The latest news on the V&J closure, a story broken by BG at the beginning of the week.
24/02/12 15.00 Administrators confirmed: Milsted Langdon, 01823 445566. Anyone with money down for parts, bike deposits or with their own bikes in situ at V&Js for servicing etc. should contact them in the first instance. If the query relates to Honda goods, Honda UK should be the next port of call (01753 590510).
V&J director David Hopgood issued a statement which suggests that the Honda franchise was withdrawn prior to closure, thus confirming the extent to which the original multi franchise operation had become Honda dependent. Prior to that, Suzuki and Kawasaki franchises had been relinquished.
The whole franchise system is creaking at the moment, which implies new sales are still way below targets nationwide. We suspect that the bottom end of the market, older used bike and specialist retailers (classics and so on) are best placed to survive, since they don’t have the same overheads that cripple the big boys, and their customers aren’t faced with the level of investment involved in buying new. One dealer told us that even zero rated interest packages over three years weren’t attractive, since the average customer is apprehensive about longer term commitments.
THE ORIGINAL STORY
We’re based in SW England, and rumours are flying around down here today (20/2/12) that a local multi franchise operation – V&J Superbikes – has gone into administration.
V&J Superbikes have outlets in Taunton and Bridgewater, Somerset, and the latest we have is that neither store opened this week.
Rumours of this demise have been predicted for a while – their outlet at Mudford near Yeovil closed last year, and the Kawasaki and Suzuki franchises disappeared. Honda kept them going in Bridgewater, but stock had recently become very limited at the Taunton branch.
This kind of scenario will be all too familiar to our UK readers: it’s only three weeks since the country’s biggest multi franchise operator, George White, locked its doors for good.
Our main concern in covering this story is for those who have money down on V&J product. BG have also been told that staff had problems with wages recently. It is unclear as to whether or not they have been paid in full. Watch this space for updates.
UPDATED 21/2/12 11.00. V&J website down, shops closed, still no official confirmation but looking grim. 20:00 UPDATE: Just received from reliable source V&J ceased trading last weekend – but still no statement. Which isn’t good enough if they are holding deposits.