Ducati New York
155 Avenue of the Americas
New York, N.Y. 10013
Ducati New York is about as urban a dealership as they come. This motorcycle-selling joint is located in downtown Manhattan’s SoHo district, two blocks from the Holland Tunnel. Part of a high-rise development, the dealership has two levels that feature Ducati, Triumph and Augusta products. The full-service dealership comes in just short of 9,000 square feet. While owned by Michael Waldman, General Manager Bill Shelton oversees day-to-day operations at the store. It picked up its flagship brand a couple years ago and added Triumph mere months after a previous incarnation as an Aprilia dealership. Despite its urban challenges and branching into new brands, Ducati unit sales are exceptionally strong and the dealership is looking forward to a strong 2007, Shelton said.
Shelton realizes there is always some give and take in business. However, the economy concerns him at the moment and he has noticed that business is not as booming as it could be. The economy’s effect on retail rates and financing have been particularly troubling for the dealership.
“In the metro area, it’s a quality fit and finish of a European product that has more of a customer appeal,” Shelton said. Therefore, Ducati’s coming 1098 has drawn lots of attention from Ducati New York’s customers. “Ducati has made great strides in requiring less maintenance and being cost competitive. [The 1098] is comparable in power [to similar bikes], but has phenomenal fit and finish. More than half of our allocation for 2007 is already sold without the bikes even being here. The demand for product in this market…people are looking for a product that has consistent quality and great performance and Ducati and Triumph have provided that.”
It’s urban home makes for not only some interesting logistical challenges for Ducati New York, but also some interesting customers. The store receives many visitors from outside the New York metropolitan area, particularly Europeans and others in town on vacation. Much like the rest of retail Manhattan during the holiday season, it becomes a specialty shop consumers flock to for gifts.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Ducati New York is a full-service facility with full lines of parts, accessories and clothing. But Shelton and company are particular about what they carry. They have to have confidence in the product before they’ll take it on. “If we don’t like it, we don’t carry it,” Shelton said. “What we sell is worth its value. We really believe in it.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Rest assured the folks at Ducati New York know how to throw a good party. “We’re in New York City,” Shelton quipped. “You can’t throw a small party here. People will never forget.” Every event the dealership puts on has a party atmosphere. Organizers take the opportunity to do a lot of cross promoting, bringing in representatives from companies like Red Bull and Mazarati. The dealership annually holds an event in conjunction with the city’s International Motorcycle Show. This spring, the store will be hosting a party to publicly kick off its tenure with Triumph.
WORDS OF ADVICE
Noting the camaraderie he has developed with many of his customers and the dividends that has paid, Shelton says other dealers should work on“[being] more focused on developing the relationship with the customer than just making the sale.”
— Lisa Young
Copyright 2007 Powersports Business