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Harley-Davidson Dealers Keep Highest Ranking in 2008 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index
Monday April 14, 2008

Annual motorcycle industry benchmarking study measures how each brand's dealerships treat motorcycle shoppers


PACIFIC GROVE, Calif., April 14, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Harley-Davidson dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2008 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index® U.S. Motorcycle Industry Study, one of a series of unique national benchmarking studies which measure how consumers are treated when shopping for a new car, motorcycle, RV or boat. The independent study evaluated and benchmarked shopping experiences at 830 motorcycle dealerships nationwide, representing all major brands.

Following Harley-Davidson were Victory, Ducati, Buell and BMW above the industry average, and ten brands below the industry average. Overall motorcycle industry performance was little changed from the previous year, but seven individual brands gained ground over the previous year including Ducati, Yamaha and Honda, while Triumph, KTM and Aprilia were among the eight brands with declining scores.

Harley-Davidson dealers maintained the top ranking first awarded in the 2007 Pied Piper PSI® study, and despite retreating slightly from their 2007 record, Harley-Davidson still leads all motorcycle brands in more than 40% of the sales process factors  evaluated   by  the  study.

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Examples of sales process factors dominated by Harley-Davidson salespeople include asking for contact information, mentioning the availability of financing, asking for the sale, and giving compelling reasons to buy now. Victory salespeople led all brands for mentioning features unique from the competition and for focusing attention on three to five memorable product features. Ducati salespeople ranked first for addressing features and benefits relevant to the prospect and for offering a test ride.

"While industry-wide motorcycle retail sales have been declining, there are brands and dealers who are bucking the trend and increasing their sales by measuring, benchmarking and then improving their dealership sales process," said Fran O'Hagan, President of Pied Piper Management Co., LLC. Many aspects of the typical motorcycle industry sales process offer opportunity for dealers and salespeople committed to improvement. For example, the 2008 study results show that motorcycle salespeople on average ask for contact information only 38% of the time, encourage shoppers to return only 44% of the time, ask for the sale only 45% of the time, and provide compelling reasons to buy from their dealership only 34% of the time.

Telephone and Internet/Email Response Also Measured

The 2008 study marked the first time that PPMC measured not only a shopper's experience at the dealership, but also a shopper's experience contacting the dealership separately by telephone and by internet or email. Despite the knowledge that a majority of motorcycle shoppers now claim to research their motorcycle purchase on-line, dealerships were often slow to respond to on-line shopper inquiries. When dealerships were contacted by internet or email, 70% of the dealers from across all brands failed to respond in any way within 24 hours. Of those who did respond by email, only 32% offered reasons to buy from their dealership, and only 58% encouraged the shopper to visit their dealership. "History smiles on retailers who give the customer what they want, and there is no question that more and more motorcycle customers prefer internet and email communication," said O'Hagan, "but the most successful retailers will continue to be the ones who differentiate themselves in person and on-line in areas other than just price."

The 2008 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index® U.S. Motorcycle Industry Study was conducted between July 2007 and March 2008 using anonymous shopper evaluations at 830 dealerships located throughout the U.S., representing approximately one in five of all U.S. motorcycle dealership locations. Examples of other recent Pied Piper PSI® studies are the 2007 Pied Piper PSI® U.S. Auto Industry Study, in which Acura was ranked first, and the 2007 Pied Piper PSI® U.S. RV Industry Study (Class A), in which Monaco Coach was ranked first. For more information about the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index ®, and the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI® process, go to http://www.piedpiperpsi.com.

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