Product availability issues lead to new bike sales
By Dave McMahon
What kind of sport bike customer is coming into Ducati Dallas/Advanced Motorsports, one of the nation’s leading sport bike dealerships?
“More than ever they’re determined to get what they want,” owner Jeff Nash said. “Just because you’ve got a black-colored 848 EVO in stock, that invariably means that they want a white one or a red one. The same happens in reverse when you have a white one in stock. That’s a good problem to have.”
It certainly is, and Nash isn’t complaining about business. But he admits that his product stock could have been better this year.
“Truth be known, it’s been a little bit stressful this year because we haven’t had enough product,” Nash said. “Even though we’re one of the largest dealers in the country, the sales for sport bikes have been brisk to say the least. We’ve been faced with the hassle of trying to find more product. We’ve been calling dealers all over the country trying to get extra bikes. By the time they get to us, invariably they’re all sold.”
Even so, Nash and his staff welcome the riders with open arms.
“It’s been a large challenge for us — getting enough bikes to provide to our customer base, which has returned, which is great,” Nash said. “I guess all-in-all I’m pretty happy and looking forward to the new Ducati model. I think it’s going to be another successful year with the brand, for sure.”
While Nash has battled inventory problems from the Italian OEM, the dealership has opened new revenue streams.
“We’ve always been known as a large superbike dealership, but with a lack of product, we’ve really had to focus on other aspects of the business family,” he said. “We’ve had an increase across the board in all the different families of Ducati, so it’s been a good roll-on effect. The new Diavel has been extremely successful. Ongoing sales of the Multistrada have been very strong, and of course the Monster range continues to be a staple, which is a good thing. The new 1100 has proven popular also.”
Nash has seen customers ready to buy in recent months.
“The first thing we’ve noticed is that the rabbits have come out of the hat, so to speak, and the customers have come back,” he said. “The customers seem to be more educated and certainly more aware of the market conditions, so they know there’s not a lot of stuff around. In most cases we have to take a deposit and find them a motorcycle, which has been good for us.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY
When a specific model isn’t available to a customer, the dealership tries to offer an alternative.
“Customer tastes are forever changing, but we have the ability to keep them in our particular
customer base and family. With some people getting older and not necessarily wanting to get on super bikes anymore, we’re pushing toward Multistrada and Diavel.”
The sport bike segment overall has given Nash reason to believe that there’s a bright future ahead.
“I’ve been very grateful for the turnaround this year,” he said. “Obviously it’s not to where we were three years ago, but we’re showing positive signs. I feel like we can at least be planning for a continued positive growth spurt. This year has been great. After the last two years, anything’s great.”
While many of Nash’s customers have stayed true to the brand, he said in the service contracts area, “people have been very standoff-ish on that for us this year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because we’ve promoted the fact that Ducati has needless maintenance. So we kind of shot ourselves in the foot with that one. They’re taking that money that may have been sitting aside or discretionary spending money and they’re putting it into accessories again. I’ve noticed a good increase in aftermarket add-ons to the bike, which has been great.”
Even so, with an increase in service business overall, Nash has an enviable problem on his hands.
“We’ve noticed an increase as far as people pulling their bikes out and come hell or high water, they’re going to ride this summer. We certainly had a downturn the past two years, but that has swung a complete 180. We’re seeing growth in that sector of the business to the point that we employed more people this year and we’re going to need another service tech this year,” he said.
Accessory sales also have rebounded for Nash.
“Over the two years of doom and gloom, a full exhaust system, for instance, was not really in the cards for a lot of folks. This year I’ve noticed that when they buy the bike, the first thing they put on is a full system,” he said. “It helps us and helps them too. People are getting back to customizing their motorcycles on a personal level again. There were thoughts of ‘Are we ever going to sell another piece of carbon?’ when we were on the dark side.”
Nash is able to guage the level of riding interest locally by tire sales at the dealership.
“That number has been huge this year,” Nash said. “We’re selling a lot of tires, which is indicative of people riding again, which is great. People are using their bikes not only for a recreational purpose, but for day-to-day transportation, which is cool. Look at the weather patterns in Dallas — 70-plus 100-degree days — and people are riding motorcycles, I take my hat off. It’s impressive.”.