Press Release –
A landmark event in the history of the Canadian Powersports industry took place Monday December 11th, as dealers, industry speakers and a host of association sponsors from across Canada as well as the Executive Director from the New York State Powersports Dealers’ Association met to develop an ambitious plan in support of Canada’s independent powersports dealers.
One of the highlights of the morning session was a presentation given by Tim Stover of the manufacturer backed Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council. Stover discussed various land use and lobbying efforts that the MMIC focuses on that help maintain a positive public image for the powersports industry and powersports dealers nationwide. This was the first time that the MMIC and CPSDA had worked together in such an effort which promises to help build manufacturer and dealer relations down the road.
Other key industry lobbyist speakers included Sandy Currie from the Canadian Marine Manufacturer’s Association (CMMA) who provided perspective on Manitoba Senator Mira Spivak’s controversial Bill S-209 which has been threatening the personal watercraft and Canadian boating industry since 1999.
Currie explained that due to recent health concerns, the Senator has withdrawn the bill from the legislature agenda. Currie also expressed a strong desire to work with the CPSDA membership to acquire data for a comprehensive marine industry study the CMMA is working on.
During the afternoon dealer-only closed door session, considerable discussion was focused on how dealers could solidify investment in their dealerships by working together with OEM suppliers to forge a set of provincial franchise laws.
“We firmly believe that our industry has regressed in recent months in terms of being able to offer the quality of buying experience consumers are coming to expect. Both the OEMs and the dealers agree that dealerships need to undergo a merchandising modernization process much like in the auto industry but to forge ahead we need a solid foundation first before millions of dollars get invested in new storefronts” expressed CEEDA President and CEO Bev Leavitt.
CPSDA attorney Mark McMackin further explained that recent versions of OEM dealer agreements have shown a trend toward an increasing imbalance in favour of the OEM.
“Until we can hammer out a set of guidelines that both OEM suppliers and dealers are comfortable operating within, dealer morale will continue to erode. Frankly, dealers of all brands are quite deflated by the dealer termination notices that have been issued by Honda Canada nationwide last July because it really means that the two thirds of all powersports business owners that are predicted to retire (according to a recent report from the Business Development Bank of Canada) within the next 10 years have had their hard earned goodwill swept out from under their feet” explained McMackin.
In a passionate presentation made by New York State Powersports Dealers’ Association Executive Director Bob Ski, it became evident that although it is critical that a province or state have a set of franchise laws in place to govern an industry, it is another thing to have rules respected and enforced.
Interesting comparisons between the Ontario and New York State powersports markets were also discussed which revealed that amongst the 18.95 million people in New York State there are only 238 authorized powersports dealers whereas in Ontario, 12.49 million people are service by 304 dealers. That’s a ratio of 1 powersports dealer for every 79,621 people in New York State compared to one dealer for every 41,085 people in Ontario” commented CPSDA President and CEEDA board member Stephen Bieda.
CPSDA and NYPSDA representatives also discussed the merits of incorporating a “code of ethics” into the membership criteria for all North America powersports dealerships which would prohibit powersports dealers’ association members from selling beyond State/Provincial or National boundaries to further enhance the existing clauses in many powersports OEM dealer agreements.
The primary purpose of the event was to rally dealers from across Canada in support of the effort to strengthen relations between dealers and OEM suppliers and to enhance communications amongst a fragmented network of Canadian powersports dealers.