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MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2014 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2014 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

July 2014

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – July 7, 2014 – Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study, which measured treatment of car-shoppers who visited 5,671 dealerships throughout the country. Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success. For the second consecutive year, Infiniti and Lexus dealerships, the luxury brands from Nissan and Toyota respectively, were ranked second and third.

Twenty-two of the thirty-four different auto brands led the industry in at least one PSI sales process category, while fifteen brands finished last in at least one category. Tesla dealerships, included in the study for the first time this year, led the industry in seven PSI sales process categories, such as involving the prospect with visual aids, and following-up after the visit. However, the Tesla dealerships also finished last in thirty-two categories, such as asking the prospect's name, offering a test ride, or mentioning the availability of financing options.

Brands showing the most improvement year-to-year were Scion, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Lincoln, Cadillac, Chrysler and Nissan. Brands with the greatest declines year-to-year were GMC, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Chevrolet, Infiniti and Ram. Three brands have been consistently ranked within the top 10 brands over the past five years: Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Jaguar.

Performance varied substantially by brand within some categories. For example, salespeople are often taught to try to build rapport and ask open-ended questions instead of just saying, “Can I help you?” Lincoln, Chrysler, Honda, Volvo and Fiat salespeople were least likely to start a shopper's visit by saying, “Can I help you?” In contrast, the salespeople most likely to ask, “Can I help you?” worked for Ford, Mazda, Ram, Scion and Chevrolet dealerships. Another example is whether or not the salesperson suggested sitting down at a desk; a step often used to transition from talking about the product to talking about buying the product. Salespeople from, Nissan, Hyundai, Ford and Kia dealerships were most likely to suggest sitting down at a desk, while Tesla, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Land Rover and Audi salespeople were least likely to make the suggestion.

Industry average dealership performance was mixed when comparing 2014 with the previous year.

Salesperson behaviors more likely in 2014 than 2013 include the following:

• Gave compelling reason to buy from this dealership (now 50% of the time)
• Discussed features unique from the competition (now 59% of the time)
• Mentioned maintenance program and associated costs (now 58% of the time)

Salesperson behaviors less likely in 2014 than 2013 include the following:

• Offered a brochure (now 50% of the time)
• Asked why prospect considered brand (now 60% of the time)
• Involved prospect with visual aids (now 36% of the time)

“Great products are the key to strong sales,” said Fran O'Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “But the only way to make the most of a product's sales potential is a capable sales team, following a consistent sales process.” Pied Piper has found that on average, when auto dealerships are ranked by their PSI score, dealerships in the top quarter sell 16% more vehicles than the dealerships in the bottom quarter.

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Powersports Business Mystery shopper title goes to Ducati dealers

Powersports Business
Mystery shopper title goes to Ducati dealers

May 2014

Ducati dealers took a big jump in the 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, up 7 points from 2013. The 114 score helped them surpass Harley-Davidson dealerships' score (111) and lead the industry for the first time since 2009.

The change, Pied Piper president Fran O'Hagan said, was due to a shift in how Ducati uses mystery shopping as a training tool. Ducati in 2013 chose a mystery shopping method similar to what Mercedes-Benz, the top PSI-scorer on the auto side, implemented about five years ago.

Mercedes said, ‘We're going to put money on the line to make mystery shopping worth your while. But we're not putting money on the line tied to scores; we're putting money on the line tied to you using this as a tool, that's all. But you have to use it, and we're going to make you sit down with your Mercedes reps once a quarter and review your mystery shop results with them and talk to them about how you're using the results to improve the way you sell.” O'Hagan explained.

“That is exactly what Ducati did. Ducati copied that approach and started at the tail end of 2013, and it's running today, so Ducati incentivizes the dealers to use mystery shopping. Ducati doesn't particularly pay attention to the scores; what they're paying attention to is that the dealers are actually using the results to improve the way they sell, and the Ducati reps are doing the same thing. The Ducati reps are talking to the dealers about what you are doing and what can you do to improve. There has been a huge improvement,” he added.

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Motorcycle & Powersport News Ducati Dealers Ranked Highest in 2014 Pied Piper Study

Motorcycle & Powersport News
Ducati Dealers Ranked Highest in 2014 Pied Piper Study

May 2014

Ducati dealerships returned to the top rank in the newly released 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study. The last time Ducati dealerships were top-ranked was 2009. The study measured dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers, with rankings by brand determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.

Harley-Davidson was ranked second, with a PSI score identical to the brand's 2013 score, which led the industry last year. Bombardier's Can-Am brand was included in the study for the first time, debuting with a third-place ranking. Industry-wide performance improved substantially from 2013 to 2014, with twelve of seventeen motorcycle brands achieving higher scores.

Either Ducati or Harley-Davidson dealerships led all other brands in one-half of the study's measured sales activities.

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Motorcycle.com Ducati Dealers Top 2014 Prospective Shopper Satisfaction Study

Motorcycle.com
Ducati Dealers Top 2014 Prospective Shopper Satisfaction Study

May 2014

Ducati dealerships were rated the best in the U.S. motorcycle industry at how well they deal with potential new customers. The Italian manufacturer earned the highest score out of 17 major brands in the 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, the firs time Ducati topped the annual Index since 2009.

The study was conducted by California-based Pied Piper Management Company which employed 1,885 anonymous “mystery shoppers” to visit different dealerships across the U.S. between July 2013 and April 2014. The “mystery shoppers” pretended to be regular customers and observed how dealerships fared in a number of customer-friendly categories such as offering test rides, asking customers for contact information, or for doing something as straightforward as asking a customer to buy a motorcycle.

Ducati and Harley-Davidson (which topped the 2013 PSI study) combined to earn the top scores in half of the different categories. Another ten brands scored the highest in other categories. The scores were added up to produce an overall index number.

Test rides remain an important category that is underutilized by dealerships. According to the study, dealerships mentioned either an immediate or future opportunity for test rides only 52% of the time. That's an improvement from the 36% rate recorded in the 2011 study, but still rather low considering the results. According to Pied Piper Management, dealerships that offer immediate test rides at least half of the time sell 44% more motorcycles than dealerships that don't.

Ducati, Can-Am, Harley-Davidson and BMW dealers were the best at doing this, mentioning test rides 60% of the time, and it's no surprise they fared well overall. Meanwhile dealers selling Moto Guzzi, KTM, Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda motorcycles mentioned test rides only 30% of the time.

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Dealernews Mystery shopper study: Dealers improve PSI scores over 2013

Dealernews
Mystery shopper study: Dealers improve PSI scores over 2013

May 2014

MONTEREY, Calif. - Ducati dealers ranked tops among mystery shoppers for the first time since 2009, according to the 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study.

Industry-wide, dealers improved their prospect service scores "substantially" from 2013 to 2014, with 12 of 17 motorcycle brands achieving higher results than they did last year, researchers said. Dealer sales personnel mentioned the availability of test rides, asked for customer contact information and offered to write up a deal more than they did last year, the survey noted. But they still have work to do if they're going to achieve higher numbers, according to Pied Piper Management Co. LLC.

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Powersports Business Ducati dealers top PSI for the first time since 2009

Powersports Business
Ducati dealers top PSI for the first time since 2009

May 2014

Ducati dealerships returned to the top rank in the newly released 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study. The last time Ducati dealerships were top-ranked was 2009. The study measured dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers, with rankings by brand determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.

Harley-Davidson was ranked second, with a PSI score identical to the brand's 2013 score, which led the industry last year. Bombardier's Can-Am brand was included in the study for the first time, debuting with a third-place ranking. Industry-wide performance improved substantially from 2013 to 2014, with twelve of seventeen motorcycle brands achieving higher scores.

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Ultimate Motorcycling Ducati Dealers Top 2014 Pied Piper Satisfaction Study

Ultimate Motorcycling
Ducati Dealers Top 2014 Pied Piper Satisfaction Study

May 2014

Two-thousand thirteen was Ducati's first full year under Audi AG ownership. And when the Borgo Panigale manufacturer released its yearly worldwide sales report, record numbers were reported.

This was the second consecutive year Ducati Motor Holding posted record yearly-sales results, and CEO Claudio Domenicali attributed the results to the “strength of our products and the appreciation of the brand.”

The latter part of that quote received some further backing this week when the 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study was released.

The study – which measures dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers through a process that partly utilizes mystery shopping – ranked Ducati dealerships on top. This was the first time Ducati took the top ranking since 2009.

Ducati, which in March reported having 817 dealers in 88 countries, took a score of 114, which was up seven points over its 2012 results.

Finishing second, three points behind, was Harley-Davidson. Taking the final Pied Piper PSI podium position with 107 points was Can-Am.

The report says either Ducati or Harley-Davidson dealerships led all other brands in one-half of the study's measured sales activities.

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DUCATI MOTORCYCLE DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2014 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

DUCATI MOTORCYCLE DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2014 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

May 2014

Monterey, California – May 5, 2014 –Ducati dealerships returned to the top rank in the newly released 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study. The last time Ducati dealerships were top-ranked was 2009. The study measured dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers, with rankings by brand determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.

Harley-Davidson was ranked second, with a PSI score identical to the brand's 2013 score, which led the industry last year. Bombardier's Can-Am brand was included in the study for the first time, debuting with a third-place ranking. Industry-wide performance improved substantially from 2013 to 2014, with twelve of seventeen motorcycle brands achieving higher scores.

Either Ducati or Harley-Davidson dealerships led all other brands in one-half of the study's measured sales activities. Ten other brands led at least one sales process category, and brand performance varied considerably from brand to brand, including the following examples:

• Offering test rides: Recognition of the importance of test rides has driven many—but not all—motorcycle dealerships to figure out ways to overcome the challenges of offering test rides. The 2014 study showed that dealerships on average mentioned either immediate or future test rides 52% of the time, compared to only 36% of the time three years ago. However, there is much variation from brand to brand. Dealers selling five brands—Ducati, Can-Am, Harley-Davidson and BMW—mentioned test rides to more than 60% of their customers, while dealers selling Moto Guzzi, KTM, Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda mentioned test rides to less than 30% of their customers.

• Suggesting writing up a deal: Dealers selling Can-Am, Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Ducati and Triumph were most likely to suggest going through the numbers and writing up a deal, while dealers selling KTM, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Victory and BMW were least likely. Industrywide, salespeople attempted to write-up a deal 39% of the time, compared to 30% of the time three years ago.

• Asking for customer contact information: Dealers selling Harley-Davidson, Ducati, Can-Am, Victory and Triumph were most likely to ask for customer contact information, while dealers selling Moto Guzzi, KTM, Suzuki, Aprilia and Yamaha were least likely. Industrywide, salespeople asked for customer contact information 52% of the time, compared to 46% of the time three years ago.

Despite the substantial industrywide progress, there remains plenty of room for improvement. Motorcycle salespeople still greet customers with, “Can I help you?” 84% of the time, a question customers often answer with, “No thanks, I'm just looking.” Similarly, salespeople still suggest sitting down at a desk only 39% of the time, mention the availability of financing options only 62% of the time, and ask for the sale only 63% of the time.

“Proactive salespeople who follow simple steps are rewarded with higher sales,” said Fran O'Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Co., LLC. For example: when salespeople ask for the sale at least 67% of the time dealerships sell 34% more motorcycles; when salespeople ask for contact information at least 75% of the time dealerships sell 20% more motorcycles; and when salespeople offer immediate test rides at least 50% of the time, dealerships sell 44% more motorcycles.

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Press Release: LEXUS, PORSCHE AND LAND ROVER TOP RANKED FOR RESPONSE TO CUSTOMER INTERNET INQUIRIES

Press Release: LEXUS, PORSCHE AND LAND ROVER TOP RANKED FOR RESPONSE TO CUSTOMER INTERNET INQUIRIES

March 2014

• No improvement for industry-average vs prior year
• Only half of customers receive answer to questions within 24 hours

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – March 10, 2014 – Lexus, Porsche and Land Rover dealerships ranked highest in the 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) Internet Lead Effectiveness(™) (ILE™) Benchmarking Study, which measured auto dealership responsiveness to customer inquiries received over the internet. Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to dealership sales success.

After improving annually from 2011 through 2013, industry-average performance was unchanged from 2013 to 2014. 21 of the 33 auto brands recorded higher scores in 2014. Brands achieving the greatest improvement were Scion, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Land-Rover. Only two brands, Lexus and Subaru, have remained in the top one-third of the rankings every year from 2011 to 2014. Luxury brands accounted for most of the top ten ranked brands, but non-luxury brands Subaru, Fiat, Honda and Ram were also ranked within the top ten.

On average, a brand's PSI-ILE ranking has accompanied the brand's relative sales success. For example, of the ten brands ranked highest last year in the 2013 PSI-ILE study published in March 2013, 8 of 10 went on to gain market share in 2013. Of the ten brands ranked lowest in the 2013 PSI-ILE study, 6 of 10 went on to lose market share in 2013.

“Today's most successful brands and dealerships tend to be the ones that thrive on customer internet inquiries,” said Fran O'Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “The days of considering the internet as a separate piece of the car business are gone. Today the internet is as much a part of the car business as the showroom.”

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Powersports Business Blog Emotion? Or just going through the motions?

Powersports Business Blog
Emotion? Or just going through the motions?

December 2013

All major motorcycle manufacturers exhibited at the Long Beach Motorcycle Show this year, but while they all started with the same empty show floor, their displays were each very different. Similarly, each manufacturer was assigned the same amount of time — 15 minutes — for a press conference to share their message with gathered journalists, but the presentations were strikingly different.

Some displays and presentations were full of energy and emotion. The subject matter tended to be what the motorcycles would do for the rider — how they would make a rider feel, how much enjoyment the bike would bring to its owner. Some of the presenters were clearly enjoying themselves, too, with a gleam in their eye when they spoke of their products.

In contrast, other manufacturer displays showed companies only going through the motions. Their displays were uninspired, and the press conferences for these manufacturers tended to be company employees talking in a monotone about how one brake disc weighed six ounces less than another. No energy, no emotion; clearly just going through the motions.

Think of the parallels at your dealership. Is a customer who walks into your dealership met with a business that pumps-up energy and emotion? Or are your dealership and the employees who work there only going through the motions? Motorcycling is all about excitement and emotion, since few riders must buy a motorcycle. The most successful manufacturers and dealers understand how important it is to embrace emotion instead of just going through the motions.