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UK

12/10/2018

Three franchised dealers have gone under since the start of the month.

Riders of Cardiff has announced it is to close on 10 November, Bikers World Daventry shuts today, and South Coast Honda in Chichester locked its doors without warning at the beginning of the month.

Riders of Cardiff, part of a three-dealership group selling BMW, Ducati and Harley-Davidson, posted the news on its website on Wednesday.

Its Cardiff store, opened in May 2009, sold Ducati and BMW, the latter noticeably absent from the group’s announcement, which stated: “We [Riders Motorcycles] have a strong business and a good relationship with Harley-Davidson and Ducati and we see our future moving forward with these two brands.”

Phil Jessopp, MD of the family-run business launched in 1976, did not want to discuss the development .

Bikers World in Daventry (aka Suzuki Midlands) was a 4500sqft showroom with full Suzuki franchise and six staff. Owner Jason Harding said: “Quite simply it’s just not paying for itself. Motorcycles gobble up large lumps of cash with very little return. Daventry was losing money, so needs must.

“The industry and retail is changing and I have decided enough is enough.”

Harding will now focus on his Bikers World store in Coleshill, a clothing and accessories retailer which also sells Suzuki motocross machines and quads.

Daventry was selling 60-70 new Suzukis and 80 used machines a year, although new sales had fallen to 28 in the first nine months of this year.

Speaking generally and not wishing to “slag off” Suzuki, Harding said: “The margins are poor and manufacturers want more from you all the time, to have great big buildings, corporate identity, even that you must have a parts man. That all plays a part.

“It costs you about £1million to take on a franchise but the return is so little that you are reliant on the workshop and second hands.”

Harding says he will miss selling motorcycles, the people, and will be relieved to return to what he knows best – clothing retail.

Jonathan Martin, head of motorcycling, Suzuki GB, said: "Naturally we were disappointed to be informed of their decision to close. Bikers World Daventry has always supported the brand well, and so we wish Terry, Libby and all the team the best of luck for the future. Our attention now turns to finding a new partner to serve what is an important area of the country for us.”

South Coast Honda in Chichester closed its doors without warning on 30 September. The dealership, founded in 2016, has dropped the franchise and closed the premises. The stock was reported to have been removed.

Although the company’s website and Facebook accounts remained active at the time of writing (9 October), there was no explanation as to the reasons for the closure.

South Coast Honda, founded in 2016, was managed and co-owned by MD Robert (Rob) Booth, said to be a huge Bike enthusiast and avid motocross rider.

A Honda spokesperson said: "We are working with customers to ensure all orders are fulfilled."

More in the next issue of British Dealer News.