2008 Motorcycle Shopper Study

This morning at 9 AM, J.D. Power and Associates released the results of its 2008 Motorcycle Shopper Study. This study analyzes the reasons consumers consider a particular motorcycle brand but ultimately purchase a different brand. The inaugural study, finds that 51 percent of new-motorcycle shoppers cite dealer-related issues as a reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand. One of the primary dealer-related issues for rejecting a brand is the inability to test ride a bike, which was mentioned by one-fourth of shoppers as a reason for rejection, while 7 percent of shoppers indicate that the inability to test ride was the most influential reason for not purchasing a particular motorcycle brand. In addition, 18 percent of shoppers rejected a motorcycle because it was not available at the dealership, while the perception of being able to receive better service at another dealership is mentioned by 15 percent of shoppers as a reason for rejection.
 The study also finds that price and financing are cited most often as the reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand, with 57 percent of shoppers mentioning price-related issues as a reason for rejection. Overall, price is cited by 41 percent of shoppers as a reason for rejection, and 28 percent name price as the most influential reason for rejection. Similarly, 16 percent of shoppers mention the lack of low-interest financing, rebates or other incentives as a rejection reason, while 23 percent of shoppers mention high maintenance costs.
A vast majority of customers (81%) report having used the Internet to research motorcycles when shopping, 73 percent say they read magazine reviews, and 28 percent say they attended a trade show or motorcycle event, according to the study. Seventy-eight percent of motorcycle buyers indicated they contacted or visited a dealership for information before purchasing.


9 Responses to “2008 Motorcycle Shopper Study”

  1. 1 Mike Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:33 am

    None of this is really a surprise. You’re obviously going to reject a specific bike if your bank says you have to. What this does tell us though is that the days of being an over deserving jerk and still having people trip over themselves to buy your bikes, (or cars for that matter), are over.

  2. 2 stephen Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    I am not surprised. Most of the dealers I have come across are a bunch of jerks. No test rides and over inflated prices…sounds like motorcycle dealer 101 to me.

    I have walked out of a dealer show room more than once after the sales guys either ignored me or were so rude I felt like punching their lights out.

    Time for the manufacturers to take note, drop your inflated prices and kick your dealers buts.

  3. 3 Sheridan Dec 11th, 2008 at 1:58 am

    No way am I ever going to buy a bike without test riding it first, and be expected to put up with that just because of the brand name on the tank.

  4. 4 rodent Dec 11th, 2008 at 8:14 am

    And who made J D Powers God?

  5. 5 Mike Greenwald Dec 11th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    It would seem that is a self appointed position for JD Powers.

  6. 6 c Dec 12th, 2008 at 3:41 am

    What seems most interesting about this to me is #1 the financing portion of this. What happens when no one is lending?

    And #2 II know from being a manufacturer and attending many tradeshows and also many dealer visits it is hard at first to weed out the people just looking to ride a cool bike. I saw this year at Sturgis a number of people who walked into my booth asking if we were doing demo rides.

    Ofcourse this is a two fold issue because I wouldn’t authorize a test ride without an approved credit application. Alot of time is wasted giving test rides to people not interested in buying or to someone who can’t afford a bike they want to go blast down the street on. Not to mention the liability I have to assume if they get hurt on it for lack of experience.

    I’m not saying I oppose test rides because I firmly believe once they ride it, it is 90 percent sold, as long as they can afford it, but, now how do I determine who is serious and who isn’t.

    I guess I better make sure I have the best website on the planet.

  7. 7 Fred Dec 13th, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    To “C” As a manufacturer myself, the best way that has worked for me in the past concerning test rides and a serious buyers:
    1. Get the customer loan qualified on the bike of his liking
    2. Have Him/Her sign the contract with the stipulation that a test ride is allowed for the final deciding purchase, along with a clause in the contract that states,you crash it, you own it.
    3. This has weaned out many LOOKY-LOU’s ,and wasted time, that I should have been giving to potential first buyers.
    4. If I don’t have them in the first 10 minutes of my presentation,, its time to move on.
    5. This also gave me more confidence that my insurance liability was not at risk for the Looky-Lou’s.

  8. 8 Mike Greenwald Dec 13th, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    c and Fred,

    I am wondering what level of customer that you are selling to. All bikes need to be set up for the specific rider. All bikes are not built that way much less set up even close to being right.

    I would venture to say it would be very difficult for a prospective owner to determine how a bike “is” much less the performance of a bike without this knowledge.

    It seems to be a precarious position to have a customer sign an “ownership if crashed” clause. This has only protected the evidence if crash and in favor of the customer rather than vendor. This makes settlement for any insurance company difficult.

    Please clarify this.

  9. 9 c Dec 14th, 2008 at 4:00 am

    To both Fred and Mike

    I agree with you Fred on having a clause in the contract to hold the customer accountable after the committment has already been made. You are mostly correct when it comes to the “10 minute rule” yet, customers these days are harder to read I have found. Not to mention my product line consists of 10 models ranging from affordable bobbers to high end choppers. I have many price point bikes that cover a very large spectrum.

    Mike to clarify the best I can, the level of customer for me has been very wide spread. I have noticed a much more educated consumer yet still remain very undecided. Though my models vary quite a bit, I definatley have multiple models on hand at any given time that are setup from the factory to fit various size riders as well as experience level and budget. Many times I can put someone on a model they are interested in that fits perfect, the only variable is usually preferences like paint, engine size, and seating options such as 2 up riding capabilities as well as handlebar choices or styles.

    What I have noticed with any committment is that if a customer has to make the choice to be held accountable before the choice is officially made in their mind, it is harder to get them on the bike. Yet, as I said before, with the customer being harder to read ecspecially now with the lending options as strict as they are, I can get a customer walking up in designer jeans with a nice watch and a beautiful 10 plus wife or girlfriend that scores in the low 500’s that I cant place on a bike for the life of me. Or a guy in tourist wear sporting a hawaiian t shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops scoring a mid to high 700’s that could buy the bike with the cash in his wallet.

    Either way, if they can’t get on the bike without the fear of being held accountable for something they dont want. It seems to be a situation they want to avoid completely.

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