Bike Buyer Guru: Is the industry to blame for the decline in motorcycle sales?
Craig Langton has quite the CV. Here at The Bike Show we refer to him as King Midas because, as you might’ve guessed, everything he touches turns to gold. Apart from previous businesses that were massively successful under his watch, he is the owner of Fire It Up in Fourways and within a year of opening its doors it has become the biggest selling motorcycle dealer in the country by a long way. Much of this is down to good honest hard work by him and his team, but much of it also has to do with decades of dealing in motorcycles, spotting trends and noticing nuances. Craig will be passing on much of this knowledge to our esteemed readers in his Bike Buyer Guru column that will be posted every Tuesday. Herewith this week’s column:
I was watching a popular car show on TV recently and I noticed that the presenters always seem to mention a ‘poster vehicle’ and discussed a particular vehicle and if that vehicle was on their bedroom wall when they were young and how they dreamed of owning it as did every other school boy, reading the specs of the car again and again imagining the thrill of owning and driving it.
This got me to thinking, I’m a petrol head and a true car enthusiast (as most motorcyclists are) but as a school boy I had a brochure of a motorcycle on my wall and I can still recall studying the specs of the RM 125 and dreamed of the day my dad would trade my RM 80 in on a new Liquid Cooled RM 125. I studied that new bike every night before falling asleep.
Consider that every child or school boy that comes into our store is absolutely bike crazy and all they want in their lives is a motorcycle, no mention of a car and yet the motorcycle industry continues to decline year after year? As South Africans, I believe we all have a passion for motorcycles and yearn to own one at some stage in our lives, but somewhere down the line customers/enthusiasts are losing that passion and or interest.
Although motorcycles have become expensive, the technology justifies most of the expense considering that most bikes come with ABS (or miraculous cornering ABS, even) and a host of safety, emission compliant and technological features that rival modern vehicles. With unique finance options and guaranteed future values, motorcycles can be affordable. Is it really the price of new motorcycles causing the decline in the industry? I don’t seem to think so. It’s a combination of factors which can only be solved by the industry collectively.
I believe the industry as a collective is to blame for the decline in sales from manufactures and importers to dealers and finance institutions. I do not believe it is consumers, they still want motorcycles! It’s up to us to make it happen! Many may not agree and it’s only my opinion of course but with a range of beautiful motorcycles available from every manufacturer and South Africans born to buy them, who else can it be? The tip? As dealers, importers, traders, press, manufacturers and finance institutions, let’s start working harder together to make a difference and give South Africans what they want.