate book for every question. there is no one to ask advice or share concerns or someone who is interested in hearing you experience with the specific model or brand. ………….with one exception, Harley Davidson. In my opinion the metric dealers are killing their own industry slowly and we are feeling the effects of it.
 
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not o get me started but I have seen the trend toward corporate dealerships over the last 20 years in my area. gone are the mom and pop dealers with 40 years of motorcycle knowledge. today they are low wage workers interested in sales commissions or service writers who go to the flat rate book for every question. there is no one to ask advice or share concerns or someone who is interested in hearing you experience with the specific model or brand. ………….with one exception, Harley Davidson. In my opinion the metric dealers are killing their own industry slowly and we are feeling the effects of it.
It is not as important for the dealership to have knowledge or give advice about the product they sell as it was 30 years ago. The internet with forum like this one have nearly all the information most anyone could ask for.
 

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I live in a major metro area and around here, surprisingly there are almost no dealerships for corporate to even take over. The majority of the dealerships have closed. I used to have at least 4 or 5 within 10 miles I could go to. Midlothian Honda, Lansing Honda, Honda House of Elmhurst, Otto Brothers, Service Honda... I too believe that internet part sales have contributed to the problem. And I am guilty of being part of the problem in that respect. But on the other hand, I have usually had older bikes that some of the dealers just refused to work on and had little choice in having to do a lot of maintenance and repairs myself. And besides the parts cost, when I did find one that agreed to do the work, the labor costs seemed to go higher and higher. I do understand that the dealerships had overhead costs but when I could save hundreds by doing the stuff myself, the pocketbook helped make the decision...
 

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I live in a major metro area and around here, surprisingly there are almost no dealerships for corporate to even take over. The majority of the dealerships have closed. I used to have at least 4 or 5 within 10 miles I could go to. Midlothian Honda, Lansing Honda, Honda House of Elmhurst, Otto Brothers, Service Honda... I too believe that internet part sales have contributed to the problem. And I am guilty of being part of the problem in that respect. But on the other hand, I have usually had older bikes that some of the dealers just refused to work on and had little choice in having to do a lot of maintenance and repairs myself. And besides the parts cost, when I did find one that agreed to do the work, the labor costs seemed to go higher and higher. I do understand that the dealerships had overhead costs but when I could save hundreds by doing the stuff myself, the pocketbook helped make the decision...
Also in your area Mike, my Chicago-land buddies have told me of the merging of 14 HD dealerships owned by some conglomerate and downsizing the sq footage of the dealership from 60,000 sq feet down to 20,000 sq ft... Not entirely sure of my numbers as I am doing this from memory but you get the idea...

However, my old dealership where I had purchased my 1993 and my 2009 is still alive and well... Des Plaines Honda is still active and doing well and several of my Chicago-land buddies have purchased new 2018's from DP Honda...

But I agree - seems like corporate ownership is the thing these days and I am NOT fond of that idea!!!

Les
 
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I am familiar with Desplaines and they are a decent dealership but unfortunately they are way north, maybe 30 miles or so, and I am far south. Makes for a 45 min to an hour trip at least. And unfortunately they have their service bays in the basement with a fairly steep ramp and dont think my trike would be able to do it. I have used them for simple things like bringing in the front wheel for a tire swap, etc...
 

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we are heading toward the future where motorcycle dealers will be replaced with Kiosks with a couple of repair bays. look , order and pay online then go the Kiosk to put in your code and pick your new bike. parts will be handled thru internet sales only. repairs will be initiated on line and you drop your bike at the Kiosk bay on the prescribed day and a text will notify you of the completion, almost no human contact. there will be nowhere for a your newbie to hang out and get the feel of what is to be a biker except for internet videos. they sport will almost be dead and certainly not growing. I paint a bleak picture but its what I see happening around the country
 
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I'm not sure the manufacturers always make smart decisions either. One of the Honda dealerships not too far from me closed a few years ago. One of their top mechanics, and a Goldwing specialist, set up his own small business and I am going to him now for everything. When I asked him what happened to the dealer that he used to work for, he said Honda told the owner that unless he built a new building that met their standards, and totally redid their very large parking lot, Honda would yank his franchise. The owner got bids to do what Honda wanted, but couldn't afford the $1.5 million it would have cost. So now there is one less place for Honda motorcycles to be sold. A more local dealer, primarily Yamaha, but they also sell Suzuki and Kawasaki, plus ATV's and watercraft, told me that they wanted Honda as well but that Honda made what they felt were totally unreasonable demands, including painting the roof of the very large building that they are in to the color red with Honda in big letters (who sees this other than pilots?). And the multi brand dealer that I bought my Goldwing at two years ago is a very large operation but their showroom floor when I visited a few weeks ago had very few motorcycles. Plenty of ATV's, Slingshots, Can-Am 3 wheelers, etc, but few actual motorcycles. I admit I do not understand the strategy of some manufacturers or the dealers themselves.

And FWIW, I remember when I bought my first two wheeled motorized vehicle. It was at a Honda dealer in the early 1980's in San Antonio. I loved that place, where you could just come and hang out and meet other motorcyclists and shoot the breeze. The dealer always had free coffee available, and sometimes donuts as well! Hanging out there one day just to see what was going on, I saw a beautiful Honda cruiser on sale because it was the previous year's model. Talking with the salesman and some others present there made me take the leap from what I had, a small scooter that I used for commuting, and into the world of full fledged motorcycles. There doesn't seem to be those type places anymore.
 

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Back when the stock-market almost went belly up. 08??? or so. Honda was putting pressure on our local Honda dealer to build a new building. They were fighting with Honda about it and almost ready to give in and build a new building. Then things went bad. Honda must have let them off the hook because they never have built a new building. LOL My gosh they sure could stand to do some upkeep on the buildings they have. I would be ashamed if it were mine.

I would say they sell at least 50 four wheelers to every bike. It is a family business that the lady that runs it is the granddaughter of the guy that started it. Her son is the lead mechanic in their garage. I believe it was opened in about 1964 or 5.

She usually comes real close to the best internet prices I get. Except for tires. The last time I priced a new Goldwing she was within about $100 of what the big discount places that everyone talks about on here. I told her what I could buy it for and then she came back with her best offer.
 

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A lot of Harley dealerships and car dealerships got caught in the same trap. They where required to invest millions of dollars in their dealerships to project an upscale image, and then the bottom fell out. A GM dealership here closed after being in business for over 70 years. Harley dealerships had to start discounting their bikes to keep the doors open, before the Great Recession they were commanding a premium over suggested retail.

I understand that the internet has hurt them also. I try to shop local but it isn't always the easiest thing to do. You go to a dealer for a part and they say we can order it for you, and you get the pleasure of paying up to 10 times more for it and waiting the same amount of time if you ordered yourself.

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In my opinion almost any business that caters towards good customer service thrives. Good customer service seems to be a lost art. I went to my local dealer to buy a 2018 and the one sales guy there said he would have the manager call me because he could not “make a decision” without the mangers approval. Well, 8 months later my phone has yet to ring. BUT, the guy hours away had no problems selling me a bike. I live in a huge military town and I feel it makes the dealer lazy.

I live in a large region with a lot of bikes in the road (mostly Harleys). The Harley dealer is all about customer service and branding. Half their store has apparel and riding gear. My local Honda dealers have nothing on hand. If they cannot follow through with a phone call why would I go back or recommend them? Thats the real issue.
 
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