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World Of Motorcycles – The Multi-Franchise Mega Store!

The ancient Chinese curse goes “may you live in interesting times”. When it comes to the world we live in and to the two-wheelers that are such an integral part of our lives that is certainly applicable. Whilst we can do little about the craziness of the planet, I believe we still enjoy some control over the motorcycle industry, but we may need to think ‘out of the box’, as the old cliché goes.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

I spent 10-odd years in the motorcycle industry back in the ’70s and early ’80s. South Africa was experiencing what we termed “a petrol crisis” in the ’80s. Seems that due to sanctions (remember those?), we were struggling to get sufficient fuel. Speed limits were reduced to 80 km/h and fuel stations closed at noon on Saturday and only re-opened at 6 AM on Monday. To a man and showing solidarity against the people who would not sell us motion lotion, we adhered to the speed limits and suffered collectively. I rode my Honda CBX from Cape Town to Pretoria in 22 hours! Bliksem!

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The one upside is that everyone, and I mean everyone, bought a motorcycle to conserve fuel. At Club Motors Honda in Pretoria, we moved 50 or more bikes a month. Dealers printed money. What a stark contrast that is to today. I believe we have an even bigger crisis with the cost of fuel today, yet dealers are bleeding. I aim to address this in another story but what I am getting at is that perhaps manufacturers and importers must think differently about how they sell their products.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

It is challenging to run a successful motorcycle dealership given the low volumes of current motorcycle sales. We have also had a drastic swing to under 250cc bikes where there are volumes but limited profit. The big dogs sell but in increasingly limited numbers. Even with bottom lines cut to the bone, it is difficult to sustain profitable dealerships. So, what is the answer? Could it not be by adopting a multi-franchise approach? Historically, brand pride and perhaps a smattering of corporate arrogance have been the spanner in the works.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

With dwindling sales, and an industry that could really do with a shot in the arm, this stance, in my humble opinion, needs a serious re-think. It is not uncommon, in the USA and in Europe, to find these multi-franchise dealerships with two or three premier brands on their floor. One of the few examples in Gauteng is World of Motorcycles in Centurion. So, what is the advantage of a multi-franchise dealership? Well, the net just gets thrown a lot wider. Let’s stroll through World of Motorcycles facility as an example.

The ground floor is dominated by a sea of red Bologna Bullets (or Ducati’s, if you are not that well versed in Ducati parlance), interspersed with white or insanely cool custom-painted Ducati Desert X’s.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Around the corner is a comprehensive display of bespoke Ducati merchandise for sale.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Upstairs you are greeted by a floor full of Suzuki’s with a backdrop of Suzuki goodies which kind of have you reaching for your wallet if you are a fan of the brand.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Walk on a bit and it is into Team Green territory. Kawasaki’s dominate this floor space and you can look, touch, and feel the Green Meanies to your heart’s content.

Photo credit: Brian Cheyne / ZA Bikers

With the KMSA exposure come the recreational Kayo dirt bikes. These bikes are decently spec’d and even more decently priced. Just the ticket for shaking off the everyday stress of the wild world we are exposed to.

Oh, and you need commercial units for your business? Look no further. World of Motorcycles offers Lifan motorcycles, also part of the KMSA stable. Here you have the peace of mind of a product offering exceptional value, which has been subjected to a due diligence exercise and enjoying the backing of KMSA.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The word on the street is that World of Motorcycles has another brand that is about to be added to their already impressive stable. I threatened them with Chinese water torture and The Rack but to no avail. Their lips are sealed, but apparently, it will not be long before things are signed and sealed and they can spill the beans. Watch this space for details…

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The wider offering of a well-run multi-franchise dealership makes for a pleasant and convenient shopping experience. The mainstream manufacturers all offer great products which generally compete on reasonably even terms. We know that what we pay is what we get, so premier and sometimes more heavily spec’d bikes are going to cost more. The beauty of a multi-franchise dealership is that I don’t have to drive kilometres to consider my options. It’s like the difference between a fixed-menu restaurant and an a-la-carte restaurant. The latter simply gives you more options, so it is ultimately a win-win for all concerned.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Go pay World of Motorcycles a visit at their Centurion store and you’ll get my drift. Happy shopping!

Dave Cilliers
Dave Cilliers
My name is Dave Cilliers, from as far back as I can remember I have loved travel. Africa provides salve for the gypsy in my soul. My best trips are done travelling to unlikely places with unlikely vehicles, keeping it as simple and basic as possible.
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