Dealers seek franchise state laws

The telephone is a wonderful thing. When it rings, you just never know who might be on the other end. It’s like that old TV show, where contestants had to pick prizes hidden behind closed doors. But I’m getting off the point.
Recently, I received a call from a dealer who was working to get a state franchise law passed to give snowmobile and ATV dealers more control in dealings with their OEM partners.
He asked me not to write in detail about the project yet, but it was interesting to note that dealers in several states are seeking similar legislation. There seems to be a growing demand for inclusion of off-road (snowmobile and ATV) dealers under state franchise laws. More about this growing change in upcoming issues.
New writers study dealers
Speaking of change, you’ll be seeing several new writers in our pages regularly from now on. Each of them will be reporting from a unique perspective, but each of them has one thing in common: his report will give you a much better idea of what is happening at the dealer level.
The three writers are Hal Ethington, Kurt Finley and Bill Shenk. They’ll all be writing in our expanding Aftermarket Section. In total, they’ll contribute about 24 reports this year.
Ethington is a long-time professional and trainer with ProQuest, the company that produces and handles Lightspeed. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the combined worlds of motorcycling and computing.
A CPA, he’s owned powersports dealerships and even helped several Utah dealers band together in 1973 to form their own freight company. And, in the 1980s, he was instrumental in the development of better and faster financial controls and reporting for powersports dealers.
Hal uses the extensive Lightspeed database to analyze retail operations. By digging out trends, he’s able to help dealers increase profits.
Kurt Finley, on the other hand, is a dealer who works the front lines of retailing. Finley, with several partners, launched Colorado Powersports in 1998; today, the company owns five dealerships in Colorado that represent Yamaha, Honda, Polaris, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Bombardier, generating more than $30 million in annual sales. Finley comes from outside the powersports industry, and he has an unusual perspective on the operations of a dealership.
His first report covered the trends in expanding store hours and the difficulties dealers of multiple-store operations face in setting hours. Finley reports that hours are expanding and notes that very soon we could see stores open seven days.
A journalist by training, Finley clearly identifies and addresses management problems — and possible solutions — from a dealer’s perspective.
Many of you are familiar with Bill Shenk, the creator of the Top Guns system of analysis for powersports dealers. He runs groups similar to OEM 20 groups, collecting data and providing benchmarks for the group and dealers nationwide.
Bill’s Top Guns reports have been running in the Aftermarket Section for some time and have been received enthusiastically by our readers.
Now, Bill, who is a former dealer, is taking many of the “fixes” that he offers to his dealer clients and providing them to readers of Powersports Business in a summary narrative form.
This issue, for example, he points out the importance of a traffic log to help dealers evaluate their promotion efforts and properly set up their sales staff.
ATV Television show LAUNCHED
One final note: ATV Magazine, another Ehlert publication, has launched a television show on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN). There will be 13 episodes this year, telling stories about the ATV lifestyle and focusing on the people, products and places that have made this the fastest growing segment of the powersports market.
The first show, airing this month, includes ATV Trials, the magazine’s week long testing event in Southern California; a report on the Hatfield-McCoy Trails in West Virginia; and tips on “rock riding.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

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

Back to top button