Another concern among Honda dealers is over the buying process for the larger John Deere dealers with multiple locations. "We sell our products to all dealers with the same opportunity to buy at the same price, regardless of size," says Reed. "Smaller dealers and larger dealers have the opportunity to buy at the same price."
While Honda believes the partnership will offer them more opportunities to get in the face of potential end-users, they also feel it offers dealers an opportunity for more service work.
"Honda puts out millions of products every year and there is so much opportunity for the servicing of those products," explains Reed. "That’s what will continue to grow in the dealer base and also retail. Customers bring their unit in for service, and once a unit is worn it out turns into a retail sale."
Gained partnerships and lost dealers
With the new partnership between John Deere and Honda, it is now a waiting game to see how dealer sales will be affected. Waiting it out and continuing to carry and support the brand as they have is the plan for Chilton Turf Center, where they have doubled their Honda sales each year for the past two years.
"We will continue to carry the Honda line at the same level," says Smith. "I'm not going to change anything that I'm doing. John Deere is basically saying 'we approve' like they did with Stihl."
In an earlier interview with Yard & Garden, Fred Whyte, president of Stihl, stated they only lost two dealers in the transition, and that those who waited it out a year saw no damage done to their sales. Still, there are dealers like Engelhart Greensmith that will remain cautious as they re-assess their partnership with Honda in the coming months.
"This news really leaves us no choice but to think long term about what lines we are heavily invested in and what we need to change going forward," explains Fobes. "We will continue to carry and service Honda Power Equipment and support our past customers, but as this new relationship develops with John Deere, we will closely monitor our sales volume and adjust as needed."
As for future partnerships with other manufacturers, John Deere declined comment. They do however trust strongly in their business model and the potential it promises them and their dealers.
"This move positions John Deere dealers with three of the most frequently purchased brands in the outdoor power equipment industry: John Deere, Honda and Stihl," says McCormack. "This agreement enables John Deere dealers to provide one-stop shopping for all outdoor power equipment needs."