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Good Business as Usual for Pre-Owned Powersports

A snapshot of the pre-owned market and how to drive success this year.

The COVID-19 buying frenzy is over. The powersports supply for both new and used is settling back to business as usual. This year, buyer demand started out slow and has gradually increased for spring. We are seeing an increase in wholesale pricing compared to Q4 of 2022, but the increase in values is still lower than typical spring pricing increases. We expect that buyer demand will level out earlier than usual, most likely in late May and early June.

Based on current pricing and historical pre-COVID values, we think wholesale values this fall will dip more than seasonal trends over the last five years, so we advise to get while the going is good. If you are heavy on aged, used inventory, now is the time to sell. Identifying the right mix of new and pre-owned vehicles is key. With inflation, people have less disposable income, and financing rates have gone up, making the pre-owned inventory ticket price more attractive.

Create a business plan to carry your powersport operations into spring 2024. Here are some areas where dealers can focus on driving success.

Technology

Use technology to your advantage. Dealers can dial in their monthly business plans using inventory management programs, market tools, analytics and real-time valuation services. Tools for assessing values are critical to turning a profit in selling, buying and trading.

Inventory

Managing inventory is important to the success of any dealership. Knowing when to buy and stock up for future demand is critical to annual profitability. Investing in the wrong vehicles hurts the bottom line. Educate yourself and do your research. Get familiar with inventory by previewing local, regional and national auctions so you’ll select pre-owned winners.

Diversify

Expand your lines to match the powersports demand in your area. Last year, the off-road market took off, and continued growth is predicted. Motorcycles remain king, with sport bikes and cruisers leading the charge. In some regions of the U.S., all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are outpacing motorcycles. Stay up-to-date on trends and what’s popular with your clientele. Use pre-owned inventory wisely to fill gaps in your new inventory.

Innovation

Create an inviting, friendly place with a sense of belonging. Market to both new and existing customers. Capitalize on the motorcycle culture with fun celebrations, contests, sales and events. Make it an awesome experience.

Market

Drive traffic and participation with targeted communications. Market to your customers through websites, email, direct mail, social media, texting and telemarketing. Keep your new customers entertained and engaged.

Turn Time

Write out your plan and expectations. How much inventory should you have on hand and when? Determine what your turn rate should be to stay profitable. National Powersports Auctions CEO Jim Woodruff has a saying: “Turn time is more important than margin.” By that, Woodruff means turn times are a margin multiplier. Work with your team to determine the correct number of days for your turn time. For most dealers, we recommend an average turn time of 90 days for each unit, with some seasonal fluctuation.

The pandemic is over, but the industry is still growing. Experts expect several segments of the powersports market to continue to increase in the coming years.

It’s back to the basics of best practices and services. Find and retain quality talent to carry out the mission. Manage and position your business for the long haul. Evaluate your new and used inventory today. Decide what ways you’re going to move it. Scale inventory accordingly by moving most of it over the upcoming months. Auctions, whether live or online, are a well-traveled, proven road for inventory management success. Now get out there and ride the good times on the horizon!


Established in 1990, National Powersport Auctions (NPA) is the world’s leading provider of powersport vehicle remarketing services. NPA’s nationwide footprint serves the industry’s largest financial institutions, manufacturers and dealers through their premier live and online selling platforms. NPA also offers comprehensive data services, including the NPA Value Guide™, the industry’s most accurate wholesale valuation tool. NPA has company-owned and staffed facilities in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. NPA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Copart, Inc (Nasdaq: CPRT). For more information about NPA, visit www.npauctions.com.

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