I sincerely hope you are well, and your families and friends are safe in these unfortunate times. Some of us are at home, and some of us are still at our places of work. In either case, we are all in the same boat.
Or sort of…
To the Motorcycle Industry, this could not have come at a worse time. The downturn in the oilpatch, the seasonal timing of the pandemic, and the recent slowing of the Canadian economy all make for a severe situation for our beloved industry here in Canada. These are normally the biggest months in unit sales, and to have doors shut is like taping the mouth of a hungry person.
When I started in the industry in 1985, the bike industry was staggering and attempting to recover from a major recession a couple years earlier. I was working as a wrench at our local Kawasaki dealer (back then they were called “Goodtime Centres”). Part of my responsibility was prepping new units. I remember in that first year we had countless new units on the floor from prior years. Bikes just weren’t moving.
One Saturday morning, a more affluent middle aged fellow came in and bought a 1983 GPz1100 leftover. I was tasked with starting it and prepping for delivery.
I remember trying so hard to start the damn thing, and it just wouldn’t catch. One of the more senior techs pitched in and it eventually sprang to life. He made a simple comment that I will never forget. He basically told me that the bike would have fired up easily had we been permitted to let it run a couple times in the 24 months prior.
I think that is my message to our group. If we are able to, we should try and feed our local retailers as much as possible in these quiet times. A little support in May will allow these folks to resume full operation much easier once the risk has passed. Presently, the MCC is endorsing the “stay at home” mindset, not only for social interaction but riding as well. What better time than this to buy those accessories and maintenance items?
Some bright news in this regard; I am still very close with my larger local dealers, and this week all were reporting strong sales outside of new units (jackets, tires, aesthetic add-ons, etc). One shop has been conducting a lot of mechanical work, as they have been able to pick up and drop off bikes without ever directly interacting with their customers. What better time than now to have your valve clearance checked or your 20000km service done?
I would invite you to share your dealer success stories with your social network, and support them yourself, if you are able to.
We have a very bright future. Let’s lend a hand to those who need it so we can ALL enjoy it.
I wish you well. Stay strong.
Chris Bourque, CRM
MCC Board Chair