Power Profiles

L&D Suzuki – Dover, DE – Sept. 24, 2007

L&D Suzuki
1070 South Dupoint Hwy.
Dover, Del. 19901
Jeff Hansen
Business Profile
L&D Suzuki recently had its 20th anniversary. It opened its doors in September 1987, selling Suzuki motorcycles and ATVs. The dealership has been relatively consistent over the years by staying in the same building complex and keeping a small staff. Sales manager Jerry Taylor said a small staff works better because it’s more personable, and that way they don’t have to worry about layoffs in the down season. The L&D Suzuki name might be deceiving because in 1992, it added Polaris ATVs to the lineup, and later in 1997, it began selling Triumph motorcycles. Located in Dover, Del., L&D Suzuki has an advantage over some other dealers being that it’s only about 51?2 miles north of the Dover air base, which is one of the biggest air bases on the East Coast, Taylor noted. “Every season we get a new recruit of 20-somethings in the sport bike business,” he said, “so we always have a fresh bunch of customers at the beginning of every season.”
Greatest Concern
About two years ago L&D Suzuki started seeing a downturn in used ATV sales because of an increase in cheaper Chinese imports. The ATVs are cheaper but can be unreliable later on because parts and servicing such vehicles can be difficult if not impossible, Taylor said. “We have to understand the Chinese guys aren’t going away — this is getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “That’s something we are constantly keeping our eye on.”
What’s Hot
The Suzuki GSX-R 600 is the hottest selling product, no questions asked. “That is our No. 1 product,” Taylor said. The younger guys from the military base play a big role in the demand for that product and the other sport bikes as well.
Customer Buying Trends
During the past two months, Taylor said they’ve seen a lot of customers from the ATV side entering the side-by-side market or at least asking questions and showing interest in it. Besides the young customer base for the sport bike side of its sales, the dealership has the whole spectrum of ages when it comes to everything else. Nearly its entire customer base is price conscious though, so they’ve seen a greater number of people looking at the cheaper models the Chinese imports offer. “It’s one of those things where you see the money in the beginning, and it bites you later on,” Taylor said. “It’s getting picked up and noticed more and more everyday by the customer base.”
Parts and Service
L&D Suzuki’s parts and service departments are strong points for the dealership and the key to supporting the brands it carries, Taylor said. The dealership’s focus is customer service whether that’s servicing or something else. To help service L&D Suzuki’s customers, the store’s technicians are constantly in school. “We’re seeing those guys that we didn’t see a year ago who bought that knock off or Chinese unit from down the street coming back and spending the money because there’s no service or parts availability from the Chinese manufacturers at this time,” Taylor noted, which is where L&D Suzuki aims to step in. “We’re open five days a week, and we always have a parts and service department open. Whether they make a purchase from us now or decide to do so six months down the road, we are always going to be here.”
Promotional Home Runs
L&D Suzuki focuses a lot on price because their customer base is price conscious. Whenever they have extra product, they push the price because they’ve found that draws in a lot of people. Bike nights have drawn in a crowd even more than low prices. Whether it’s at the dealership or the local drag strip, they’ve had huge success with the events. Taylor said they began focusing heavily on bike nights at the beginning of last summer, and because of their great turnout, they wish they would’ve started hosting them a lot earlier. Not dwelling on the past, Taylor said now and moving forward bike nights are where they need to focus.
Words of Advice
“Make sure you stay strong and stay committed because other products the Chinese imports offer aren’t going to last,” Taylor said. “People are going to need somewhere to go when they can’t get a part or servicing on those cheaper products. It’s very important that you make yourself known and available.”
—Karin Gelschus
Interested in having your dealership become a Power Profile? Contact Gelschus at kgelschus@ehlertpublishing.com.

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