MOTORCYCLE – JD Power #3, Bike Buyers Rate Their Dealers’ Parts and Accessories Departments

Editor's note: This is Part Three of our four-part coverage of the J.D Power and Associates 2004 Motorcycle Competitive Information Study, and in it we'll cover what accessories new-bike buyers bought, how much they spent on them and how they ranked their dealers' parts and service departments.
In the last issue of Powersports Business, we learned from the latest J.D. Power and Associates study that 55.3% of new-bike buyers reported buying accessories at the time of bike purchase, and the mean/weighted average spent on them was $1,162. Another 30.1% bought riding gear, spending an average of $425; and 24.9% purchased an Extended Service Contract for an average of $824. Only 27.5% reported buying no accessories.
To clarify its categories, the Study defines that a “part” is an original equipment replacement part, while an “accessory” is defined as a component used to enhance bike performance, styling, etc.
Asked which motorcycle parts (excluding accessories) were purchased (at time of purchase and/or after initial bike purchase), 44.2% said chemicals and 40.9% said none. Maintenance parts accounted for 19.9%; Body Parts, 11.0%; Minor repair parts, 9.6%; Other, 3.6%; and Major repair parts, 2.5%.
On average, consumers spent a total of $653.80 on parts for their new motorcycles.
Consumers were then asked which bike accessories they purchased (at time of purchase and/or after initial bike purchase). There's some pretty good news here, as only 12.0% of new-bike purchasers listed “None,” meaning that 88.0% of new-bike purchasers bought accessories.
Accessories purchased include:
Exhaust pipes 44.6%
Backrest 37.7%
Chrome accessories 36.1%
Windshield 34.6%
Foot pegs/floorboards 29.1%
Luggage rack 24.0%
Saddlebags 21.5%
Lights 19.5%
Custom seat 17.9%
Other 17.5%
Engine modifications 15.4%
Engine guards 13.4%
None 12.0%
Handlebars 8.5%
Suspension 4.6%
Wheels 4.1%
The J.D. Power MCIS survey results show that the Mean/Weighted Average of money spent on accessories, out of more than 7,000 respondents, was $1,395. From the earlier response, stating that new-bike buyers purchased $1,162 in accessories at time of purchase, it would then follow that they picked up, on average, an additional $233 in accessories later.
Where do you usually buy parts for your new motorcycle?
Motorcycle dealer 81.7%
Internet 7.6%
Parts/Accessories only shop 3.7%
Independent repair shop 3.2%
Mail order 2.6%
Other 1.0%
Rally/Event 0.2%
Where do you usually buy accessories for your new motorcycle?
Motorcycle dealer 72.7%
Internet 14.8%
Parts/accessories only shop 3.6%
Independent repair shop 2.5%
Mail order 4.6%
Other 1.0%
Rally/event 0.8%
When asked how many times in the past year their new bike has been serviced (including oil changes, routine maintenance, repairs, recalls and product updates), 20.6% of consumers queried did not have their bikes serviced at all (a scary thought), 39.6% reported one visit, 22.2% reported two and 10.7% reported three. Only about 7% reported taking their bike in for service four or more times.
The folks at J.D. Power learned that 70.3% had their new bike serviced at their selling dealership, while 12.2% took it to another dealer. Fully, 13.8% reported that they did the work themselves, while 3.8% took their bike to an independent mechanic. You've got to wonder why some take their new bike someplace other than to a brand dealer, when to do so could void the warranty.
Buyers were asked to rate the dealer's service department, using a 1 to 10 scale where ten is the best. Queried about their overall rating of service department accessibility, 47.4% marked 9 or 10; asked about their overall rating of service personnel, 57.4% marked 9 or 10; asked about their overall rating of service delivery, 53.5% marked 9 or 10; and asked about their overall service experience at their preferred dealership, 54.1% marked 9 or 10.
These ratings showed remarkable consistency, as about half of all respondents gave the service department an overall ranking of "9" or "10". Consumers tend to like your service personnel quite well, and the overall experience was quite positive.
Using the same 1 to 10 scale, 48.7% of consumers queried gave the cost of ownership of their new motorcycle a 6 or below. However, 47.5% marked 9 or 10 when asked about their overall ownership experience so far.
The above figures indicate that while new-bike owners were not all that satisfied with the overall cost of ownership, they were nevertheless relatively pleased with the overall ownership experience.
Asked whether they would recommend purchasing a motorcycle from the same manufacturer, 67.5% said they definitely will; asked whether they would recommend purchasing a motorcycle from the same dealer, 55.3% said they definitely will; asked whether they would purchase a motorcycle from the same manufacturer, 63.0% said they definitely will; and asked whether they would purchase a motorcycle from the same dealer, 49.1% said they definitely will.
These numbers are rather telling, as they indicate that while consumers are satisfied with their new motorcycles (97.6% probably or definitely will recommend purchasing a motorcycle from the same manufacturer, and 96.5% probably or definitely will purchase a motorcycle themselves from the same manufacturer), they are much less satisfied with their dealers.
Despite their extremely high satisfaction with their bikes, only 88.4% probably or definitely will recommend their dealer, and just 85.7% would probably or definitely purchase from the same dealer. Unfortunately, the survey does not give consumers the opportunity to detail their reasons for their dissatisfaction with their dealers.
Next Issue: In the next and final installment, we'll reveal how new-bike buyers rated their latest helmet purchase, including which specific brands of helmets they rated above average.
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
For more information about the 2004 J.D. Power and Associates Motorcycle Competitive Information Study (MCIS), please contact Todd Markusic, Director--PowerSports Group, in the Troy, Michigan office at 248/267-6800.

- Bill Stermer

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