Huskys Are Hot. DMX Talks To The Man That Sells More Of Them Than Anyone Else.
As a kid in the late ‘70s/early '80s I noticed all the serious enduro guys raced Huskys. That was it. Except for the odd Can-AM, if were racing Expert or Masters class off-road in that era you rode a Husky. Then times changed and Husky fell off the radar. Lately you’ve been reading about the resurgence of Husqvarna as a major player in Canadian woods racing, complete with a new team and a new attitude. Leading that charge is Scott Rocher, of Ross Rocher sales in Stratford, Ontario. Motorcycle business success stories are rare these days, so it was refreshing to talk to Scott about his busy Husqvarna dealership.
Meet Scott Rocher, the man who sells more Huskys than anyone.
DMX: Scott, let’s start with a little history. When did you first begin selling motorcycles?
Scott Rocher: I started selling motorcycles as a hobby in 2006. It’s obviously grown into a full-time deal now.
There were quite a lot of Huskys in the woods this season, mostly thanks to you…
I’m not bragging, but I was the biggest Husqvarna dealer in North America in 2009.
Wow! That’s very impressive…for so long Husqvarna sales in Canada were hindered by a sketchy dealer network and parts availability. The bikes were good, but people were afraid to buy them even if they could find one to buy…
Husky importers were always a bit flakey until Fast by Ferracci/Cagiva came along a few years ago. They were good to work with, no complaints there. Without Rob Keith we wouldn’t have seen any Husky’s in Canada. After that Canada had been dealing through the BMW head office in New Jersey. Now Husqvarna Canada is being done through Barrett Marketing group, so I am very excited to be dealing with them. There is no downside to Barrett dealing Husky’s in Canada. so it’s great to finally have real contacts in real offices dealing with Husqvarna in Canada.
Rocher rides. He raced a TE310 at the Parry Sound CEC in 2009.
What kind of people do you find are buying Huskys?
Husqvarna is one of the few motorcycle companies in the world that is gaining market share right now. Their customers tended to be older riders who had Husky’s in the past, but more and more it’s younger riders who just want something different. Lots of guys who bought KTMs back in the late ‘90s or early ‘00s just wanted to be different. Those same guys are now buying Huskys.
Your dealership has focused on off-road racing. Any plans to get more involved with motocross?
It’d be great to get more motocross exposure. Husky’s niche has traditionally been off-road racing, but they have big plans to step it up with motocross. The new TC250 is a great bike and has been getting fine reviews in the press, and they have big plans for the TC450s coming up. They are taking motocross very seriously, and within two years you will see Husky pushing motocross heavily. Off-road racing is still their bread and butter, and they will continue to look after that market first and foremost, but motocross will continue to grow in Husky’s sales volume.
What do you think about the prospects of a greater number of Husqvarna dealers?
I’d like it if there were a few more dealers in Ontario. I mean, I don’t want anyone mowing my lawn, but a couple more dealers in Ontario will be good. Barrett will be careful not to flood the market like other manufacturers have done. Realistically, three or four knowledgeable dealers in Ontario are all the market can bear.
If you want a 125 these days you buy a Husky. Period. Husky 125s are Rochers top sellers.
I’ve got a few friends who race Huskys, and it seems everyone else I know is interested in them...
And everybody likes them too. Once people get on a Husky they don’t tend to switch. All their bikes sold pretty well for me last year, but the most consistently selling bikes are the 125 two-strokes. I sold at least 15 of them to guys from Novice up to Pro class that are racing them. It’s a great little bike; Guy Giroux bought one on his own dime last summer from me. There has been a lot of interest in the all-new TXC 250 for 2010, but the two-strokes just keep selling. I’ve done well with the new WR300, and everyone who bought one has really liked it.
The TXC250F, designed for GNCC-style racing, is generating a lot of interest.
Do you have any plans to get a dealer supported race program going in 2010?
I’m looking forward to being able to help out some riders this year. I’ve set aside a budget to do this for 2010, focusing on the new WEC/CMRC Ontario Cross Country Series. Who knows what will happen with the two Ontario off-road series this year; my own club is sitting on the fence about this, but whichever way they go I will help. If I get a bit of exposure out of it, well that’s a bonus.
Rocher also sells cool stuff like these Beta trials bikes.
Aside from Husqvarna, your dealership also sells Husaberg and Beta…
Ya, I’m the first one to admit that trials is a new market for me. The guys buying Beta’s had pretty much already decided that’s what they wanted. Husaberg has done very well for me. They are an awesome bike, and the new chassis and engine works very well. There will be quite a few more of them out there racing this year.
As if Husky and Beta weren't unique enough, Rocher is also a Husaberg dealer.
People like unique bikes, but worries about parts availability keeps their wallets in their pockets. Is this a legitimate issue anymore?
There are no issues with parts. I have a huge amount of parts in stock for all these bikes and send out parts across Canada every day. Because I race myself I know what breaks, so I make sure I keep all that stuff in stock. As long as someone lets me know by 2PM I can have the parts out to them that day.
With that Scott got back to selling Husqvarnas, telling me as a side note that he sold three new Huskys at the Toronto Motorcycle Show this past December. You can check out the Ross Rocher Sales website at http://www.rossrochersales.ca/rossrocher/home.aspx