10049 Weddington Road
Concord, NC 28027
35,000-sq.-ft. primary location beside Lowe’s Motor Speedway and 10,000-sq.-ft. satellite store across the interstate (less than one mile away) in Concord Mills Mall, the number-one North Carolina tourist attraction. Founded in late 2001. Carries Harley-Davidson and Buell. 61 employees between the two stores. Rogers is also the CEO of Rogers Automotive Group, which owns nine different automotive franchises.
Rogers’ biggest concerns are corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards — “What kind of emissions standards and regulations are we going to have to meet in the future?” — and noise levels. “People who buy Harleys like that the bikes sound good, but they don’t have to be loud. It’s more of a throttle-jockey problem than the type of pipe on the bike.”
Speeding away at Pat Rogers: The Heritage Softail, the Fat Boy, touring bikes, the Road King Custom, and “the new Sportster is doing well. We usually don’t take names and deposits for bikes. A person coming through the door should have the ability to buy a bike.” The dealership ranks in the top 25% nationwide in parts and MotorClothes sales.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
The typical Speedway Harley-Davidson customer is 34 to 55 years old, in a blue collar/white collar occupation, with a household income of $84,000. “Buyers today are more conservative,” notes Rogers. “They take longer to make a decision. They like to savor the experience and make a big deal out of it — which it should be. We make it a fun atmosphere and keep a certain amount of ‘mystique’ about the product. It should be more of an enjoyable dream than a nightmare. It’s an exceptional buying experience and the buyer becomes a member of a family.”
“As we speak, there are bills in the state legislature to repeal the mandatory helmet law,” says Rogers. “As to whether that should be a choice, I guess that’s up to each individual.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Pat Rogers has approximately 15 staffers in parts and 15 in service. “Parts and service are the backbone of the dealership,” says Rogers. “They sell parts and accessories to over-the-counter customers as well as assisting our service department. They create absorption that certainly helps the dealership stay strong and profitable.” The service department is at the larger dealership, and parts are available at both locations.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Monitor your business and don’t let the habits of the automotive industry creep into the motorcycle industry,” advises Rogers. He especially points to holding your margins. “In this regard, automobile dealers are their own worst enemy. I’m one of them, so I know. Motorcycle dealers shouldn’t do that to their industry or to each other, nor should they allow the manufacturers to do it to them.” psb
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