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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is not a "Stealership" story but more of a spleen-vent. Sorry in advance for the long post.

It is unbelievable the things that are going on at our local dealership (no names, you wanna know, email me). They just built a brand new $5 million (that's right, million) building that rivals any Lexus Dealer in the state. Unfortunately, along with this new building the management has developed a "big business" attitude and has frankly forgotten how (and by who) they got to where they are today.

You used to be able to meet with and talk to the general manager if you had a problem, now he's too important to be bothered so he hides in the upstairs office complex and sends one of his underlings to cope with the customer with a problem. That practice actually started in the old store but now he has even more places to hide! If you try to call him on the phone all you’ll get is his voice mail. In the old store, a real live person answered your phone call, now you get a recording and a menu to select from. The owner? Forget that, he's out playing golf, on vacation, or chasing a skirt somewhere. Out of all the people that work in "management" at this dealership, only 3 own and ride a Harley. I’m not saying that’s a requirement to work for HD, but there is little to no connection to or appreciation of Harley Davidson exhibited by anyone in charge.

The store charges $55/hour labor, pays the mechanics around $10/hour, then wonders why they can't get qualified wrench turners to work there. They brag about their new 10-bay service center but they only have about 5 to 7 mechanics at any one time to do the work. A friend of mine waited over six weeks for his bike to be repaired after a minor fender-bender and all the parts to be replaced were simple stock bolt-on’s. Their turnover rate in parts and accessories or motorclothes personnel makes the place look like a temp hire agency.

Need a part that isn't "Genuine Harley-Davidson"? If it is not on the shelf, then you have a 50-50 chance the part will be on "backorder", which they won't bother to tell you about until a couple of weeks later when you check to see if the part has arrived. Oh yeah, make sure you inform them you still want the part. If you don't, they won't "renew" your backorder the next time they place an order. Motorclothes selection is a joke. Half the HD clothing on display is either last season's merchandise or is piled on a sales rack. You'd swear they're scared to stock anything new. You want a clothing item that is current and you'll end up having to order it out of the catalog.

The "hard-core" customer base, the ones that always frequented the original establishment and brought in others, are now shunned. Loyalty to the customer, as questionable as it was in the past, is absolutely non-existent now. It is nothing to see or hear about customers leaving the new store in open disgust because of the treatment they have received. We now stand on the sidelines waiting to see what's going to happen next. Bets are the new store will wither to a point that the overhead will eat them alive or they will just burn out. It's nothing for people to now go 60 miles out of their way to visit other dealers. They just don't get it and it's a damn shame. There is a hell of a HD presence in this area but any support or loyalty from the local franchise is all but gone.
 

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Sad to see, but there are more and more dealers like that these days, but their attitude will change with the market.

Quite a few are hurting right now, in part due to the general condition of the economy and in part due to the upcoming anniversary year, They will clean up big time in 03, but I have a feeling they might have a real uphill battle after the 03 model year.
They make a much higher profit per bike when dealing with new people, not only on the bike itself but with all the associated stuff like extended warranties, services and image enhancers, but in the long run what keeps them in business is the old timers, many of which are extremely disappointed with the attitude of some dealers and the factory.
There are only a few things we can do about it, and providing information to the newer riders is a very good way to fight back, unless you are willing to change what you ride, which for me is not a option as of now, because I believe we can eventually get them to change if we vote with dollars often enough.

They have bet the farm on the new riders, time will tell if they bet right.
 
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