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Harley-Davidson Dealerships Ranked #1 in 2020 for Responding to Website Customers

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from https://www.oaoa.com

Associated Press |

MONTEREY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 4, 2020–

Harley-Davidson dealerships ranked highest in the 2020 Pied Piper PSI ® Internet Lead Effectiveness ® (ILE ® ) Industry Study, which answers the question, “What happens when motorcycle or UTV customers visit a dealer website and inquire about a vehicle?” Dealerships selling Indian motorcycles were ranked second.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200503005001/en/

2020 Pied Piper PSI – Motorcycle / UTV Internet Lead Effectiveness Industry Study (USA) – Ranking by Brand (Graphic: Pied Piper)

The study was completed before the appearance of the coronavirus pandemic, but in the aftermath of the pandemic dealer response to website customers has become even more critical.

Pied Piper submitted customer inquiries through the individual websites of 6,012 dealerships between July 2019 and February 2020, asking a question about a vehicle in inventory, and providing a customer name, email address and local telephone number. Pied Piper then evaluated how the dealerships responded by email, telephone and text message over the next 24 hours. Twenty different measurements generate dealership Internet Lead Effectiveness ® (ILE ® ) scores, which range from zero to 100. 13% of dealerships nationwide scored above 70, demonstrating an extensive and effective website-response process, while 36% of dealerships scored below 30, showing failure to personally respond in any way to their website customers.

The study found widespread industrywide improvement from 2019 to 2020, with the industry average ILE score increasing from 33 to 42. Brands which led the industry in improvement over the past year were Indian, Harley-Davidson, Polaris and Yamaha. Only three of thirty-three brands failed to increase their score from 2019: Club Car (Ingersoll Rand), Cub Cadet (MTD Products) and Arctic Cat (Textron).

Nearly all of today’s customers first use their smart phone to shop before ever visiting a dealership in person. Pied Piper finds that most dealers today understand that responding to web customers is critical to sales success, but there is still plenty of variation in dealership behaviors. “The key to driving improvement in both web-response behaviors and sales,” said Fran O’Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper, “is to show dealers what their web customers are really experiencing. It’s often a surprise.”

PSI ® Internet Lead Effectiveness ® (ILE ® ) Industry Studies have been conducted annually since 2011. The 2020 Pied Piper PSI-ILE Industry Study (U.S.A. Motorcycle/UTV) was conducted between July 2019 and February 2020 by submitting customer internet inquiries directly to a sample of 6,012 dealerships nationwide representing all major brands. Examples of other recent Pied Piper PSI studies are the 2020 PSI-ILE U.S. Auto Industry Study (Toyota brand was ranked first), and the 2019 “PSI for EVs” U.S. Auto Industry Study (Tesla brand was ranked first for selling in-person). Complete Pied Piper PSI industry study results are provided to vehicle manufacturers and national dealer groups. Manufacturers, national dealer groups and individual dealerships also order PSI evaluations—in-person, internet or telephone—as tools to measure and improve the sales effectiveness of their dealerships. For more information about the fact-based Prospect Satisfaction Index ® process, go to www.piedpiperpsi.com.

Yamaha Motorsports Launches “Deliver Your Ride” Program

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from https://motorcycles.einnews.com

Program Supports Dealer Deliveries of New ATV, Side-by-Side, Motorcycle, and Snowmobile Products to Customers’ Homes Where Possible

/EIN News/ — MARIETTA, Ga., April 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, launched an all-new “Deliver Your Ride” program supporting Yamaha dealers that are able to complete vehicle purchases remotely and then deliver the product directly to customers. The new program includes ATV, Side-by-Side, motorcycle, and snowmobile products, and is available nationwide wherever dealers can legally and safely participate.

“Yamaha is working hard to support our dealer network and their customers during these difficult times,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s Motorsports group marketing manager. “It’s not business-as-usual for anyone, yet we know people may still want to buy and enjoy new Yamaha products where possible and appropriate based on their local laws and regulations.”

The new Deliver Your Ride initiative was announced to Yamaha dealers on April 17, 2020, as a temporary program and Yamaha is working diligently with dealers to assist with the implementation. Interested customers can contact their local Yamaha dealer or visit YamahaMotorsports.com to determine availability in their area. This is a voluntary program and Yamaha is encouraging each dealer to determine the feasibility based on their local laws and capabilities.

For details regarding all Yamaha products, visit YamahaMotorsports.com. Connect with Yamaha on social media via @YamahaMotorUSA or @YamahaOutdoors.

Honda Benly e electric scooter to go on sale in Japan from April 2020

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Honda has announced that its electric scooter Benly e will go on sale from April 2020. The e-scooter will first go on sale in Japan, then in other global markets, says the company in a release.

The scooter will be priced between 7.37 lakh yen and 7.48 lakh yen.

Honda aims to sell around 200 units of the scooter per year in the Japanese market.

The electric scooter targets corporate customers, mainly logistics providers.

The scooter will be available in four different variants. It will be powered by dual electric batteries that can be detached easily and easily swappable as well.

As the two-wheeler manufacturer claims, this electric scooter can be used for last-mile pick-up and delivery services.

At 70, Honda hits a milestone of 400mn motorcycles

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Honda currently produces a wide range of motorcycles, from 50cc commuters to 1,800cc models, at 35 facilities in 21 countries.

Japanese automaker Honda has produced 400 million units of motorcycles globally since it had begun production in 1949 with its maiden Dream D-Type bike.

According to the company, it achieved 100 million-unit milestone in 1997, and 300 million-units in 2014. In 2018, Honda exceeded an annual production of 20 million units for the first time in its history, and enjoyed strong support from customers in the Asia region and worldwide, it said.

Honda currently produces a wide range of motorcycles, from 50cc commuters to 1,800cc models, at 35 facilities in 21 countries.

Honda was founded in 1948, and began mass-production of motorcycles at its first overseas production facility in Belgium in 1963. Since then, Honda has expanded its production globally in accordance with its fundamental principle of producing locally where there is demand.

Honda will continue to construct its development and production structure to meet rising demand, it said.

Takahiro Hachigo, Chief Executive Officer, Honda Motor said, “For 70 years, Honda has provided to customers worldwide motorcycles that make life easier and enjoyable. As a result, we have achieved our 400 million-unit milestone. I am grateful to all of our customers, and everyone involved in development, manufacturing, sales and service of our products. We will continue to do our best to provide attractive products that meet the needs and dreams of our customers worldwide.”

Honda would strive to realize its 2030 vision, to serve people worldwide with the “joy of expanding their life’s potential,” he added.

Harley struggles to fire up new generation of riders with electric bike debut

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by Rajesh Kumar Singh from https://www.reuters.com/

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N) is betting on electric motorcycles to attract the next generation of younger and more environmentally conscious riders to reverse declining U.S. sales.

But as Harley ships its first “LiveWire” bikes – priced at $29,799 – to dealers, there is little evidence the 116-year-old brand is catching on with new young customers.

The problem lies mostly with this “super-premium” product’s price. The bike costs nearly as much as a Tesla Model 3, and aims for a market that does not really exist: young, “green” and affluent first-time motorcyclists.

The sleek sport bike has been available for preorder in the United States since January. However, the bulk of the orders are coming in from existing and old riders, according to interviews with 40 of the 150 dealerships nationwide that are carrying the bike this year.

The dealers Reuters spoke with account for little over a quarter of LiveWire dealerships and are spread across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, California, Nevada, New Jersey and New York.

Harley has for years failed to increase sales in the United States, its top market accounting for more than half of its motorcycles sold. As its tattooed, baby-boomer base ages, the Milwaukee-based company is finding it challenging to woo new customers.

In 2018, Harley posted the steepest sales decline in four years in the United States. U.S. sales are tipped to fall again this year.

Harley Davidson’s U.S. Retail Sales

Grappling with an ageing customer base and the waning charm for its big bikes, Harley has failed to post sales growth in the United States – its biggest market – in the past four years.

The heavyweight motorcycle maker’s stock price has declined by 42% in the past five years. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index .SPX has gained 47%.

Price Barrier
When Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich announced LiveWire’s launch last year, his hope was the ease of riding motorcycles with no gears or clutch would help attract young and environmentally conscious urban riders.

In an interview with Reuters in February 2018, Levatich said the bike would help address Harley’s demographic problem.

“It is more about the next century than the last century,” he said at the time.

The preorders, thus far, have belied those hopes, according to the dealers.

“It is appealing to a demographic that is already riding,” said Gennaro Sepe, a sales manager at a Harley dealership in Chicago. His store has received four preorders for the bike. All of them are from existing riders.

Harley declined to comment on LiveWire preorders.

The motorcycle maker is not the only company investing in battery-powered transportation.

Tougher emissions rules in Europe, China and the United States are forcing auto companies to switch to electrified models. A survey of U.S. millennial motorcyclists, published in February by the Motorcycle Industry Council, found 69% of the riders interested in electric motorcycles.

Harley’s dealers said they are getting inquiries from young customers, but are struggling to translate them into sales. A key reason: LiveWire’s retail price.

“Interest is very high,” said a sales manager at a New Jersey-based dealership, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media. “But once you get to pricing, interest is thrown out of the window.”

Over half of young college graduates in America, whom Harley is courting with battery-powered bikes, are saddled with student loans that entail average repayment of $200 to $300 per month.

Harley is not offering any discount or incentives to push the sales, either, the dealers said.

In an interview with CNBC television in May, Levatich called LiveWire “one of the best engineered products on the market” and said it was worth its price.

Gary Jon Prough, general sales manager at a dealership in Countryside, Illinois, said the vast majority of millennials cannot afford the bike as LiveWire is targeted at young and affluent customers with incomes above $100,000 a year.

Tesla’s Way

To drive up sales, Prough and other dealers expect Harley to go Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) way: launch more affordable battery-powered vehicles after creating a buzz with the premium model.

Tesla’s first electric car cost over $100,000, but prices came down with subsequent models. Its Model 3 now comes with a base price of $35,000 and was instrumental in lifting its vehicle deliveries to a record level in the latest quarter.

Traditional Harley Davidson entry-level bikes cost about $6,900.

The motorcycle maker has plans to bring out four more electrified models in the mid-power, low-power, e-bicycles and kids’ two-wheeler segments by 2022.

But unlike Tesla, Harley does not enjoy the true first mover’s advantage.

California-based Zero Motorcycles is already selling electric bikes in the United States with retail prices ranging from $8,500 to $21,000. Its top-end bike – SR/F – is similar to LiveWire, but costs nearly $9,000 less.

Still, Bob Clark, a dealer for Zero’s bikes in Chicago, says he has not yet sold one SR/F to riders under the age of 35. All three electric bikes he sold to young riders this year were in the $10,000 price range.

“Young riders are environmentally conscious, but are also very price-sensitive,” Clark said.

It is not just pricing. LiveWire’s limited range is also hampering its sales.

The bike can travel 146 miles (235 km) in the city or 95 miles in combined city and highway riding per charge. An ordinary household outlet can provide an overnight charge, while Level 3 direct current fast chargers stationed at Harley dealers will fully charge the bike in 60 minutes.

This renders LiveWire less effective for longer-distance rides, limiting its appeal among rural riders who prefer touring bikes.

Seven Harley dealerships told Reuters they have not even bothered ordering the bike, which would require investing in a Level 3 charging station and training staff.

An Ohio-based dealer, who had initially signed up for LiveWire, said he pulled out at the last minute as he was not sure of the bike’s demand in his area.

Delayed Arrival

A delay in LiveWire’s arrival in stores has left the dealers in the Midwest and the East Coast with hardly a month to aggressively push the bike before the snow season sets in. Winter generally means a lull for motorcycle sales.

When dealers began taking preorders, the delivery was expected in August, but was later shifted to September. On Sept. 30, the dealers Reuters spoke with were still waiting for the first bike.

In a Twitter post on Oct. 2, Harley said the bikes are starting to arrive at authorized dealers. The tweet also carried a picture of the first LiveWire that was “rolled off the line” at its York, Pennsylvania, facility in late September.

With the demand rather limited, the dealers said, Harley has decided to keep the supplies tight in order to protect the bike’s brand value and prevent any price-discounting pressure. The dealers said they are all expecting to receive less than 10 LiveWires this year.

James Hardiman, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, reckons Harley would sell between 400 and 1,600 LiveWires in the first year. That is not even 1% of the 228,051 bikes it sold worldwide last year.

“This is going to be largely a rounding error certainly this year and even next,” Hardiman said.

5 Seattle-area motorcycle dealerships close unexpectedly

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by Suzanne Phan from KOMO News

SEATTLE – Five motorcycle dealerships in the Puget Sound region closed unexpectedly last week and now customers are scrambling to figure out how to get their bikes back.

The NobleRush dealerships include two in Lake City, one in Redmond and two in Auburn.

Employees have even been working without pay to help out their loyal customers.

On Tuesday afternoon, several people were at a Seattle dealership with trailers to tow away their motorcycles. One man paid for repairs before they were finished.

Another motorcycle owner, Tim Nelson, was worried about his motorcycle when he got no answer from Ducati Redmond for the past week. At one point he thought, “I’m going to call the police because it’s being held captive there, basically.”

His motorcycle was at the business for service when word got out about the closures.

“I didn’t even know it had happened until I read it on Facebook,” said Nelson.

Nelson and others are left wondering where to go next.

“It’s hard enough to get a Ducati serviced. But now, with even fewer places to take it, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Nelson.

“This affects a lot of people,” added Tom Mehren.

Mehren is the publisher of “Sound Rider”, a monthly online motorcycle magazine.

“I feel bad for the 100+ of people that lost their jobs; I feel bad for the motorcycling community,” said Mehren.

None of the customers got an explanation by phone or online about why the five shops suddenly closed.

“It happened abruptly. You went on the website. There’s nothing on there that said, ‘sorry, we’re out of business,’ ” said Mehren.

We reached out to the owner for comment but got no response.

“We had somebody that owned too many motorcycle shops who did not understand the dynamics of the business,” said Mehren.

For now, many customers are worried, others are stuck.

“Some people are worse off than me. They paid cash for their motorcycles and don’t have them,” said Nelson.

Several customers said Tuesday that employees came in on their own time to help customers pick up their bikes and merchandise.

Dollar and Thrifty Customers, Find Out If You Are Eligible for a Refund of Florida Rental Car Toll Fees

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NMA E-Newsletter #531

In September 2014, the National Motorists Association sent a letter of complaint to then-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi about predatory practices by rental car companies in the state related to toll service charges. The NMA letter included a petition calling for reform and compensation signed by several hundred association members.

The Consumer Protection Division (CPD) of the Florida Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation and agreed with our assessment of systemic abuses of motorists. The CPD previously notified the NMA that it had reached a settlement with Avis, Budget, and Payless, a fact that we documented in NMA E-Newsletter #461 and in a national email alert to members in November 2017. Eligible claims against those three rental car companies had to be filed by January 7, 2018.

Laura Boeckman of the CPD recently notified the NMA that an out-of-court settlement has been reached with the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group in which DTAG has agreed to make significant changes in how the toll fees it charges are disclosed to customers. It also agreed to provide refunds of its toll fees and PlatePass charges to eligible consumers who were charged fees by Dollar or Thrifty between January 1, 2011 and January 7, 2019.

If you rented a vehicle in Florida from Dollar or Thrifty during that time period and incurred toll fees and/or PlatePass charges from either of those agencies, you may request a refund by submitting a claim form. The form and information about the settlement can be found here. Please note that refund claims must be submitted by July 7, 2019.

In her letter to the NMA, Ms. Boeckman noted:

“We share the concerns you and your organization expressed in your previous correspondence to us and are seeking to ensure that individuals that may have been charged these toll fees and PlatePass charges by Dollar or Thrifty during the above-noted timeframe and without proper disclosure have an opportunity to seek refunds. We therefore ask that you assist us by sharing this information with your members so that as many eligible consumers as possible can apply for refunds before the July 7, deadline.”

We’ll take that a step further. Share this NMA e-newsletter with others in your social and business networks. Everyone who was victimized by the toll-service practices of Dollar or Thrifty in Florida during the prescribed period should seek restitution per the settlement negotiated by the Consumer Protection Division of Florida’s Office of the Attorney General.