Action Kawasaki Yamaha
2705 1st St.
Bradenton, Fla. 34208
Imagine you’re a young PWC racer. You have a supportive dealer sponsor, lots of fun times and not a care in the world. And then your supportive dealer sponsor asks you to join his sales team. Would you say yes? John Havell did and has gone on to become Action Kawasaki Yamaha’s sales manager. Though he was somewhat reluctant at first, the PWC rider has stuck around, found he enjoys it and is still able to compete. He was concerned it would “be like the car business in that people would be very unhappy buying,” Havell said. However, he found people who buy powersports vehicles have a different attitude. “They seem to be excited. They don’t have that feeling like they’re being taken advantage of. They’re excited about what they’re getting.” Owner Jack O’Neill is also a former PWC racer and has raced street bikes. Action Kawasaki Yamaha itself has been around since 1994. The company upgraded its facility in 2001, with an eye to modernize its accessories area. The 8,000-square-foot dealership is supplemented with a warehouse a mile away to store new units. Action is on Florida’s West Coast and sells Kawasaki ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles and Yamaha and Kawasaki PWC.
Though he thinks it’s highly unlikely to happen, Havell occasionally worries the quality of product the manufacturers supply could go downhill. He emphasizes that such a possibility is a long shot, especially with the companies Action works with. “We have strong companies that put out great product and have proved themselves,” Havell said. However, between the economy and Chinese imports, there are a lot of unknowns out there that make him wonder.
Given the dealership’s proximity to the water and its stable of current competitors, it’s no surprise PWC are the top products at Action Kawasaki Yamaha. Whether they’re new or used, Kawasaki or Yamaha, customers are buying them up. Florida’s favorable weather early this year has helped as well. “There hasn’t been red tide in a year and a half and moderate winters haven’t been too cold,” Havell said. “We’re within 10-15 minutes of the beach, and there are a lot of waterways” where consumers can use the PWC.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
People are doing a lot more price shopping these days, Havell says. They’re trying to be frugal and have stricter budgets. “We appeal to a lot of people when they’re shopping around because in most cases, we don’t charge a lot of extra fees,” he said. “But fuel prices are going up, so the cost is higher to get units from [the manufacturer] to us.” Price shoppers have usually done their homework on the products they’re interested in, Havell adds. “It’s good for everybody. It’s nice to sell something to somebody who knows what they’re talking about and has done some research.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Action Kawasaki Yamaha gets a lot of accessories business from local rental companies and other businesses that use powersports products, Havell says. The dealership’s service department is full of technicians who have been with the business multiple years and are personable, a trait Havell says is essential. “We don’t treat [the service department] like a car dealership [does],” Havell said. “Customers can talk to the service manager. There’s not just a service writer who takes your information and that’s it. It’s very personal.” The department holds a service customer appreciation day every month at the shop.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
The dealership aims to widen its appeal and reach out to new prospective customers with many of its marketing initiatives. “We don’t tend to stick to ‘OK, they’re having a motorcycles show, so we’ll be there,’” Havell said. “We don’t always stick to what we sell. We just did a car show. We try to be involved with anything from the fair to boat shows.” The dealership continues to support powersports competitors, from Havell and other PWC competitors to motocross riders.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Be individual,” Havell said. “You can take things that will work for your dealership [from other industries], but don’t turn it into an impersonal business because it won’t work in the long run. Those who treat their customers right will stick around.”
Copyright 2008 Powersports Business