Let’s look at how to bargain for a brand new (or even used) motorcycle or scooter from a dealership. We’ll start with some general tips and then look at how dealer pricing works.
- Demand and supply set price, if a new vehicle has a waiting list, don’t expect a discount on price.
- Motorcycles and scooters interest is seasonal in many parts of the world. If you want a deal, winter is your best chance.
- Dealers hear “I’ll come back and buy it tomorrow” every single day. If you want to seriously negotiate for the best price, go willing to spend and let the dealer know you’re ready to put a deposit down… for the right price.
- Know exactly what you’re prepared to spend, there’s no point wasting your time or the dealership’s.
- Look for last year’s models still brand new on the showroom floor in order to save some money.
- If dealers can’t go any lower on price (see why on the next page), negotiate on other perks. When Adri purchased a 2008 KYMCO Venox from Studio Cycle Group in Toronto (an excellent experience), he received a free topcase used for touring, groceries, etc.
- Look for loyalty rewards. Where you buy a brand new motorcycle or scooter is likely where you’ll take your bike for its first servicing, so you’ll probably be back at least once. Adri also receives 10% off at Studio as a KYMCO owner.
- Being too greedy (cheap) just makes you a pain in the ass. Don’t be a pushover, but remember if a dealer knows he’ll have no trouble selling a deal sooner or later, he has no incentive to sell to an annoying customer, and the nicer one will probably get the better deal. Good dealers know relationships count, and you wouldn’t get in bed with just anyone who walked in either, would you?
- Know what time of year is slower for dealers, and use seasonality to your benefit.
Let’s look at a few more tips and an actual breakdown of different dealer markups on motorcycles and scooters.
I’ve grouped pricing of new motorcycles and scooters into 4 different zones: Gouging, Retail, Discount, and Problem.
Gouging Zone: When Kawasaki launched their redesigned Ninja 250R in Canada, we had an unprecedented demand which the supply could not meet. There were many public reports on GTAM of dealers quoting prices well above MSRP.
Retail Zone: Your typical every day pricing, generally standard from one dealership to the next. You can ask them to knock off some of the additional fees in bargaining (see bargaining tips), or add to your value in other ways.
Discount Zone: If dealers are resorting to selling for MSRP + taxes they’re making a minimal margin on the vehicle. Customers should ask: Why is the dealer so motivated to move the product? Is it a good bike? Is the market for this vehicle already saturated so its used resale value will not be strong? Etc. This could simply a sign of dealers having ordered more units than they could move, or a sign of slipping sales, weak selling staff, or other internal problems.
Problem Zone: Sales at dealer cost or below. When you see vehicles going for cost, you should see a little red light flashing. Ask yourself what’s going on? Is the dealer going down? Is the supplier leaving the country? Is there something wrong with this model? From what we’ve seen in the past two years in Canada we would stay away from brands such as Vespa and SYM and any others that publicly or privately take part in cost pricing.