Motorcycle Product News celebrates its 35th year of publication in 2009. Just like powersports at large, MPN has evolved over the years, and while we’d like to think we’ve come a long way since we published 56 black and white pages in April of 1974, we still hold true to our original mission set forth on those pages.
“There’s one basic purpose behind MPN, to bring the motorcycle industry the most complete monthly report available anywhere on the full range of products and services that manufacturers and distributors make available to dealers,” reads page one of issue one. “The name of the game in motorcycle retailing is growth, having fun and building profits. And the name of the game for MPN is to publish news, features and surveys that will help dealers, manufacturers and distributors operate more effectively and profitably.”
Our commitment to that mission stands today, and since that charter issue we’ve added a crack team of industry insiders who have helped MPN bring dealers the insights they need to stay in the black even when the going gets tough.
Back in the midst of the 1982 recession (still the worst our county’s seen since WWII) MPN offered dealers a six-point plan on “How To Survive A Recession” that still applies to today’s dealers.
1. Increase Sales — This means advertising in lean times and focusing on customer-service store wide.
2. Reduce Expenses — A tight grip on runaway costs will significantly help the profit picture.
3. Lower Inventory — Find the fine line between sufficient and insufficient stocking levels and tread that line carefully.
4. Don’t Borrow — Now is the time to reduce debt.
5. Reduce Staff — The mark of an efficient manager is how lean he keeps his work force.
6. Extend Payables — Arrangements may be made to extend payments terms with your suppliers and distributors with nominal fees.
Sound advice in 1982, and sound advice as we weather today’s economic tsunami, which we inevitably will.
To steal a line from former editor Steve Dye, “In good times and in bad, we remain in the business of motorcycles for the same reason our customers continually retain and renew their amateur status; for fun.”
I’m done letting those who came before me do my writing for me as I set my eyes on the next 35 years, but as in every business, its’ good for me to remember that sometimes the answers to today’s questions can be found in our past.
I spent just one afternoon buried in the MPN archives, and as I reminisced, I also became recharged and refocused on what MPN is really all about — since that first issue in 1974 we’ve been committed to bringing dealers the product information, industry news and business insights that will help you prosper for years to come.
I hope MPN has been and will continue to be a contributing member of your team for the long haul.
When did you first read MPN and how has it impacted your dealership? I’d love to hear your story.