Dealers get info from latest J.D. Power satisfaction survey

Part 2 of 4

As a dealer, you may not receive a lot of feedback from your customers. They come to your shop. Sometimes they buy, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they return, and sometimes they don’t. At times you get the feeling that something is wrong, but you don’t know what.

We can’t tell you what customers think of your particular shop, but through the results of the 2002 J.D. Power and Associates Motorcycle Competitive Information Study (MCIS), we can tell you what buyers of new street and dual-sport motorcycles last year thought of their selling dealers overall. This is the second of four articles on the latest study.

In the previous issue of Powersports Business, we explained how the study was conducted.

Researching the purchase

Buyers were asked to list the information sources they used while shopping for their new motorcycle. They were asked to mark all sources that apply.

Buyers said they used a variety of information sources including dealer personnel (42.5%), magazine article/guide (41%), Internet (38.4%), friends/relatives (37.8%), product brochure (32.6%), other riders (32%), display at show/rally (18%), and advertisement (15.2%).

Buyers pay higher prices

The prices buyers paid for new street and dual-sport bikes tended to cluster in two ranges. More than half of all bike buyers paid up to $11,000 for their new machines with the $7,000 to 8,000 range being most popular.


Only 10.4% paid from $11,001 to 15,000. The $15,001 to $20,000 range, however, accounted for 28.4% of sales, very good news for dealers. This was an increase of 7.1% over last year in that price range.

Spending additional money

Fully 73.6% spent additional money on accessories, extended service contracts, or riding gear, which is down about 7.8% from last year’s figure. Specifically, 56.2% bought Accessories, 35.7% bought Riding Gear, and 25.5% picked up an Extended Service Contract. The totals exceed 100% because respondents were able to make purchases in all three categories.

As for how much they reported spending on Accessories, 17.7% spent $250 and under, and another 26.4% spent $251-$500. Only 16.6% spent $751-$1,000.

The really significant figure is that 31.8% reported spending more than $1,000 for additional accessories!


Here is where the chili hits the cheese, and to our readers probably the second most significant question in this survey. Respondents were asked to mark all that apply, and 57% marked, “Had the motorcycle (color option, etc.) I wanted.”

Obviously, having the bikes in stock is a key factor. What we learn is that many riders went in the shop already knowing what bike they wanted to buy. As further evidence of this, only 2.7% checked, “Dealer convinced me of the benefits of buying.”

The next most popular answers selected were, Conveniently located (46.9%), and Best deal/lowest price (43.4%). Only 8.1% checked Dealer was able to get me financed.

The Most Influential Reason

Next, respondents were asked to mark the reason above that most influenced them to PURCHASE from this dealer. With only one answer acceptable, motivations were more tightly focused.

Nearly half of all respondents divided their answers equally (24%) between Best deal/lowest price and Dealer had the motorcycle (color option, etc.) I wanted. These were very close to the percentages listed last year.

Other factors mentioned in double figures were: Conveniently located (16%), Hassle-free negotiation/made me feel comfortable (12.2%) and Dealer reputation (11.1%).

Of course, the argument could be made that if a dealer ranked significantly low in any important category, the would-be buyer would go elsewhere. After all, if the person bought from the dealer, he or she must have been somewhat satisfied.

Meeting expectations

Here, respondents were asked to check one of three boxes. Only 9.2% checked Below Expectations, while 53.1% checked Met expectations, and 37.7% checked Above expectations.

In short, 90% of respondents encountered as good an experience, or better, than they anticipated. Of course, a cynic could say they may have anticipated a horrible experience, but let’s not go there.

Test Rides

Only 17.9% of buyers responded that they were given a test ride before buying, yet 100% of these respondents did in fact buy the motorcycle.

Todd Mundorf, a senior research manager at J.D. Power and Associates, noted, “Test rides do have an impact on the intent of the consumer to repurchase from, and to recommend the dealer. Those that receive test rides are more likely to do both, and they have higher average ‘Overall Dealer Experience’ ratings. These consumers are also much more likely to indicate that their experience was above expectations.

Mondorf also noted that “those that receive test rides have higher ‘Overall Ownership Experience’ ratings, which is an indication not just of the dealer, but the entire ownership experience.”

The Service Department

Of all respondents, 65.5% said that the selling dealer usually services their bike, and 14.1% typically use another dealership. Some 15.9% generally service the bike themselves, and 4.6% normally use an independent mechanic.

Of those who used the dealer’s service department, respondents were asked to rate overall service experience at the dealership on a 1-10 scale.

Here again, dealers, you did an excellent job. As with sales, the top three responses were in double figures: 10 (29.5%), 9 (21%) and 8 (16.9%). Two-thirds of respondents had a very positive experience in the dealer’s service department.

For more information about this survey, visit the J.D. Power Web site at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *