Indian Motorcycle Dealers Ranked Highest in New Study

Powersports industry performance has improved substantially over the past five years, but there is now a large gap in customer treatment between top-ranked brands and the others.

Polaris Inc’s Indian Motorcycle dealerships ranked highest in the 2023 Pied Piper PSI Internet Lead Effectiveness (ILE) Motorcycle/UTV Industry Study, which measured responsiveness to internet leads coming through dealership websites. Following Indian were Harley-Davidson, Polaris Inc’s Side-by-Side/UTV dealers, BRP’s Can-Am dealers, Kawasaki and Yamaha.

The powersports industry has substantially improved dealer treatment of website customers. As an example, five years ago, a powersports website customer’s inquiry would be answered only 31% of the time on average, compared to 52% of the time in 2023. “Powersports dealers were quicker to respond to their website customers this year than ever before,” said Fran O’Hagan, CEO of Pied Piper. “On the other hand, there has become a large difference in how dealers for the top-ranked brands treat their website customers compared to dealers for brands ranked at the bottom.”

Pied Piper submitted customer inquiries through the individual websites of 6,247 dealerships, asking a specific question about a vehicle in inventory, and providing a customer name, email address and local telephone number. Pied Piper then evaluated how the dealerships responded by email, telephone and text message over the next 24 hours.

Brands with the greatest improvement since last year’s study were Kubota, Arctic Cat, Kawasaki and Yamaha. Only four brands failed to improve from 2022 to 2023: BMW, Harley-Davidson, Triumph and Moto Guzzi. Industry average ILE performance increased five points to a score of 48, an all-time high during the eight years Pied Piper has measured and reported industry dealer web-response performance. As an example of the improved performance, 17 of the 25 brands measured achieved ILE scores over 40 this year, compared to as recently as 2019, when only three brands scored over 40.

2023 MC-UTV ILE STUDY 5-Year Score Comparison

Twenty different measurements generate dealership ILE scores on a scale of 100. In a traditional bell curve of performance, 27% of all dealerships nationwide scored above 70 (providing a quick and thorough personal response), while 35% of dealerships scored below 30 (failing to personally respond to their website customers). By comparison, for the top-scoring Indian Motorcycle brand, 46% of its dealers scored above 70, while only 18% scored below 30.

On average industrywide, dealerships this year were more likely to schedule an appointment, more likely to send a text message, more likely to phone quickly and more likely to provide compelling reasons for the customer to buy from this specific dealership. Despite the substantial increase in the use of texting — from 27% of the time last year to 37% of the time this year — customers were still likely to receive an answer to their question by email (41% of the time), or to receive a phone call (46% of the time.) “The top-performing dealerships reach out to a customer using multiple paths; then when the customer responds, they follow-up using the same path used by the customer,” O’Hagan said.

Response to customer web inquiries varied by brand and dealership:

  • How often did the brand’s dealerships respond by phone to a website customer’s inquiry?
    • More than 45% of the time on average: Harley-Davidson, Indian, Polaris, Kawasaki, Yamaha
    • Less than 20% of the time on average: Cub Cadet, Hisun, John Deere, Kymco
  • How often did the brand’s dealerships “Do Both Fast?” The dealer answered the customer’s question by email/text and also phoned customer, all within 60 minutes.
    • More than 20% of the time on average: Harley-Davidson, Indian, Polaris
    • Less than 5% of the time on average: Moto Guzzi, Cub Cadet, Kymco, Tracker, John Deere, Kubota, Hisun.

The Pied Piper PSI Internet Lead Effectiveness Studies have been conducted annually since 2011. The 2023 Pied Piper PSI-ILE Study (U.S.A. Motorcycle & UTV) was conducted between September 2022 and March 2023 by submitting website inquiries directly to a sample of 6,247 dealerships nationwide representing all major brands.

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