Motomart Wellington: the power of passion
Lower Hutts Motomart store has undergone a transformation in the last couple of years. We talked with new manager, John Goss, about what customers can expect.
Established by Pat and Carol McLoughlin, Motomarts history goes back over 20 years to the glory days of used Jap imports. Pat's 'sort of' retired now, but remains active in the bike industry. Fortunately he found someone equally passionate about motorcycles to take the helm at Motomart, in the shape of John Goss.
John's been involved with bikes from an early age and its a passion that has shaped his whole adult life. As a racer, he lined up against the likes of Bruce Anstey in his Formula 2 days. When it came to work, his early experience in dealerships enabled him to move into the distribution side of the business. One-time GM of BMW Motorrad New Zealand, John has been a consultant to the industry and held jobs right across the country.
Taking on the Motomart role in 2014, his experience told him that there needed to be shift in direction. "The market had substantially recovered from the GFC" says John. "Bike sales were increasing and a whole new demographic was taking shape: a lot of often well-heeled returning riders boosting the higher end, with an influx of younger riders using small bikes and scooters for commuting."
For John, this meant an increased focus on new bike sales. "The focus had to be on building the franchise relationships, and all that entails by way of new and used bike sales, servicing, warranty, gear, equipment etc." This spelled a busy time solidifying those relationships with BMW, Honda and Ducati, remodelling the shop and building a new team. But it has paid off. "We've seen good growth in all brands. We're now number one in New Zealand for BMW parts and accessories, and only narrowly missed out on bike sales. Honda is similar. There's good growth in Ducati too, as it builds wider appeal with the likes of the new Scrambler."
For professionals like John, these are good times to be in the motorcycle business. But he knows the key is building long-term customer relationships. "To survive in this industry, you have to care. It's not about making a sale at all costs: it's about giving customers what they really need. I'd rather advise someone to buy another bike from another dealer if it's what's right for them. People remember, and one day they might come back. You need to invest the time, that's what customer service is all about.
That need for time and understanding customer needs has seen significant staff training. Especially when it comes to recommending the right protective gear. "I'm absolutely passionate about the need for correct, quality protective gear. In my racing days I saw the difference it made. When I talk about lifetime relationships, there's an obvious connection.
One of the biggest investments John and his team have made is in researching and sourcing the best protective clothing and equipment. They're particularly proud of the packages they have put together for new or returning riders. "We sell a complete set of gear, top to toe, that we know is real quality but at a really competitive price. The margins on it are low anyway but we cut them to virtually zero so that we can send a rider out knowing we've made a very high standard of protection affordable for them. We ensure we have full size options, colour options and ladies versions where necessary. There's also a similar, slightly less comprehensive, package we do for scooter riders."
If you want to take advantage of these packages, the good news is you don't have to buy a bike from Motomart to qualify. Just ask in store. But you might also be tempted by the large range of top-name gear in stock: like Arai, Bell and Shoei helmets, Alpinestars, REV'IT! and Dririder gear, plus a whole lot more. Motomart are also New Zealand distributors for Touratech (John is now mad-keen on riding Adventure bikes, just quietly).
John's long and distinguished career in motorcycling means he understands the value of training. In fact, some years ago when working at Blue Wing Honda, he championed a then-rare rider training scheme for the Honda Riders Club. So it's no surprise that he has now teamed up with Ride Forever to offer a free training course with every new bike sold at Motomart. You'll find details on the handlebar hangers in the showroom. Sounds like the perfect excuse to treat yourself to that new BMW, Honda or Ducati you promised yourself...