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Dealers seeing performance gains over past year

Q4 2013 Dealer Survey shows retail gains

Dealers have seen significant improvement in their performance vs. their plan over the past year, according to the Q4 2013 Dealer Survey conducted by Powersports Business and RBC Capital Markets. While customer traffic and buying interest responses were mixed, unit sales appear to remain strong and profit margins have improved. More than 225 dealers from 46 states and four Canadian provinces completed the online survey.

Twenty-four percent of dealers responding to the survey reported their Q4 2013 performance as “above plan,” which compares favorably to the 16 percent who reported Q1 2013 as being “above plan.” Similarly, 50 percent of dealers reported being “below plan” in Q1 2013, but that number decreased by 10 percent in the Q4 2013 survey to 40 percent.

Top performers by segment

Yamaha motorcycles had a successful quarter at many dealerships as 27.7 percent of motorcycle dealers reported it was their best-selling brand in Q4. Another 11.4 percent said Yamaha was their second-best performer, and 10.8 rated it third.

Honda was ranked No. 1 by 22.3 percent of dealers, and Kawasaki, at 15.1 percent, was the other brand to break double-digits. However, 18.1 percent rated Kawasaki their No. 2 seller. Harley-Davidson held the top spot at 8.4 percent of motorcycle dealerships in the survey, while Victory was ranked at the top at 7.8 percent of dealerships, and Spyder received the same rating at 7.2 percent of stores. Victory’s sister brand, Indian, is No. 1 at 3.6 percent of dealerships, and coming in last on the list was Suzuki, which is the top dog at only 3.0 percent of motorcycle dealerships surveyed.

In the off-road arena, its no surprise that Polaris runs away with the No. 1 spot for side-by-sides. Polaris took top billing for 44.9 percent of dealers surveyed. Coming in far behind Polaris, but next in line was Honda, which was the top-seller at 13.5 percent of side-by-side dealerships and ranked No. 2 at 14.1 percent. Both Can-Am and Yamaha came in with 10.3 percent of dealers giving it top billing, and Kawasaki followed at 9.7 percent. Arctic Cat was the top seller at 7 percent of dealerships surveyed, and John Deere is No. 1 at less than 1 percent.

For ATVs, Polaris again took the top spot for the largest number of dealers, with 37.4 percent ranking it in that position. However, Honda also came in with strong numbers as a quarter of respondents ranked it No. 1. Yamaha was the top ATV seller in 12.8 percent of dealerships, while 19.3 percent ranked it second, and 14.4 percent rated the brand third. Can-Am held the top spot at 9.6 percent of ATV dealerships, while Arctic Cat earned that ranking at 5.3 percent of stores. Kawasaki was No. 1 at only 4.8 percent of dealerships, but 22.4 percent ranked it 2 or 3. Suzuki held the largest ATV market share at 3.7 percent of dealerships.

Polaris again grabbed the lead in the snowmobile market, with 43.6 percent of dealers reporting the brand is their market leader, but Ski-Doo is a strong competitor, with 34.6 percent ranking it No. 1. Yamaha barely edged out Arctic Cat, with Yamaha rated at the top for 11.5 percent of dealerships, and Arctic Cat receiving the same ranking at 10.3 percent of stores.


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