Optimistic retail signs appear in March
Different industry indicators are pointing to an optimistic retail sales summer as opposed to a year ago.
Although the indicators are still showing an overall decline in most areas, the rate of that decline lessoned dramatically toward the end of the first quarter.
A dealership survey that examines same store sales for more than 400 powersports dealerships nationwide shows March retail sales were off less than 2 percent from the year-ago month. It’s the first time same store sales have returned to a single percentage digit drop in 14 months. It’s also a big improvement over February when same store sales were off nearly 16 percent from a year ago. The survey, which includes both metric and V-twin dealerships, is conducted by ADP Lightspeed for Powersports Business (see pg. 9 for complete details).
Separately, a new unit retail sales report by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) revealed March sales were off less than 6 percent compared to the year-ago period.
More than one OEM, including Polaris Industries, has reported increased new unit sales.
“After six straight quarters of declining retail sales, it has been nice to see black numbers in our sales reports this year,” Polaris Industries’ CEO Scott Wine said in the company’s latest earnings report.
Although encouraged by the early season trends, Wine also noted the company remains conservative about the upcoming year due to “low consumer spending overall.” Those are reflected in the MIC’s first-quarter retail sales report.
Overall, MIC-member company unit sales were off nearly 23 percent compared to a year ago. That includes a nearly 26 percent decline for ATVs and an almost 22 percent decrease for on-road highways, the industry’s largest sales segment. The MIC data includes ATV, motorcycle and scooter information, but does not contain UTVs, PWC or snowmobile sales, nor does it include data from non-MIC manufacturers.
But again, March numbers were in much better shape. On-highway sales dipped only 7 percent and ATV unit sales dropped 7.5 percent compared to the year-ago month. Plus, two categories — off-highway and dual purpose motorcycles — saw slight increases over a year ago.
Additionally, the ADP Lightspeed same store sales report showed unit sales revenue up in March in the Midwest, Northeast and Northwest. The latter area actually showed a double-digit sales percentage increase over a year ago.
By category, here’s how vehicle segment fared in the first quarter according to the MIC report:
• On-highway bike sales totaled 66,322, down
• Scooter sales amounted to 4,176 units, a decrease of
• ATV sales totaled 56,875 units, a decline of 25.6 percent;
• Dual-purpose bike sales totaled 5,309, a decline of nearly 11.8 percent;
• Off-highway bike sales amounted to 19,749 units; a decrease of 20.6 percent.
Yamaha launches new certification sales program
Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. has begun offering a new Salesperson Training and Recognition Program offered through Yamaha Motor University.
The new program, called the Yamaha Sales Academy, offers salespeople the opportunity to become a certified salesperson by completing a set of online training courses built around product knowledge and customer service.
Each certified salesperson will earn a diploma and a name badge while the dealership earns recognition on Yamaha’s online dealer locator, with a Yamaha Sales Academy icon indicating they have a certified salesperson on staff.
“With the success we have had with the Yamaha Technical Academy certification program that recognizes dealership technicians, we wanted to provide a reward to the dealership sales leaders who go the extra mile to learn all they can about Yamaha and Star products while honing their customer service skills,” Bill Kubes, manager of Yamaha Motor University, said in a company press release.
LeoVince announces new pricing
LeoVince USA has restructured its entry-level road and off-road exhaust pricing to coincide with the release of its 2010 product catalog, according to a release from the company.
“Fortunately for us the dollar is getting stronger against the euro at exactly the right time and we are able to market adjust our prices to offer the consumer not only the best exhaust at the upper-end of the market, but now in the entry-level priced categories as well,” Tim Calhoun, executive vice president of LeoVince USA, said in the press release.
LeoVince SBK Polished Unlimited Slip-ons will now be priced starting at $299, SBK Ovals at $330 and other models stair-stepped at $349, $379 and $399 MSRP. The company will also now offer its X3 Stainless off-road full exhaust at $499 and X3 off-road slip-ons starting at $350. LeoVince also released its new “WORKS” Carbon Fiber off-road pieces.