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sales recovery fuelled by public demand

E letter / Opinion

Industry veteran and BDN roving reporter John Featherstone does the rounds again, and finds an amazing sales recovery fuelled by public demand for safe and independent transport.

DEALER FEEDBACK

“Never had this before,” exclaimed Darren Mudie of Modern Scooters of New Malden in South London. “I’ve sold all my used stock and I’m desperate to buy in more. We’ve had exceptional sales, especially with Royal Alloy having the retro look many remember, and have also sold lots of Sym scooters. Customers are mainly 40-plus and most are serious quality sales enquiries. There’s no price haggling, CBT enquiries are good and it’s quite unreal after all these years. Long may it continue!”

Suzuki and Yamaha franchisee Alpha Motorcycles, in the Essex town of Leigh-on Sea, has been enjoying a similar experience. Jason Fallows, who heads up Alpha, apologised for understandably brief conversations because he was so busy. “We’re going mental here today,” Fallows explained. “It’s now six bikes going out, not the four I mentioned earlier. Race suits, helmets, jackets and gloves are all rocketing as well. This is a quite incredible turnaround.”

Ultimate Moto owner Mark Turnbull, based at Boldon Colliery near Gateshead, has been on a roll too. “It’s bedlam here but no complaints,” he enthused. “We are up on May last year and set to double our June 2019 sales. Replacement used stock is now more of a problem than ever before. We decided to change our stock profile in anticipation of demand and it’s certainly worked out well.”

Neil Adamson of AAA Motorcycles in the Scottish town of Paisley reflected on a dramatic change in sales enquiries. “We’re not getting any time wasters, it’s fantastic,” said Adamson. “Probably out of every dozen enquiries, we are converting ten into bike sales. We’ve put the MCIA’s Unlock your Freedom message onto our Facebook page and the whole attitude to our industry seems to have changed in the past few weeks.  AJS has been great, supporting us with sales and back-up, and we’re enjoying coming to work more than we have for years.”

Nick Cheshire at Spa Motorcycles in Cheltenham is happy to be “rammed” with service work, rapidly improving bike sales and classic restorations. “On day one of lockdown we decided to keep our segregated workshop fully operational, adhering to all the guidelines,” he explained. “we had a trestle table set up in the front window and established fully compliant handover procedures. We’ve never been busier. For the first few weeks, some parts supply was difficult for older bikes. But that’s improved now.”

Oliver Brumpton of Sleaford-based Olivers Motorcycles in Lincolnshire is grateful for the social-distancing advantage bestowed by government edict. “Public transport was woeful in this area anyway, before the latest advice gave such a massive boost to sales,” he noted. “We are now doing up to 15 CBTs a week and having exceptional sales with the CFMoto range. The 650 GT is good value and the choice for many local commuter and leisure riders.”

Business is booming for Triumph and Ducati dealership Woods Motorcycles at Abergele in North Wales.“It’s just like the good old days,” said owner Andrew Wood. “And by that I mean I’m fully involved seven days a week again, not left wondering what the next day might bring. Even with all the restrictions we have still done 16 new bikes in the past two weeks and around 40 in total with used, from May going into the first week of June. The showroom being closed has slowed clothing, but that’s going to pick up as restrictions ease.”

Martin Cole, supremo of solus Yamaha dealership Alf England Motorcycles at Bedworth in Warwickshire, feels that people’s attitude to motorcycles and scooters has changed dramatically in the past few weeks. “We are finding a massive difference as to how they view future public transport, mainly from the 30-plus age group,” he said. “They are optimistic as to what they see as necessary ongoing leisure and commuter options from us, not short-term solutions. It’s great to be back selling, with quality enquiries and determined customers for new and used.”

A TRADE SUPPLIER JOINS THE PARTY

Oxford Products marketing director Henry Rivers Fletcher is entirely upbeat. “It’s quite extraordinary just how quickly life is returning to the motorcycle market, with many dealers reporting unprecedented footfall,” he remarked. “Doom and gloom in March left many wondering if there would be a viable way out, let alone a powerful rebound just two months later. The motorcycle world now has an opportunity to become relevant again, widen the market and enjoy a scale of participation not seen in a generation. We are pleased to be in an excellent high level of stock situation, to help dealers capitalise on this.”

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