In Canada, Honda has said that they have hit rock bottom in motorcycle sales and that their Powerhouse stores have an image problem...this according to Warren Milner, the senior marketing manager for Honda Canada's motorcycle division.

The way he sees it the problem here in Canada for Honda is two fold: Honda has been selling its motorcycles cheap in order to fight against the recession and the lack of cash out there for a discretionary product like a motorcycles, and its image sucks. Although it's been getting rid of its back inventory at fire sale prices for the last year or two, it really hasn't been selling much new 2010 product and isn't making any money.

In it's quest to re brand its image Honda actually asked consumers who ride this question:  "The problem with Honda is..."  The answer according to consumers: There are some holes in the lineup, but that's easy to fix. They don't like Powerhouse and they don't like 'Honda.' They feel it's run by a bunch of car people who don't care about motorcycles. We have an image problem"

At a motorcycle show a few years back one of the marketing guys from Honda asked me why they were less popular than other brands, why had people not embraced the Fury the way they thought they would etc. I told him then what the experts have finally figured out - Image and Lifestyle - both suck unless you own a Gold Wing.

One of the reasons that Harley-Davidson is so popular, so McDonald's - their name, their brand - it's on everything.

Harley-Davidson understands one thing about it's consumer - they RIDE. They want souvenirs - and there is no shortage of them. If I rode a Honda and went into a dealer in Florida, I am not going to come away with a cool souvenir or tee shirt that says I was at XYZ Honda shop in Florida...the same holds true in Calgary, or Montreal...

Honda, like all of the Japanese manufacturers has relied on its product alone and sorry boys and girls in this day and age  you have to be constantly promoting yourself, reaching out to your consumer and engaging your consumer. The fact of the matter is you  need to host ride nights and  get involved in the community. I know some Honda Powerhouses that do that and do it well and they have a loyal consumer following - those that don't well they are looked upon by the riding community as what they are...big box car stores that attempt to sell motorcycles...

So yes Honda - listen to your consumer and listen well because you do have an image, a perception problem - but it's a much deeper problem that I think you are seeing...
And that is my humble opinion.

As always - I welcome your feedback and input - keep me on the straight and narrow folks - I always learn lots when you do!

In the news today...and there is a TON of it...

In Industry News, Viper Motorcycles is moving to Auburn Alabama

In Rider Down news there are sadly a number of accidents and a death to report again:

A BC rider was killed in a Washington state accident and a man from Comox was hurt
 in another crash in Washington state.
In Ontario a well loved volunteer is in critical condition...

The MRFD is rolling in to Trenton tomorrow...
In Ontario - the Ride for Sick Kids is coming up.

In the US - Pee Wee leads 300 riders into Sturgis on the Legends Ride and some moron stole a raffle motorcycle in Kentucky that was autographed by a bunch of country singers - the motorcycle was meant to raise funds for Breast Cancer Research.

Ride defensively, ride your own ride - do NOT let peer pressure get the best of you...Ride like everyone around you is BLIND, has an UNSAFE load and IS out to get you and please - ride Proud not Loud - invest in a 140 DB Air horn instead!

Belt Drive Betty
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National VP of Marketing
Foundation for Injured Riders, Rights & Education
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  1. It a simple concept honda surprisingly overlooked. The demographics simply are wrong, dirtbikers and motorcycle riders do not want to go into a car dealership, which is what all honda superstores have become. Honda is asking the wrong questions, its not what can we get you on today, but what do you ride and where do you ride.

    Consumers who ride and goto the bike shows do not want to go into dealers where its a sell sell sell attitude. Its too much pressure on what should be a very relaxing experience, where is the parts wall in a honda dealership? Behind the counter, around the corner, and in another province.

    Hondas marketing department should all be fired and made to work sales for 2 years at a car dealership to see their mistakes first hand.