Southland Cycle Center
8141 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, Calif. 92844
A loyal Suzuki dealer since 1967, Southland Cycle Center has always been a one-line franchise with the occasional smaller second line, which is currently E-ton. “Not expanding has been one of our fortes over the years, trying to do justice to our one line,” said Aaron Moon, sales manager. Moon has been with the dealership for nearly 10 years and in the industry for 20 years. He said the dealership is “tight niche. It’s a one in a million place to work at.” There are five employees on a regular basis, and they pride themselves on going the extra mile for their customers. “We really stand out in terms of customer service and keeping track of everything,” Moon said. “We treat everyone who comes in the door like they work here. They get treated so well that even if they wander away at some point, it doesn’t take long for them to realize how good it is and come back. We have a very loyal customer base.”
“The state of the state,” Moon said referring to California’s financial situation. “Our costs in this state are staggering. A good example is that we haven’t had a workman’s comp complaint in at least 15 years, and our workman’s comp is our biggest cost, next to our flooring and employee costs. The state just seems to hit us in one form or another every 60-90 days, and it makes it real tough on all of us. That’s a growing concern monthly. If you’d asked me that six months ago, that probably wouldn’t have come up.” Moon also says land use is an issue for the dealership’s off-road customers.
“Right now it’s kind of muddy waters,” Moon said. “We’re picking and plucking from across the line. We’ve always traditionally been a real strong GSX-R dealership. Our sport bikes are our bread and butter, and we try to cater to them the most because of that.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“We’re seeing a strong gravitation, both because of the economy and (increasing) gas prices, toward local ticket items,” Moon said. “That encompasses our lower-displacement motorcycles, cruisers and our big maxi scooters, the Burgman line, the 650cc Suzuki offers.” Moon also has noticed a slight improvement with the banks lending. “Suzuki has worked really, really hard wrangling up some good lenders for us,” he said. “We wish they could be better, but it is improving. It’s on an upward trend.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Southland Cycle Center is one of very few dealers who pick up their parts will-call. Moon says he drives by American Suzuki to and from work, so it’s convenient for the dealership to do it that way. Plus it benefits the customers. “If a customer comes here at 5 on a Thursday and says I need this part, nine out of 10 times we can have that part the following morning.” Moon said. “One of our commitments to our customers is to go above and beyond in getting the parts quickly, keeping them reasonably priced and doing that consistently.” The dealership ranks 122 out of 1,200 Suzuki dealerships in terms of hard parts. Since Southland only carries Suzuki, it’s able to dedicate its entire parts department to Suzuki hard parts. Moon says they do really well with Suzuki accessories also. “We’re almost dedicated (to Suzuki) completely. We’re a very loyal dealership,” he said. “We work on Suzukis as far back as Suzuki will supply parts. A lot of dealerships out here will only go 5-10 years back on models.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Southland Cycle Center has devoted nearly
100 percent of its advertising budget to online outlets, including its Web site and CycleTrader.com. “The online is just so effective, so easy, so streamline both for us and our customers,” Moon said. “And it’s much better value in terms of what we’re spending on the return.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Taking care of every customer,” Moon said. “We really do go the extra mile in terms of taking care of the customer whether it’s a $5 part, a $500 part, a motorcycle sale or service department work order. Picking that penny off the ground, which is a forgotten thing. Really working hard for whatever it is, and at the end of the month and end of the year, it all adds up.”
— Karin Gelschus