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Discussion Starter #1
Hi from China!

Polaris/Victory has begun marketing Victory dealerships in a few major cities within China. It is going to be a tough go for these new dealers, as HD is already very well established. Also, the myriad of rules & regulations concerning motorcycles in China would make your head spin.

Nevertheless, it is interesting, and I am very happy that Victory will be coming. I think I am currently one of no more than a handful of Vic riders in all of mainland China. Actually, I only know one other.

So, because I do not know any dealers back home (Canada/USA), what is the scuttlebutt on how Polaris/Victory deals with its dealers?

I suspect that a little dealer would probably be interfacing primarily with the countrywide distributor, but it would be helpful to know how the mother-ship interacts with its children.

My buddies and I are already plugged into the MC community in China, both from a professional and leisure point of view. A Vic dealership is something we have chatted about, although we've also thought that aftermarket/servicing is the better way to go if we could reliably source USA products. We are semi-retired guys ... with a healthy capitalization ... and also long-time riders. We know how to argue about the best oil.

I'd love to hear thoughts / comments, privately via PM/email if you'd prefer.

And my standing invite still holds for any forum members passing through Beijing.

Cheers from China
 

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I've talked pretty extensively with the two dealers in my local area. Both seem to be pretty happy with their relationship with Victory. Most Victory dealers here in the states however carry multiple motorcycle brands. Given the regulatory environment over there I would suspect the dealerships over there might be exclusive Victory shops only. I have to believe that would carry a greater amount of weight and influence with Victory.
 

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What you should have asked is how Polaris and the stealers treat their customers. I have dealt with all types of dealers from Jap to the Harley s but it seems the worst is Victory. They will not deal. They sit on a bike that is new 4 years old and want full price for it. EBAY is full of what I am talking about. The bikes are marked up at least $2500 dollars, they sit on them get dust on them but rather sell a 4 wheeler than a motorcycle. I guess Polaris is one of they companies out that rather join them than beat them. Instead of selling a bike at lets say $1000 dollar profit. 100 bikes x $1000 = $100,000 They might sell 10 bikes at $2500= $25,000. If you do the math I just made 100 customers for parts and accessories compared to 10. And the ten will go somewhere else because they can not afford full price items. Next some will chime in and talk about overhead. Polaris does not have a standard for a store like Harley does. They sell anything in it to survive. Jap, BMW, used crap farm equipment, you name it anything. I have not seen any standards to Victory dealer. Most of the time I have to hunt to find the Victory logo . Could be a sticker on the window most of the time there is no sign none what so ever showing that it sells Victory s. So now they want to go into China. Trade and parts will change hands and before you know it, poof you have a bike that is World Wide constructed. No more American made and they reasoning is profit. The part about what I talked about before each country trade is different. So if you sell here, what do we sell there. Could be cheaper metal, parts, tires who knows until you break it down.. Looks like another would rather join them than beat em....
 

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So now they want to go into China. Trade and parts will change hands and before you know it, poof you have a bike that is World Wide constructed.
The OP noted that Harleys are already over there and we haven't been deluged in foreign made Harleys yet. Then again, the Chinese, like everyone else in the world these days, probably don't want to deal with anything that's not metric.;)
 

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I hate to tell you but metric has been the standard for quite awhile now for all Car and bike manufactures. You might think that Harley is standard but they are metric. Every since they changed from the evo motor to the new 2000. GMS standard went World Wide Purchasing in 1999, that is when GM changed how it bought and manufactured parts. It was a new game plan against all competition even their vendors. They could squeeze the blood out of a vendor to the point of bankruptcy. You see it more and more as a few dominate industries level the playing field. It is amazing that any companies are still in business today. We should have kept our standard. When we went world our country has went down hill ever since..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback so far.

One significant problem that confronts the automotive industry in China, including motorcycles, is that there is a lack of well-trained technicians/mechanics. Unsurprising, given the average salary is about $500/month.

Even though Vic probably offers factory-training, there would be the language issue when sending mechanics over for training in the USA, or having some good ol' boys coming here from back home.

I don't know how Harley addresses that issue, but I can say from experience that the HD dealer servicing here is "less than ideal." (I also own a HD)

I wonder if our resident forum-tech Kevin likes Chinese food? :D
 

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I disagree

What you should have asked is how Polaris and the stealers treat their customers. I have dealt with all types of dealers from Jap to the Harley s but it seems the worst is Victory. They will not deal. They sit on a bike that is new 4 years old and want full price for it. EBAY is full of what I am talking about. The bikes are marked up at least $2500 dollars, they sit on them get dust on them but rather sell a 4 wheeler than a motorcycle. I guess Polaris is one of they companies out that rather join them than beat them. Instead of selling a bike at lets say $1000 dollar profit. 100 bikes x $1000 = $100,000 They might sell 10 bikes at $2500= $25,000. If you do the math I just made 100 customers for parts and accessories compared to 10. And the ten will go somewhere else because they can not afford full price items. Next some will chime in and talk about overhead. Polaris does not have a standard for a store like Harley does. They sell anything in it to survive. Jap, BMW, used crap farm equipment, you name it anything. I have not seen any standards to Victory dealer. Most of the time I have to hunt to find the Victory logo . Could be a sticker on the window most of the time there is no sign none what so ever showing that it sells Victory s. So now they want to go into China. Trade and parts will change hands and before you know it, poof you have a bike that is World Wide constructed. No more American made and they reasoning is profit. The part about what I talked about before each country trade is different. So if you sell here, what do we sell there. Could be cheaper metal, parts, tires who knows until you break it down.. Looks like another would rather join them than beat em....
Gibson,
I disagree for these reasons.
Victory sees their product as having value. If the would-be buyers don't agree or what the product, that's fine, have a nice day.
If they can't afford the product, fine, one day they will and will be proud they have a bike that holds it's value due to not giving them away.
My Kawasaki dealer (I've bought plenty of them over the last four years) say's his door is worth $1,500.00. Everytime someone rides his bike out the door it costs his customer that much in lost depreciation instantly.
I know there are too many Harley's out there but they tend to hold their values.
You use Gibson as a name. Gibson guitar company is American product, they are proud of their work too. Until Obama raided their guitar factories effectively shutting them down and idling 1200 workers who were cranking out great product.
So, in my mind the bottom line is I don't want to buy a bike and then have the same one given away next year just because it has dust on it.
It' very important that we hold our values and even if the they take longer to sell (because American's have not bought American and lost their jobs and those of their friends so it's taking longer for them to save for a GOOD bike that is U.S. made and costs more) good for them.

My opinion.

I see your point of more bikes on the road more accessories but that's what the Jap's did and see what it got them. Cheap bikes that everyone wants a steal deal on.

Also, keep in mind Victory makes 7500 bikes a year.
Harley makes 250,000

Oh well, so much for my soapbox.

BTW I am an American manufacture myself and own a company that makes parts for Suzuki's.
I'm working to develop custom items for Vic's now.
 

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Look at the Polaris profits over the last couple of years and you'll see that what they are doing is working for them. The Cross bikes have made them a new name and they are pulling in more people that were previously dedicated to other brands then ever before.
For the most part the dealers are doing what they can to make the sales and service a good experience but there are some turds out there. The same type of logic applies to any business though; you can have a chain of taco stands that treat people well in 9 of 10 stands - the 10th one may serve crap and treat customers worse than the food.
 

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My Victory dealer is pretty spectacular. They made a decent deal on my bike, got some extra accessories and they have been great since then. They reworked some paint issues for me. They just installed new bars and they scratched them so they ordered a new set to put on, no questions. They will research anything I have asked for and they sell a ton more bikes than most Victory dealers because of it.
 

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What you should have asked is how Polaris and the stealers treat their customers. I have dealt with all types of dealers from Jap to the Harley s but it seems the worst is Victory. They will not deal. They sit on a bike that is new 4 years old and want full price for it...... So now they want to go into China. Trade and parts will change hands and before you know it, poof you have a bike that is World Wide constructed. No more American made and they reasoning is profit. The part about what I talked about before each country trade is different. So if you sell here, what do we sell there. Could be cheaper metal, parts, tires who knows until you break it down.. Looks like another would rather join them than beat em....
I could not disagree with you MORE. Victory dealerships are JUST LIKE ANY dealership (Harley, car, whatever). They decide how much they want or need to sell a product, not Victory corporate. If dealers LIKED being told what to do by Harley corporate SO MUCH, there would be fewer unhappy Harley dealerships. The FACT is that the MAJORITY of Victory dealerships WILL negotiate on price. Heck, I got mine for a little over 15% off retail and it was a limited current year model ('11 bought in '11). You can NOT do that with a Harley...EVER.

You've also (apparently) got a bug up your butt about the way HARLEY handled international business. That is fine but don't artificially super-impose that onto Victory. Your fortune telling skills aren't that good you you would have won the lottery and left this forum a long time ago. Victory is AMERICAN made and does use (some) parts from other countries but will remain American made. You may not know this but there is a (good) stigma with American-made motorcycles that garners respect in foreign countries (like China). This positioning is ESSENTIAL for success in those countries and is actually part of the marketing so there is about a .000001% chance of Victory allowing significant changes to that successful model. Get's off soap box to a round of applause by TRUE Victory fans.
 

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You've also (apparently) got a bug up your butt about the way HARLEY handled international business. That is fine but don't artificially super-impose that onto Victory. Your fortune telling skills aren't that good you you would have won the lottery and left this forum a long time ago. Victory is AMERICAN made and does use (some) parts from other countries but will remain American made. You may not know this but there is a (good) stigma with American-made motorcycles that garners respect in foreign countries (like China). This positioning is ESSENTIAL for success in those countries and is actually part of the marketing so there is about a .000001% chance of Victory allowing significant changes to that successful model. Get's off soap box to a round of applause by TRUE Victory fans.[/QUOTE]



I will be telling you in the future I told you so, so I am guessing you sell or work for Polaris. GM puts their little cronies in these forums to stop the bashing or truth telling of the product. I tell it like I have seen it over the years and history repeats itself. Supply, demand, advertising and units sold what is your crystal ball for the future?
 

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I will be telling you in the future I told you so, so I am guessing you sell or work for Polaris. GM puts their little cronies in these forums to stop the bashing or truth telling of the product. I tell it like I have seen it over the years and history repeats itself. Supply, demand, advertising and units sold what is your crystal ball for the future?
We can agree to disagree. I don't even remotely work for Polaris but you are right on the supply and demand model. You chose to ignore the elephant sitting in the room even though I clearly outlined it for you in my prior post. The DEMAND is DRIVEN by the American label in overseas markets. Why do you think Polaris bought Indian? It wasn't because they had superior technology. It was the American HERITAGE. Take that away and much of that demand goes away. Nobody (except maybe H-D) is stupid enough to make that kind of move and Harley is desperately trying to correct it even today.

I am off to the IMS show today. Maybe I'll see some of you guys out there.
 

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What you should have asked is how Polaris and the stealers treat their customers. I have dealt with all types of dealers from Jap to the Harley s but it seems the worst is Victory. ..
Gibson, I only have experience with a couple Victory dealers in Southern California, and haven't really noticed what you have. Your post "seems" to refer to all Victory dealers, not just a limited few. I have had experience with quite a few dealers of other brands, and have purchased 20 new motor cycles over the last few years. I haven't really noticed any similarities in dealers based on brand ('well, maybe Harley is a bit different").

Are your conclusions based on extensive experience in multiple states? How many dealers, 3 or 4, or 20-30, or more?

I'm not disagreeing with you, just trying to evaluate where or how you got your conclusions.

Thx

Greg
 

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Worked for a auto company for over 30 years, read a lot of magazines on motorcycles - autos. Investments taking profit margins on companies how they work. You are just a number in the system, And the squeaky wheel gets the oil. If Victory was a truly company with stand alone products they would not have other brands (competition) in the same store as their product. What I have seen in almost all dealers that I have searched or went to visit is all the cross brands of competition. From snow, 4 wheelers, to motorcycles. Most car dealers sell all brands but keep them separate from each other. You would have to go to another lot to buy a competitors product. There is no standard for Polaris so you should be able to buy direct. Would that be nice? Buy direct and have it shipped to the nearest license branch to plate.
 

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Victory dealerships average selling 33 bikes each per year as stated in another thread. There are very few standalone Victory dealerships because they simply could:) not afford to keep their doors open without having other products to sell.

Since you mentioned the automotive industry you have to know that they play the same game in a way. How many auto dealers have you seen that didn't try to sell you on aftermarket accessories, fabric protection, paint protection and/or glass protection? They don't do this because the auto brand they carry manufactures or endorses those products they do it because it helps their business thrive.

If you think it's possible to keep a Victory only dealership open by just selling Victorys then you should give it a whirl. If you can keep your doors open while paying wages to 4-6 people and being able to thrive more power to you!
 

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I've not found a Vic dealer that sells only Vics and nothing else. If they did they would be a one horse operation and even then be strangled with no clothing or aftermarket accessories to offer.
Only Harley has the "boutique".
The Asian bikes are nice as well as the German, Italian and British however they are usually pitched into the alphabet soup of a big box showroom. We have a local dealer where I purchased my Vic. I've bought three bikes there now and almost always feel like I got a so-so deal.
Fact is they must make money, profit is not an evil word. No one works for free. Even the government jobs that folks think are paid with "free" money are actually paid with debt from future generations who will live a Serfs to pay the tax their grandparents laid heavily on their backs. (Got political there but I'm right).

My dealer wants to make money because they are driven to do so. They have never delivered a product to me that didn't have issues and they have lost my favor because of that. I use them as they use me. If something can be found on ebay or internet I'll buy it there just as readily as from them. I'm not that way with my small stand alone Kawasaki shop who still runs his business like an old school bike shop. He's the guy behind the counter and the main mechanic too. He gets all my business if I can give it however he's not a Vic dealer. That's too bad because if he was I'd buy from him.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Speaking from experience (+/- 10 years living/working in China), I can say that the Made-in-USA brand is very highly regarded in China. American products deservedly command a premium price. There is no argument from anyone in China about the high quality of American products.

What is seriously lacking, however, is the "customer service" that we have come to expect in the USA - and which is especially important in the motorcycle industry. The standard of sales/service in China is significantly inferior. And although it is improving each year, it still has sizable catch-up. Us old-timers remember Harley "quality & service" in the late 70s, early 80s, and even that abysmal state would be ahead of where the Chinese "customer-service-experience" currently sits.

Victory, which is known for its high customer satisfaction, could make substantial inroads into the China market by offering not only a "Made-in-the-USA" product, but also by offering an American level of customer service. THAT would be its competitive advantage over, as an example, how Harley operates in China.

One issue, as I see it, would be whether the Victory company would provide the dealer support necessary for the dealer to pass on an excellent sales experience and after-sales support/service. If the boss in the back room is a jerk, the front counter sap can't do much.

IMHO, Victory would quickly sell every bike it manages to get in (not an easy task).
 

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Fact is they must make money, profit is not an evil word. No one works for free. Even the government jobs that folks think are paid with "free" money are actually paid with debt from future generations who will live a Serfs to pay the tax their grandparents laid heavily on their backs. (Got political there but I'm right).
No, you are wrong. There would be little if any debt if the gov't simply collected from rich people at at least the same rate it does the rest of us and stops engaging in empire building and policing the country to death.

But the people who complain most vehemently about debt are the same people who support regressive taxation (15% rates for Romney and the boys), obscene military spending, and millions of cops on patrol for potential fruit pickers, weed growers, gay couplers, and women who charge for sex directly. Go figure.

FWIW, my Vic dealer is brand exclusive as far as MCs go. They do sell a few scooters though.
 

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Speaking from experience (+/- 10 years living/working in China), I can say that the Made-in-USA brand is very highly regarded in China. American products deservedly command a premium price. There is no argument from anyone in China about the high quality of American products.


IMHO, Victory would quickly sell every bike it manages to get in (not an easy task).
Then you may want to remind them that their Harley's will very soon be coming from India, not the USA. That's where HD is opening it's new plants for international sales.

Victory still home born, home grown, a USA company.

And I want to point out my dealer in Tampa is stricly a Victory dealer. Has no other lines, but sells alot of used bikes as well, and has a service department the will work on anything. He formerly serviced a lot of older Harley's (go figure) before he got the Franchise. He also has a second set up the same in Vermont. Smaller shop, friendly and great.

I loved my Harley, ran great (2004 model), but was getting long in the tooth. They are trying to market as a USA Icon rather than improve and protect the "made in the USA" nostaglia. Actually Indian is the true American bike, but few remember. They both had their trouble, Harley got more financial backing and government contracts during the world war, the rest is history. Now Indian is owned by Polaris.
 

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Victory dealerships average selling 33 bikes each per year as stated in another thread. There are very few standalone Victory dealerships because they simply could:) not afford to keep their doors open without having other products to sell.

If you think it's possible to keep a Victory only dealership open by just selling Victorys then you should give it a whirl. If you can keep your doors open while paying wages to 4-6 people and being able to thrive more power to you!
What I have seen so far are just mom and pop shops with only family, very few with commission sales. See if it was like Polaris only you would have 4 wheelers, snow mobiles, Victory and related products with Indian in the future. I have never seen a Snapper dealer or John Deere dealer sale other products they would lose the license agreement. They might sell echo or Sthil or some other product that is not in their product line which makes sense. Mowing and blowing snow to cutting trees to trimming grass is a seasonal thing for dealers to make money. I just think it does not give Polaris a very good image to sell products along side its competition. Just my input so I will give it a rest. Just can not understand why when you go to a dealership you can not see the models of bikes. Most sell on consignment anyways and most states have done away with inventory tax, so why are there not places that have more than 2 bikes? I would have to drive 5 hours to get to see a bike, or drive to the circus when it comes in town with the demo rides.
 
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