Nov. 30, 2009 – Suzuki’s inventory program seeks to ease floorplan costs

A program aimed at reducing dealer floorplan costs over the winter is gaining quite a bit of traction.
The program, started in early September by the American Suzuki Motor Corp., encourages an exchange of inventory between dealers.
“We were really listening to the dealers who were saying, ‘We need to lower our flooring costs and we have high inventories on some models,’” said Rod Lopusnak, the national sales manager for American Suzuki Motor Corp.’s powersports operations.
The program rewards both the dealer who is looking to get rid of some pieces of their inventory as well as the dealer who is receiving the exchanged units. Lopusnak said dealers who ship inventory receive $100 per unit under the program, while the receiving dealer gets $150 per unit.
The receiving dealer also gets 90 days free flooring on the exchanged inventory.
“We need to get dealers to work together because there’s no magic button out there other than retail,” Lopusnak said.
Lopusnak has not received data on how many vehicles have been shipped between dealers as part of the program but he estimates at least a few thousand vehicles have changed hands.
Suzuki has advised dealers to use the exchange program for models that they may have a high number of. Those then potentially could be exchanged for a unit that they have fewer of or don’t have at all.
The transfer program currently ends Nov. 31, but Lopusnak said Suzuki is looking at the possibility of extending that end date.
The program is a variation of Suzuki’s traditional transfer method, which does not have incentives and has limited, if any, free flooring.
“Dealers are in a difficult position with flooring so we wanted to come out with a program to aid them,” Lopusnak said, noting dealers that can substantially lower their floorplan costs via the transfer program.
Jerry Lenz, general manager for Beaverton Honda Yamaha in Tigard, Ore., called the transfer program a “great idea”?and said his dealership had already traded ATVs with a couple of different Northwest dealerships.
Trent Hall, owner of multiline metric store Halls Motorsports in Mobile, Ala., has used the program to trade for ATVs from Florida dealers who were struggling to sell their units. Hall said he’s looking to be on the shipping end for some of his street bike product as his local street market has slowed considerably.

Holiday shoppers

American Suzuki Motor Corp. has encouraged its dealers to become part of the annual holiday shopping fest, Black Friday.
The company is helping dealers host open houses on that day, providing co-op advertising opportunities as well as giveaways.
Lopusnak said Suzuki started the effort simply because it didn’t think the industry was taking advantage of the annual huge consumer spending day.
“People are going to be out spending money on flat screen TVs or whatever it is, let’s get our piece of that pie too,” he said. psb

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