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Author Topic: A change in the Zero dealership model?  (Read 2252 times)

Richard230

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A change in the Zero dealership model?
« on: August 31, 2014, 03:39:24 AM »

So I was visiting my "local" BMW/Triumph/KTM/Vespa two-shop dealer this morning for free coffee and Costco pastries and got to discussing the Brammo promotional pricing deal with one of their employees.  To my surprise, I was told that the shop owner is seriously considering adding Zero to the line of brands carried by the dealership.  This was surprising as they had a bad experience with Brammo's pre-production bikes some years ago and I thought they had sworn off electric motorcycles.  I guess some attitudes have finally changed.

When I asked what the deal was, I was told that each shop would have only one Zero model on the showroom floor to be used as a demonstrator.  If anyone wanted to buy a Zero then they could order it (after placing a deposit on the bike, I assume) and it would be manufactured for the customer and delivered to the shop. 

I then asked about servicing.  I gather this was a big concern for the dealership owner, as training their IC shop employees to work on electric motorcycles sounded expensive and potentially a real hassle for the service department. But the Zero guy said that this would be no problem as any warranty or electric propulsion issues would be resolved by the Zero factory sending a technician to the bike's owner's home and either fix it there or pick it up and take it to the factory for repairs, if necessary.  Between the lack of needing to maintain a new bike inventory and not needing to train a couple of technicians (who might leave someday after being trained) to work on the Zero bikes, it sounded like that might have sealed the deal.  I hope so.  It will be nice to finally ride to the shop on my Zero and not feel like I am out of place.  Of course, they will need to invest in some more electrical outlets for use by their visiting Zero customers.   ;)

So could this be a change in Zero's business model, or an accommodation for a local established motorcycle dealership that has a clientele with a lot of loose cash and the potential to sell a lot of Zero product?   ???
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 03:52:49 AM by Richard230 »
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

dkw12002

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2014, 05:07:52 AM »

Interesting. I don't see sending out a tech to fix your bike once the bike is off warranty. A service call would cost hundreds, plus most likely sending it back to California, plus repairs. I got into something like this in Alaska when I worked there. I had a compressor go down that nobody locally could fix in Galena, a small village. The solution? The company flew  in a technician (only way to get there is by air) who looked at the compressor and decided what parts he thought he needed to fix it, stayed over night (only 1 flight in and 1 out to Anchorage per day). When the parts came in, he flew back in with the parts, fixed the compressor, spent the night again, and flew back. Wish I could remember the total cost of this, but it was about the same as a new compressor...$7,500 as I recall for maybe $20 in parts and $100 in labor if it could have been done locally. 
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Richard230

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2014, 06:35:56 AM »

Well, that is one incentive for making sure your product has the best quality control possible.   ;)
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

trekguy

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2014, 07:49:51 AM »

Have him fly out to Youngstown OH to check my intermittent gauge issue with my 2014 SR. I will wait.
Thanks
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vchampain

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2014, 01:23:17 PM »

Mmmm...

This model is probably the most adapted to the current situation where servicing needs a very specific qualification. To make it work ourside states close to California, they will have to define a special deal with a few "servicing hub" dealers which would be the ones sending the technicians...
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rayivers

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2014, 06:25:23 PM »

It would be so cool if they'd supply a good service manual with block diagrams of the various modules, along with a module exchange program.  Electric bikes should be the easiest to diagnose and repair, not the hardest.

Ray
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'14 Zero FX 5.7 (now 2.8, MX), '14 Zero FX 2.8 (street), '08 YZ250F, '82 RM250Z, '75 MR175, '74 CR125M (175cc)

ctrlburn

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2014, 07:34:15 PM »

Being able to leave the dealership with the bike I test drove was a major influence in my purchase decision as a demonstration of credible entry into the marketplace.  Deposits fuels the perception of a "here today, gone tomorrow" risk I was uncomfortable with taking. I can agree when year to year the models improve, as any dealership with 2011 models is going to struggle to restock with 2014's, but addressing that could handled with returns to Zero for retrofits or parting out.

On the other hand it does make becoming a dealer more appealing.
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kingcharles

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2014, 09:49:04 PM »

Vectrix tried it with this model. I hope it works better for Zero...
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Richard230

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2014, 03:58:05 AM »

I think the dealer is just very nervous about getting into the electric motorcycle business and really wants to minimize his financial risk.  I can see his point of view, but I agree with ctrlgurn that many buyers don't like to wait for their purchase to arrive after initiating the sale.  Although, that is exactly what I did when I bought both of my Zeros.  I put down a $1000 deposit and then waited for a couple of months for the bike to arrive.  I believe it works better with early-adopters.   ::)  Plus, if you are buying the bike when they are currently being manufactured, the wait for it to arrive will likely be much shorter.

I might also add, that when I bought my 2009 BMW F650GS, I ordered the bike in March of 2008 and it didn't arrive at my dealer (the same one mentioned in this discussion) until September.  In that case, I put down a $500 deposit when I ordered the bike.  I think this model works better for expensive purchases than it does for lower-cost vehicles.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

ctrlburn

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2014, 05:40:24 AM »

The Zero is the most expensive vehicle I have ever purchased.
The Zero is second most expensive item I have ever bought. (second only to my house).

So I was very nervous about entering the market.

I'd consider myself as entering as the last of the early adopters, or the very first of the mainstream buyers.
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dkw12002

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2014, 05:44:20 PM »

I guess that could work although after warranty it could get expensive for the owner. The non-hub dealers would then service the bike for tires, brakes, belt, etc. that all motorcycles have, but not the electronics, batteries, bms, firmware, etc. They probably won't even have the diagnostics available. I still don't see it working quite like described though with the tech coming to your home unless you live in California. What I see happening is you getting the broken bike to the dealer you bought it from or any authorized Zero dealer and they either fixing it or sending it to the factory...or to another dealer with trained techs. 
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Richard230

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2014, 08:06:18 PM »

When I see a Zero on the dealer's showroom floor, I will inquire further to find out how the marketing, servicing and repair arrangement was fully worked out.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

trikester

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2014, 08:22:26 PM »

Hmm........I put down a $500 deposit with the factory (there were no dealers anywhere in the world, the term "zero dealers" was literal) and waited two years for the bike (105 weeks). I guess it's all in how you feel about the risk and how much you want an electric bike.

Tikester
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ultrarnr

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2014, 07:34:20 AM »

Richard230,

If this is a change of direction then I think they are on the right path. Especially the part of sending out a technician from the factory to fix problems. It took six weeks and many hours of troubleshooting to fix the contactor error problem I had when the Power Tank was installed. But Zero only sent out a technician after my dealer refused to continue working on the bike. My SR was the first Zero my dealer sold and so of course they are wondering what if they had sold 20 and they all had these kind of problems? They would be spending all of their time troubleshooting the Zeros. While it may sound like it would be expensive for Zero to send a factory technician across the country to fix a bike you have to balance that expense with the expense of losing a dealership. My dealer is still not sure if they will continue to sell Zero's because of what happened with my SR. As far as only keeping demonstrator models on the floor I think that makes sense to. Unless you are selling a lot of them keeping several models in stock that rarely sell doesn't make business sense. Again, this is an issue with my dealer who has four Zero's in stock. The display area they have looks great with those models but if they aren't selling then they may be taking space away from ICE models that are selling. Hopefully along with this Zero makes the Power Tank a factory installed option. I would also like to see CHAdeMO as a factory installed option as well. The manual lists CHAdeMO as 6-8 hours to install and my dealer was telling me to expect two days to do it. There are very few dealers that will ever sell enough Power Tanks and CHAdeMO kits to get good at the installation of them and having the ability to have them installed at the factory can save everyone a lot of grief.
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Richard230

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Re: A change in the Zero dealership model?
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2014, 08:08:34 PM »

I couldn't agree more, Ultrarnr.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.
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