How potential savings could be costly in the end

Neil PascaleI'm not sure there could be a better characterization of a dealership than how Don Lemelin describes his. Lemelin was recently part of the "Dealer Solutions" panel at the Powersports Business Conference & Expo, a gathering of more than 350 industry people in Indianapolis. The event was geared at improving dealers' profitability in all of their essential profit centers. But it also was a chance to get dealers in front of their peers to discuss initiatives they have tried within the past year to drive business in a crummy economy as well talk about cost-cutting measures.

The latter is obviously crucially important as dealers - including a couple on the panel - look to potentially make their second or even third round of layoffs.

Lemelin, a KTM dealer, has not had any layoffs, although he has not filled a couple of open positions. Is this because his store has been able to somehow overcome jittery consumer confidence and grow its sales? Unfortunately no. But Lemelin describes his dealership, which started as a PG&A store and continues to rely heavily on that aspect of his business, as "an employee intensive store" where consumers expect a certain level of service. Layoffs, Lemelin believes, would seriously undermine that key customer service component and in the end, be more costly than whatever personnel savings it generated.

It's a thought that makes a heck of a lot of sense.

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