SUZUKI/YAMAHA OF DALTON
205 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Dalton, GA 30721
Greg and Vickie Roberts
7,500-sq.-ft. dealership founded at the present location in 1990. Carries Suzuki and Yamaha. Largest-selling segments are ATV and streetbike, “but we’re actually one of the lucky dealers — all segments seem to do well for us,” says Greg Roberts. The dealership has received Suzuki’s Super Service Award five years in a row, the Motocross Support Award in 1996 and 1999, and has been in the Top Performer’s Club the past nine years. According to Roberts, some customers drive more than five hours to do business at the dealership. 11 employees.
Roberts’ greatest concern is “places to ride off-road. It’s good that we’re keeping the President in office, because [John]Kerry was definitely not for the industry. We are very fortunate in this area, because the forestry service is involved with us. Still, I see having a place to ride off-road as a big issue for the future. We ride in the Houston Valley ORV Area, part of the Armuchee-Cohutta Ranger District in the National Forest.”
Although everything is selling well at Dalton, the standout ATV is the Suzuki LTZ 400 Quadsport, the best-selling streetbike is the Suzuki Volusia 800 cruiser, and Suzuki’s RM motocrossers are the top two-wheeled off-road lineup.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Roberts characterizes the average Dalton customer as 30 to 40 years old with a household income of at least $50,000. “Our dealership is very family-oriented; a lot of families have kids involved in racing.” As for trends, “Our ATVs have always been the best sellers for us, but in the last two or three years streetbikes have really gotten strong.”
“Probably the only thing we hear people bickering about a little bit is the helmet law,” says Roberts. “Georgia has a mandatory helmet law, and we’re for it.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
In addition to being the owner, Roberts is the service manager. “I have four techs, three people in parts, four salesmen, and a few part-timers. I send all the techs to training for Suzuki and Yamaha, so that they are certified with both companies.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
The Dalton dealership sponsors the Yamaha V-Star Riding Club. “Suzuki doesn’t really offer anything like that,” notes Roberts. Dalton also has its own motocross track, runs SYD Racing (a team of 70 amateur motocross racers), sponsors four annual AMA Amateur Motocross Events, and supports the Suzuki RM Cup.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Really stay involved with your business and don’t worry about other dealerships,” advises Roberts. “A lot of dealers are very cutthroat about pricing. Some customers are wiling to drive 50 miles in order to save $10, and dealers know that. I think if we all pay more attention to our own business and our own area, the industry would be a lot better off and everybody would be happy.”