May 21, 2008
Not to exacerbate this scooter-buying frenzy, but U.S. scooter reserves appear to be running low. Here are some things I’ve heard lately, from various sources:
- Shops are selling scooters as fast as they can uncrate them. Some shops report they’re selling in a week what it used to take a month to sell.
- Any red (especially) and black bikes are selling fast and hard to keep in stock.
- Genuine’s Buddy is particularly popular and dealer stock is running low. Dealers who placed large pre-orders have a reasonable stock and are getting their orders filled, but newer and smaller dealers are having a hard time getting them and keeping them in stock.
- Even 06 and 07 Genuine Blurs, which were being heavily discounted over the winter, are getting hard to find (and selling at original MSRP).
- A big Genuine Stella order is on the boat now, but they’re probably mostly promised to dealers who preordered.
- Genuine, Kymco and Sym have pretty much empty warehouses right now. Sym is expecting more in July, dunno about Kymco or Genuine (aside from the Stellas). Kymco was allegedly particularly unprepared for demand.
- Piaggio/Vespa is very short on the popular models (MP3 500, Vespa S) and loading up deliveries with less-desirable bikes. They’re stuck with a large backlog of 06 and 07 bikes being returned from their “growth spurt” dealers that are closing down (Who would have guessed Arctic Cat customers wouldn’t spend $5K on a 2006 Piaggio BV200?).
Chances are, most of these importers will be getting more shipments in a month or so, but it’s likely their next orders will be sucked up by backorders and preorders, and take a little more time to get to the dealer floor.
What does that mean? In short, if you’re looking for a bike for this summer, and you see the bike you want, in the color that you want, buy it now. If you don’t see it, get an order in, with a deposit. Don’t expect discounts. Bigger/more established dealers seem to have prepared and are likely to have a better selection, but even so, bikes are selling fast. Newer/smaller dealers are finding it hard to get any product at all. Sunny spring saturdays are always insane at scooter dealers, and it’s even worse now, if you’re shopping seriously, take a drizzly weekday off work and show up early with cash if you want a salesperson’s undivided attention.