Nov. 12, 2007: National data check reveals winners and losers this year

We’ve all been to the meetings and heard the talk. “Lousy year.” “Tough times.”
But have you noticed that a few of the folks in that circle were strangely quiet?
I surveyed 21 months of 171 dealers’ sales beginning with January 2006. Here is what I found.
Look at Chart A. We see in January, it was lousy. We were 14 percent below January of 2006. In February, we cut the deficit to about 10 percent, and then March kicked in, and we rolled. April wasn’t quite as strong, but 2007 has been strong since. Now, at the end of September, we are within 4 percent of 2006.
But that’s total store. Service is 3 percent over 2006, parts are almost even at 99.3 percent and only unit sales are around 4 percent behind 2006.
This was so close I decided to look at it in a different light.
First came regions (Chart B) and I could see the Midwest is just fine (100.4 percent of 2006). The West and Northeast are the biggest losers at about 5 percent behind; the South is less than 1 percent off of 2006; and the Northwest has a gap of less than 3 percent.
I wondered what would happen if I divided these dealers into two groups: The guys who are ahead, and the guys who are behind.
Chart C shows us of our 171 dealers, 60 (the ones on the left) are 13 percent ahead of 2006. Looking at the amounts below the chart, we see the group of 60 increased their sales from $451 million in 2006 to $510 million this year. The 111 dealers who are down have gone from a collective $700 million to $600 million.
Now you all know the real truth. So pick your spot, and happy selling out there.

Hal Ethington has been associated with the powersports industry for more than 30 years. Ethington is a senior analyst at ADP Lightspeed. He can be reached at

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